Class of 2019. Design students

Class of 2019. The future generation of designers. Graduation class of this year show their idea on how to solve the world. But is it instagrammable?

Spring is the season for the new generation of designers to show themselves and make a stand on the market. If I am not mistaken, Sweden graduates 200 fresh designers every year. In a world with too much stuff and a raging anti-consumerism these new designers have a challenge on their hands. I have visited two of the most important design schools of Sweden – Beckmans and Konstfack.

A good designer looks critically at our world. What can you improve in our world? And we as critics look at your work as to see if you managed to solve it.

2019 is a good year for design. I must say that this spring has opened up many opportunities to talk about other things than objects that are just “pretty” or instgrammable. My report from Milan stated just that. We want to talk about our times and our lives, and not just post a pretty picture on social media. See my post from Milan here.

So before looking at works, I can conclude that the future will be more interesting, more sustainable and absolutely non-instagrammable. Some of the works by the students are extremely difficult to photograph and post on social media. But does that make them uninteresting? On the contrary. To me it proves that this generation of design students actually take their task seriously. They really want to identify problems of our times and solve them. Photogenic is absolutely secondary.

And my two favourite projects among the students are un-instagrammable – but super interesting.

Master student Victor Alge got some attention for his bachelor project two years ago, and this was shown at Triennale in Milan this year. What he does is to make gallery inspirered objects produced of sustainable materials. He is a designer that clevely looks at research and comes with an inspiring solution. The main topic is of course sustainability. The chair is made of waste materials but also a balance of woods that a well kept forest in Sweden should have for a good biodiversity. Etc, etc, etc. Many levels. The bookshelf is also made intentionally with the burnt segments as a reminder of the forest fires in Sweden of 2018. Victor is a student at Konstfack.

Kaori Agematsu is a student at Beckmans. She also has a solution for a critical idea. We need to use better sustainable materials – and her solution is to use algea or a gel that comes from algeas. A very contemporary material and several algea projects can be seen at the current exhibition Nature at Cooper Hewitt. Her project is thoroughly investigated and executed. She shows how she has coloured the material with natural dye (as apples or beet), adding texture by adding potato flour. She shows how this sustainable material is fully versatile and inspiring. Her project shows how this material can be made into lamps with soft, textile touch or thin, transparent like paper or glass.

With these two students as clear favourites, one can see how class of 2019 is addressing important and critical questions of our times.

I did like how Oskar Lundgren at Konstfack talk about the urbanised society, how we need to get naked and share a sauna in our public spaces.

Mira Bergh Edenborg at Beckmans made these steelwire furniture to foster us to move around and with our furniture. Use them. Change them. Or do we really need furniture? Should we sit on the floor instead?

Noone wants to be bundled. Everyone wants to be unique. However, there is absolutely a common theme among these five design students. It is sculptural. It is about surface and tactility. Some of these have a sustainable perspective and some don’t. And it is pretty small pieces of furniture (except the easy chair). All of these are “very 2019”.

Designs by Elias Båth (Konstfack), Kajsa Melchior (Konstfack), Isabel Wagner (Beckmans), Erika Geiger Ohlin (Konstfack) and Josefin Zachrisson (Beckmans)

Moving on. I was of course very happy to see how sustainability is on the agenda of almost all designers. Here Victor Modin experimenting with fastgrowing bush wood. Points for research and trying. Would have liked to see different results as when Tamara Orjola experimented with pine tree needles and made a blanket ot the waste material. This from Konstfack.

Elias Båth again. Loved how he used waste material from mining industry in northern Sweden to make this small table. Like marble… Also Konstfack.

Sustainability. How can we use the disposals in our toilets to fertalize the farms. Hanna Turesson Bernehed at Konstfack.

Diversity and inclusiveness by Konstfack student Yoyo Nasty

Speaking of more perspective of things… Beckmans student Anne Skoug Obel wants us to look at ourselves a little differently. Anything to avoid the selfcritical eye.

Colour carpets at Konstfack by Gustaf Helsing. Addressing the issue of men demanding too much attention in the public room.

Colourful and interactive by Beckmans student Jone Skarbovik.

More stools or small tables by August Håkansson Orsvall from Konstfack.

 

There are of course classical “beautiful” objects too among the design students. Hajar Sadegui from Konstfack made a setting where Moroccan and Swedish aesthetics meet. Almost the only furniture piece of size this year.

Suhrewng Kim from Konstfack made artificial nature with shadow play.

Nice lamps. The metal lamp is investigating the most optimal way to mount it on the wall and the glass lamps are adressing the way light shines through glass. Both Beckmans and by Anna Herrmann and Elinor Sixtensdotter.

Final project to mention. Konstfack student Mattias Sellden made a collection of beautiful small furniture pieces. He lets the shape of the plank run through the piece and therefore not forcing nature to be anything else than what it is. Even joints are carefully made.

 

So to summarize. Class of 2019. It is nice to see how a generation of design students take their job seriously. In a world where everything should end up on social media, it is a relief to see talents actually adressing more important issues like inclusiveness, new needs and most importantly sustainability. I am very happy with their critical eye and how they are talking about solutions rather than plain awareness. I really look forward to see these kids grow up and take over the world.

 

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