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Designed to be Different

Interview

The New Faces of British Design

Emerging talent means everything to us. That’s why we sponsored an award at this year’s New Designers event and found not just one winner, but two. Belmond’s Art and Design Director Joe Ferry, himself a New Designers winner, speaks to them both about their past, inspirations and future.






Belmond joined a number of big-name brands in sponsoring an award, aiming to find fresh designers who can create items that capture our spirit of timeless luxury with contemporary flair.

The first is Antonia (Toni) Packham. Her forward-thinking, environmentally conscious approach saw her take discarded plastic waste from UK beaches to make unique, beautiful and intricate items, including kitchenware. Then there’s Mac Collins, a masterful woodworker, who created a chair named ‘Iklwa’. This stunning, thought-provoking statement piece celebrates his heritage and culture.

Both designers will work with Joe and our in-house team to create bespoke items that will feature at Belmond Cadogan Hotel in London.

By Joe Ferry

Toni Packham

What was the inspiration behind your work? The project was sparked by my research into plastiglomerate, a plastic stone that has been discovered on the shorelines of Hawaii. Natural materials such as wood, shells and sand are joined together with melted plastic to form a stone-like material. I was motivated to create something similar from the abundance of plastic waste along the East Sussex coast. It embodies the conflict between the natural and man-made. I wanted to address the negative effects of plastic waste in a positive, accessible way.

Which creatives do you most admire?
Most of the designers I like have a strong sense of material and process within their work. Ariane Prin is a designer/maker that has done a lot with waste material. Her series, ‘From Here For Here’ uses waste materials from a site and re-invigorates them into functional products to be used at the same site. That positive creative direction is something that I aspire to work towards.

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
I’d like to be in a position where I can continue to collaborate with other designers, whether having my own established studio or working for another great creative. I hope that this opportunity with Belmond will provide a strong starting point, and give me the experience to push my practice forward.

What does the award mean to you?
It’s given me the confidence and motivation to pursue my passion and drive my practice. Working with Belmond is such an amazing opportunity for any young designer, so I’m really excited about the future prospects it could lead to.

Get to know

Toni Packham

Play the audio described video

Mac Collins

What was the inspiration behind your work?
My work stemmed from a personal exploration into my own African heritage. I wanted to see how my identity could inform the aesthetic, form and function of a piece of furniture. Researching the African Diaspora, the forced migration of African people during the slave trade, I create a visually intense and empowering throne entitled Iklwa. The shapes were inspired by African weaponry and artefacts. I also drew aesthetic inspiration from the intensity and drama seen in Afrofuturism and Afrocentrism art.

What are you most excited about working on in the future?
I am excited to explore my identity further, bringing narratives of my heritage into my design practice. I want to tie together the influences from my European upbringing with my Caribbean and African lineage to create new and expressive pieces.

Which creatives do you most admire?
I’ve been influenced by a lot of people. Someone I particularly admire is photographer Namsa Leuba. I feel the richness in colour, life and culture she captures has had a massive influence on my own work. Another creative I admire is painter Lina Iris Viktor, whose vivid and detailed paintings empower and elevate their human subjects. In terms of furniture design and woodworking, I cannot deny my admiration for renowned Danish designers such as Finn Juhl and Hans J Wegner.

What does the award mean to you?
This award means so much. Stepping straight out of university, this opportunity has really set my career into motion. The award has given me a certain sense of confidence; the fact that such a reputable company has recognised my work has made me feel even more excited and compelled to pursue my ideas. The opportunity has also allowed me to meet and work alongside seasoned professionals. That’s helped me develop my skills which will, no doubt, help me in the future.

Get to know

Mac Collins

Play the audio described video

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London Hideaway

Opening in December 2018, Belmond Cadogan Hotel will offer understated indulgence between the luxury of Knightsbridge and the artistic spirit of Chelsea.

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