Show RCA: Royal College of Art's summer graduate exhibition

The Royal College of Art showcases its graduates' talents this June
Kosuke Araki
Kosuke Araki carbonises waste and turns it into bowls (small, £550, medium £850, large, £1,550)
* Show RCA Battersea is in Howie Street, SW11 and features ceramics and glassware, goldsmithing, silversmithing, metalwork and jewellery, painting, photography, printmaking and sculpture.

* Show RCA Kensington is in Kensington Gore, SW7, showing textiles, design interactions, fashion, products, footwear and accessories, innovation design and engineering. Both run from June 20 to 30.

The sweepings from a local market hardly sound like promising raw material for a designer, but Kosuke Araki has carbonised discarded vegetables and bones into delicate-looking black containers.

The design products graduate invented the processes involved himself and now sells do-it-yourself moulds as well as the finished products (from £550) to help promote an end to food waste.

Araki features, along with many other former students, at the Royal College of Art’s summer graduate exhibition, Show RCA (June 20-30).

James Shaw takes biodegradable plastic, pewter and papier-mâché to make furniture, lights and bowls, (blob table £400; pewter vessels £70). Mauricio Affonso grows loofahs and uses them to create antimicrobial leg splints — designers Charles and Ray Eames started their careers making splints.

Table Talk


Joe Pipal’s steam bentwood workshop is the size of a large kitchen table so he can move it to the site where he wants to make his incredibly light ash “sweatshop chair”, with its seat made from epoxy resin bandaging (£300).

Joe Pipal
Light ash "sweatshop chair" by Joe Pipal (£300)
David Horan uses what he sweeps from the floor after cutting granite to make reconstituted platters (£50). He also designs more conventional-looking tables, coated in graphite, with thick, cylindrical legs.

In collaboration with his colleague, Nicholas Gardner, he produces a very lightweight but substantial-looking, ply flatpack bench, Phyllida (£750) and a pillow-shaped steel bench in a range of colours (£1,000).

Tom Gottelier’s approach is rather different. He specialises in uniting unlikely manufacturers, designing products round their combined basic skills. His durable triangular stool is made using foundry and enamelling processes (£500). He also uses marble offcuts for simple but highly decorative table legs.

Tom Gottelier
Triangular stool made using foundry and enamelling processes by Tom Gottelier (£500)
Simon Kinneir designs tableware for the blind and partially sighted that also appeals to the non-disabled (glass, £10). There are hi-tech ideas like David Bellisario’s digital poster, where the whole family can upload information, and there are products that encourage consumers to participate in the production process, such as Lauren Davies’s kit for making scents.

There are more traditional, practical designs such as Marc Miralda Besa’s functional bathroom pieces — including a waste bin that pushes up from the base and a laundry box-cum-drying rack — together with fun items such as Lucy Norman’s rainbow cocktail glasses made from bio-resin, which give drinkers a mini light show with each sip (cocktail set £740; individual glass £55).

Light fantastic


Silversmith James Stocklund designs pieces that amplify the experience of eating and drinking, from a food-safe rubber plate that makes it possible to scoop up the very last trace on the plate (£190) to brandy glasses with a built-in aerator (£90).

James Stocklund
James Stocklund's brandy glasses have a built-in aerator (£90)
Carved cut glass is used for sculptural lights (£1,100) by Daniel Woodward, and Anabela Chan uses a new take on the Victorian dome to house her decorative, bright butterflies (£2,000). Cristina Vezzini, working in ceramics and glass, uses huge glass tubes as containers for her lights, filled with bone china “corals” (£500). Glass is also used on an architectural scale. Kane Cali works with digital and traditional processes to create glass panels (£1,500) and 3D ceramic wall tiles (£300 a square metre).

Textiles, too, combine traditional and new techniques. Moira McAulay makes flexible fold-your-own vessels and lights from textile dipped in silicone (£250).

Ejing Zhang uses materials such as bamboo in new ways, binding it with coloured thread and combining it with plastics to create lunch boxes and domestic accessories. Mandeep Mann blows up her own drawings of Indian temple sculptures to enormous proportions to create mind-boggling wallpapers (£180 per roll).

Mandeep Mann
Mandeep Mann's wallpapers, inspired by Indian temples (£180 per roll)
There are more conventional throws, blankets and cushions but Jessica Coleman’s fluorescent versions with ceramic-coated thread appeal to the more adventurous (£190).

Some students are producing their designs as tea towels for the show. It’s a good way to liven up drying the dishes — or you could frame them as art pieces by textiles stars of the future.

* Show RCA Battersea is in Howie Street, SW11 and features ceramics and glassware, goldsmithing, silversmithing, metalwork and jewellery, painting, photography, printmaking and sculpture.

* Show RCA Kensington is in Kensington Gore, SW7, showing textiles, design interactions, fashion, products, footwear and accessories, innovation design and engineering. Both run from June 20 to 30.

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