Tucked away from the main shopping piazza of Covent Garden is one of London's most interesting and oldest contemporary furniture stores: Aram. For 15 years, the Aram Gallery (situated on the top floor) has been exhibiting new and experimental design curated by the store's director, Zeev Aram.
For the latest show, Designers Select Designers, Aram has invited some of the past exhibitors, many established names in the international design world, to present a piece of work and also to select an emerging designer to show their work alongside.
Zeev Aram says: “The particular importance of this exhibition is that young designers, who are all selected by established and experienced designers, are given a platform to exhibit their works.”
I was drawn immediately to two contrasting textile wall hangings, one by established textile designer Ptolemy Mann, whose bright new triptych, Winter Solstice, reveals her current preoccupation with accidental colour, resulting from spontaneous moments in her dye lab. Mann chose a work by up and coming weaver Catarina Riccabona, whose paper yarn panels combine woven paper with waste, hand-dyed cotton thread from Mann's studio. Deliberate knots are visible on the surface where the weft threads join, as evidence of the hand weaving process.
I particularly enjoyed the ceramic work of Ray G Brown, selected by product designer Peter Marigold. Brown forms his corrugated ceramic tableware using cardboard moulds. The moulds are filled with clay and the cardboard is burnt away in the kiln, leaving dense, overlapping textures on the pottery. His crisp bowls are made by pressing the clay into potato crisps and corn snacks!
Lastly, a veneer made from Mexican corn husks, called Totomoxtle, is used to wonderful effect by designer Fernando Laposse (selected by Bethan Laura Wood). The naturally colourful husks are flattened, glued by hand and laser cut to create marquetry pieces. Totomoxtle is a sustainable material which also raises awareness of the rapid loss of indigenous corn species.