Each year we take the time to visit the New Designers show in London, where graduates from across the UK come together to show their final pieces to the public – probably for the first time.
What is interesting however, is that even though there are many different universities and colleges there is often a common thread which runs through a great deal of the exhibits.
One year it was the creative reuse of materials, another year it was using traditional methods of construction and production. This year, there was a lot of focus on personal, small scale food production.
There were a range of products shown, from an innovative Juliet balcony salad growing system to an internal greenhouse for plants like chillies. There were hydroponic kits for desks, a fish and salad system to replace the standard aesthetic-only fish tank in offices and even a range of products which could be used throughout the whole office in various locations.
Called the Living Office, this particular range of products by Brighton graduate Holly McNicol, dubbed ’interventions’ comprise not only desk top and hanging planters, but also pen top tools which fit on the standard Biro and a series of laser cut plywood markers which also have recipes on the rear.
It is true that some of the products exhibited throughout the show were more ‘conceptual’ than others, but it was very interesting to see that graduates are considering food production – and localised food production – to be a key issue that needs attention.
Having recently exhibited our own ‘Edible Office’ at the Threshold Architecture Hub event in Brighton and talking to people about the issue, we agree that these kinds of products will have an integral place in the workplaces of the future. As more of us move and work within the cities of the UK, these tiny, personal farms will be not only essential for the production of our food, but to allow us to connect in whatever small way we can to the processes and seasonality involved.
We look forward to seeing if any of the products shown at New Designers this year go into production and help to drive forward the edible city concept.
(image by claire potter)