Seminar Programme


designjunction’s seminar programme breaks new ground & gathers influential names

Our seminar programme promises to bring the industry’s best creative and critical minds together on current and future hot issues facing design. Curated by the leader in the field, Aidan Walker, this year’s themes explore Crossover and Collaboration.

“As the world changes, so does the practice of design and the key issues that face it. Boundaries between disciplines are blurring; old fashioned models of intellectual property are under pressure in the digital age; and the intense search for authenticity is leading us to new understanding of craft, design and the relationship between the two, especially in emerging economies.”

- Aidan Walker

The seminar schedule is subject to change. Please see the confirmed speakers below.


Alberto Alessi

Designing for the line

designjunction is pleased and proud to present a discussion with one of the most influential figures in contemporary design, Alberto Alessi. For over forty years this creative thinker and design protagonist has presided over the creation and development of innovative design projects by the world’s most famous international designers and architects who collaborate with this company.

As one of the leading design brands, Alessi explores the balance between function and poetry – the human need to experience an element of art in every day objects and the challenges of nurturing innovation while creating objects that are both ‘super and popular.’

Alberto Alessi, in his own characteristically modest style, delivers insight into the fine line between critical success and failure, the relationship within Alessi between design, manufacturing and craft, and where design is going, for the world generally and more specifically for Alessi.


Alberto Alessi, President and head of Marketing Strategy, Communication and Design Management Alessi S.p.A.

Aidan Walker, designjunction Seminar Programme Director

Sir Kenneth Grange & Jack Smith

Inspiration, Aspiration, Perspiration

Sir Kenneth Granges 50-year career has run almost exactly parallel to the growth of the UK design industry. Heir to the post Festival of Britain world, he has created a huge range of products that can truthfully be called ‘iconic. It is very unlikely that you havent used or dont own something designed by Kenneth. His collaboration with Jack Smith, a recent Royal College Graduate, has resulted in some exceptionally elegant and persuasive furniture designs. We assess this design giants impact and explore the chemistry of the ‘Odd Couple’sworking relationship.


Sir Kenneth Grange CBE, MCSD, RDI, Kenneth Grange Design;

Jack Smith, SmithMatthias Design.

Nigel Coates

Narrative, beauty and 'emotional function'

Nigel Coates, an enormously influential architect, author, teacher and prolific designer of furniture, interiors, products and lighting, has always trodden his own highly individual path through the international design landscape. His work continues to surprise and delight – not least with his latest soft furniture for Fornasetti and the breathtakingly beautiful bentwood ‘Lehnstuhl, a ‘relaxation chair’ for Gebrüder Thonet, Vienna. He talks to designjunction seminar programme director, Aidan Walker, about narrative, anthropomorphism, and his own singular idea of beauty.


Nigel Coates, Nigel Coates Studio

Aidan Walker, designjunction Seminar Programme Director

Space Craft

Design rediscovers making

Crafts magazine editor, Grant Gibson’s, most recent exhibition ‘SpaceCraft’ brings together artists who do architecture, architects who do craft, makers who design and designers who make. Visitors were stopped dead in their tracks by the extraordinarily detailed and complex creation ‘Grimm City’ by Flea Folly Architects, inspired by the Brothers’ Grimm’s 200th birthday, which defies any rational pigeonholed explanation, and Laura Ellen Bacon’s strangely animated, powerfully evocative willow ‘architectural interventions’. Grant explains the idea, Flea Folly and Laura Ellen Bacon pick apart their inspirations and methods.



Grant Gibson, Editor, Crafts Magazine

Pascal Bronner and Thomas Hillier, Flea Folly Architects

Other speakers TBC.


Aidan Walker, designjunction Seminar Programme Director.

High Street Kicks

The retail brand reinvented

The digital space is causing us to reassess our understanding of luxury, which still has to satisfy a deeper need for meaning, story and authenticity, however much we spend. Social media is also having a drastic effect on the take up of new fashion designers by established luxury brands – a phenomenon that affects both the design of collections on offer and the architecture that accompanies it. Anshu Srivastava, Director of MRA, and the co-founders of ‘upstart’ fashion brand House of Hackney explore the current technologically driven fusion of art, fashion and architecture.



Anshu Srivastava, Director, MRA

Frieda Gormley and Javvy Royle, co-founders and directors, Hackney House


Aidan Walker, designjunction Seminar Programme Director

Redesigning Design

At the same time as the ‘digital space’ is transforming the way designers not only realize their ideas, but produce, promote and distribute them, the meaning of ‘brand’, plus consumer access to new products from emerging designers, is opening out. Meanwhile, sustainability gains ever more traction, consumers themselves are flexing their critical muscle,  and collaborative models – particularly between creative and technology companies – threaten to change the game yet again. How do we make sense of all this, and where, we ask, is design going?


David Begg, Chairman,

Aidan Walker, DesignJunction Theatre Programme Director

More speakers TBC.


Rose Etherington, Editor in Chief,

VIP colour masterclass

from Red Magazine

Pip McCormac, lifestyle director of consumer women’s magazine Red, has gathered together a powerful panel of designers and colourists, including interior designer Abigail Ahern, Farrow and Ball Creative director Joa Studholme and interiors blogger Holly Becker. You’ll learn tips and tricks on everything from clever contrasts to grown-up pastels and, most importantly, what is the new Elephant’s Breath? Bring your swatches and tester pots, and prepare to be inspired. You’ll also get a 10% discount on design and accessory brands across designjunction’s pop-up shop floor.



Abigail Ahern, Interior Designer, ‘style maven’, author and brand ambassador, Red magazine

Joa Studholme, Creative Director, Farrow and Ball

Selina Lake, Interior stylist


Pip McCormac, Lifestyle Director, Red magazine

Protect your intellectual property

It's not as hard (or as expensive) as you think!

John Coldham, a Director at design law experts Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co, has encouraging news for those whose worst nightmare is having their best idea ripped off. In a practical IP workshop for designers covering the UK and China, John will give his top tips and reasons to be cheerful.  He will be joined by his colleague and Head of IP Gordon Harris and Dids Macdonald, CEO of Anti Copying in Design, whose 15 year campaign for design law reform has culminated in an IP Act criminalising intentional registered design infringement. ACIDs down to earth approach helps its members on IP education and tools of self-help, the creation of preventative and deterrent strategies against design infringement and support when things go wrong.


Gordon Harris, Director of Intellectual Property, and John Coldham, Director and Intellectual Property solicitor, Wragge Lawrence Graham & co;

Dids Macdonald, CEO, Anti Copying in Design.


Aidan Walker, designjunction Seminar Programme Director

Tricia Guild: Modern colour

If any single name is synonymous with colour in contemporary interiors, it is Tricia Guild. We are delighted to welcome her to the programme and look forward to her insights on… colour in contemporary interiors. Plus tips, tricks and secrets in a head to head conversation with DesignJunction seminar director Aidan Walker.


Tricia Guild OBE, designer, founder and creative director of Designers Guild

Aidan Walker, designjunction Seminar Programme Director


Branded living and the meaning of home

Groundbreaking luxury property brand YOO sets new standards for design and delight at the top end of the market, with a roster of designers that include some of the most famous names in the global industry. But it has also sparked a shift in our understanding of what ‘home’ means. YOO Design Director Mathew Dalby and Head of Marketing Yvette Costi discuss branded living and new resonances for the concept of home in the modern age with DesignJunction theatre programme director Aidan Walker.




Mathew Dalby, Design Director, YOO

Mathew Dalby_YOO_portrait_mid res_cropped

Yvette Costi, Head of Marketing, YOO

Mel Yates_yoo interiors_Yvette_ 199_cropped


Aidan Walker, designjunction Seminar Programme Director


Kristjana S Williams

Magic, mystery and maps

In a year of sweeping the awards board, Kristjana S Williamswork is rapidly gaining the prominence it deserves, confounding all who see it with its mystical, magical beauty and strange resonances. Icelander Kristjana is fascinated with maps, with mythical creatures, and with Victorian engravings, which she samples, mixes and matches to create images that take hold and wont let go. Her collaborations with audio specialist Sennheiser and her corporate identity work for The Connaught Hotel demonstrate the range and depth of her unique imagination.


Kristjana S. Williams, Kristjana S. Williams Studio

Aidan Walker, designjunction Seminar Programme Director

Moritz Waldemeyer

Engineering the imagination

Engineer, lighting designer, visionary, technologist; design for Moritz Waldemeyer is not worth the name, one feels, unless it is breaking boundaries. His extraordinarily beautiful animated concoctions and installations are heavily dependent on pushing technologies to their limits – and if they have to go beyond, so be it; Moritz and his team will develop them to support the Big Idea. We get an insight into the febrile imagination and working method of the designer who refuses to be defined as such.



Moritz Waldemeyer, Moritz Waldemeyer Studio


Aidan Walker, designjunction Seminar Programme Director

Jake Dyson

Technology & humanity in lighting

Innovator and hardcore technologist Jake Dyson has been breaking ground again. His new design ‘Ariel, a high intensity downlighter, tackles the issue of heat in high-powered LEDs head on, using ‘heat pipetechnology, initially developed for satellites and also incorporated in Dysons ‘CSYStask lights. Cooling the LEDs to this level is – up to now – unheard of in a light of this power. It stands to give the lamp a life of 37 years, the designer claims.


Jake Dyson, Founder and Director, Jake Dyson Products


Aidan Walker, designjunction Seminar Programme Director

Tom Dixon brings Mondrian to London

Tom’s career more or less exactly matches the development of the ‘modern’ British design industry, and for that reason DesignJunction is the natural forum to track his latest projects. With a reputation for following his own unique insights into branding, manufacturing and distribution, and with a significant chunk of consumer experience under his belt at Habitat, Tom will follow the progress of the Morgans Hotel Group’s first European Mondrian, housed in the familiar (some call it iconic) Sea Containers building on the south bank of the Thames. Expect iconoclasm.



Tom Dixon, designer, entrepreneur, retailer


Aidan Walker, designjunction Seminar Programme Director

Cristián Valdés – Chile

Following the themes of crossover and collaboration, we are delighted to welcome one of Chiles most distinguished architects, Cristián Valdés, to the programme. As well as designing some of his countrys most famous buildings, his furniture, based on the construction method of wooden tennis rackets, has been called ‘one of the truly great chair designs of the 20th Centuryby Architectural Digest.


Cristián Valdés, Architect


Aidan Walker, designjunction Seminar Programme Director


Invisible Green

Over the past ten years there’s been a notable shift from conceptual sustainability to seeing these concepts integrated into products and business models. Marketers once used social pressure to incentivise consumers to purchase products that had sustainable attributes. Now, numerous conditions have led to a new economy where growing businesses naturally integrate sustainability practices in ways that are invisible to the consumer. These conditions include a more widespread knowledge of sustainability’s financial benefits, consumer awareness of the benefits of sustainable products, and a boom in post-recession entrepreneurialism among Millennials with a strong environmental and social ethic.



Jason Horvath and Bill Hilgendorf, Uhuru Design

Leonora Oppenheim, design storyteller, sustainability expert and teller of ‘epic tales of design derring and sustainability do’, Elio Studio.


Aidan Walker, designjunction Seminar Programme Director

Nordic Living

Join our panel of Scandinavian-born designers exploring how design and culture united to create a distinctive Nordic home, combining beauty, simplicity and utility. Twentieth century greats such as Alvar Aalto and Arne Jacobsen were instrumental in designing and defining this new aesthetic; we discuss their ideas, their legacy and their worldwide influence. What are the preconceptions about Scandinavian home life? Have we created clichés? And what is the reality? Come away with a new and authentic perspective on one of the great modern design movements.




Kate Burnett, design journalist, editor and publisher, founder of ‘Studio’ and ‘The Schemer’.

Design Explore – Morocco

In a new British Council scheme, UK-based designer Sabrina Kraus Lopez lived and worked with Moroccan craftspeople from artisan platform the Anou, collaborating on new designs and approaches to traditional weaving, and exploring ways to use craft to tell their stories in new ways. DesignJunction welcomes four of these artisans, and uses the project as a starting point to hammer out the way forward for the collaborative relationships between artisans, craftspeople and designers from widely differing cultures.

The DesignJunction installation, designed and curated by the Faculty, includes the work produced during the residency alongside a documentary by filmmaker Simon Mills.



Kendall Robbins, Programme Manager, British Council Architecture, Design and Fashion

Sabrina Kraus López, textile designer and materials researcher

Rabha Akkaoui, President of Cooperative Chorouk (Flatweave Weaving, Natural Dyes)

Kenza Oulaghada, President of Association Tithrite (Flatweave Weaving)

Mustapha Chaouai, President of Association Nahda (Metalwork and Weaving)

Brahim El Mansouri, President of Association Ighrem (Woodcarving, Weaving, Crochet, Beadwork)


Aidan Walker, designjunction Seminar Programme Director

Africa Calling - Ubuntu

Design Collaborations

Global aesthetics and interest in regional artisans, craft and design work from all over the world has increased: London has become a hub for showcasing international art and design. But there is still very little opportunity for designers and artists from Africa to participate in, and benefit from, the growth of this global market. Africa Calling, the brainchild of design ‘editor’ Kathy Shenoy, aims to change all that.

‘Ubuntu’ is a phrase widely used in Southern Africa, meaning the ‘Universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity.’

This discussion will explore pioneering new contemporary design collaborations between Africa and the UK – including the British Council’s Maker Libraries project in South Africa – a mentoring platform that connects young creative in SA and the UK via a new Open Source network.



Kathy Shenoy, founder, Shake the Dust

Heath Nash, South African designer and sustainability practitioner;

Laduma Ngxokolo, South African knitwear designer

More speakers tbc


Aidan Walker, designjunction Seminar Programme Director