Seminar Programme


Above: Alberto Alessi – Designing for the line

This year our seminar programme brought some of 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 explored 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


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.

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Aidan Walker, designjunction Seminar Programme Director

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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;

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Jack Smith, SmithMatthias Design.

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Aidan Walker, designjunction Seminar Programme Director

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

Nigel Coates


Aidan Walker, designjunction Theatre 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

Laura Ellen Bacon, sculptor and architectural interventionist

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Aidan Walker, designjunction Seminar Programme Director.

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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.

Speakers: Anshu Srivastava, Director, MRA 18-1730 Anshu Srivastava B&W_cropped Frieda Gormley and Javvy Royle, co-founders and directors, House of Hackney

Chair: Aidan Walker, designjunction Seminar Programme Director

Redesigning Design

The digital space is transforming the way designers not only realize their ideas, but produce, promote and distribute them. The result is unprecedented consumer choice and access to products from emerging design brands that simply haven’t been viable until now. Meanwhile, sustainability gains ever more traction, consumers increasingly engage in dialogue with those creating the objects that surround them, and new collaborative models – particularly between creative and online entrepreneurs – are enabling the industry as a whole to scale up.

So where exactly is design going next? Don’t miss this one.


Aidan Walker, designjunction Seminar Programme Director

David Begg, Chairman,


Benjamin Hubert, Benjamin Hubert Design


Pia Wüstenberg


Will Hobhouse, Chairman, Heal’s



Rose Etherington, Editor in Chief,


Red VIP event: How to colour your home

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 interior stylist Selina Lake. 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 China expert Tom Carver, and Dids Macdonald, CEO of Anti Copying in Design, whose 15 year campaign for design law reform has resulted in the IP Act criminalising intentional infringement of registered designs. Rob Law, creator and CEO of the children’s suitcase brand Trunki, joins us with a few horror stories to tell.


John Coldham (below) and Tom Carver, Directors and Intellectual Property solicitor, Wragge Lawrence Graham & co;

Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co LLP

Dids Macdonald, CEO, Anti Copying in Design.



Aidan Walker, designjunction Seminar Programme Director

Tricia Guild: Colour in Contemporary Interiors

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

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Aidan Walker, designjunction Seminar Programme Director

YOO: Branded living and the meaning of home

Not forgetting community...

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 seminar programme director Aidan Walker.




Mathew Dalby, Design Director, YOO

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Yvette Costi, Head of Marketing, YOO

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Aidan Walker, designjunction Seminar Programme Director

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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

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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

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Aidan Walker, designjunction Seminar Programme Director

Windows – More than Architecture?

Every autumn for the last five years, RIBA architects and Regent Street retailers have paired together to create window installations. The project gets right to the heart of the current dilemma facing bricks and mortar retailers: how do you create an immersive experience, an engaging environment that redefines real-world shopping? The architects tend to use it to explore ideas that would be hard to realise in a  standard architectural commission, challenging our notion of what architecture does and demonstrating that clever and imaginative use of space connects people to their more playful and curious sides.


James Roberts, Make Architects

Edgar Gonzalez, Brisac Gonzalez

Jerry Tate, Jerry Tate Architects

Yen Yen Teh, Emulsion Architecture


Aidan Walker, designjunction Seminar Programme Director


LED and OLED: Lighting at the outside edge

After LEDs come OLEDs, right? Technological advances? Well, yes. But LEDs have plenty of smart moves to make yet. Technically and creatively accomplished speakers from companies that do both technologies explain their differences and swap stories, with collaboration and community at heart, rather than competition. Yeah, right.


Ciaran Kiely, Megaman

Jonathan Hudson Evans or Bruno Dussert, Blackbody


Aidan Walker, designjunction Seminar Programme Director

Jake Dyson: Searching for the Sunlight

Jake Dyson’s unique insight into the cultural as well as the technological and industrial timelines of lighting gives him an unusual starting point – whoever has ever designed or made any form of light, he says, has always had the sun as his or her ideal. Jake goes back to oil lamps and Edison, takes a tour through the manufacturing trickery of the cartels – tungsten lamps could easily have lasted 100 years, he claims – and arrives at the modern battle to increase light output with decreased energy and notionally endless product life. Which his own LED up/downlight Ariel, at a life of 37 years, goes a good way to achieving. But he won’t be satisfied until he gets the colours of sunlight…


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 update us on 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. But his real issue is what he calls ‘commerce’, and how designers should get a grip on that. Expect iconoclasm.



Tom Dixon, designer, entrepreneur, retailer

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Aidan Walker, designjunction Seminar Programme Director

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Cristián Valdés – Designing 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

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Aidan Walker, designjunction Seminar Programme Director

Uhuru: 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.



Daniel Husserl and Eric Vecchione, 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.


Signe Sorensen, Danish-born fashion designer and dealer in mid-century Scandinavian furniture

Staffan Tollgard, Swedish-born interior designer

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Alex Hellum, Norwegian-born furniture designer



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

20-1800 Kate Burnett, Studio_cropped

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

sabrina kraus lopez

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

Rabha Akkaoui

Kenza Oulaghada, President of Association Tithrite (Flatweave Weaving)

Kenza Oulaghda

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

Mustapha Chaouai

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

Brahim El Mansouri


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.

15:00 – 17:00 – Collaboration through making session
Join designers Heath Nash (South Africa) and Yinka Ilori (UK/Nigeria) this afternoon on Stand F77 for a collaboration through making session.
Using Heath’s recycled plastic techniques and Yinka’s upcycling & storytelling, they will create a new piece of furniture as part of Africa Calling at Design Junction.



Kathy Shenoy, founder, Shake the Dust

Heath Nash, South African designer and sustainability practitioner

Laduma Ngxokolo, South African knitwear designer

Arieta Mujay, Creative Director at African Creative Collective

Sarah Rhodes, designer, jeweller and researcher at Central Saint Martins College of Arts & Design, London


Aidan Walker, designjunction seminar Programme Director






China Creative

For a fully fledged finale to the DesignJunction special ‘international day’, we call on the newly established China Design Centre to confound the critics of China as the dastardly world capital of rip-off, and explore the amazing wealth of creativity, ideas and originality that is currently sweeping that enormous nation – and, arguably, the world of western design. Of course a huge number of Chinese designers are western educated, and the east-west relationship looks set to remain a complex one, but there is no doubt that China’s dubious reputation from the point of view of western designers needs a re-think. A cross-cultural panel unpicks the issues.


Samuel Chan, Channels

Spencer Fung, Spencer Fung Architects

Marcus Jones, Stellar Works


Vivienne Huang, China Design Centre

Aidan Walker, designjunction Seminr Programme Director