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Celebrating signature style

Design-Nation’s first landmark project for 2020, ‘20 Makers, 20 Objects’ is a showcase that celebrates selected signature pieces of design from our network. Incorporating a wide array of materials and practices, ‘20 Makers, 20 Objects’ demonstrates some of the most innovative and enduring artworks and products that our members have created to date. In a simple brief, we asked our membership of over 250 designers and makers: ‘Do you have an artwork or product that is successful, in demand, aesthetically pleasing, innovative, that absolutely exemplifies you as a designer-maker, and epitomises what your practice is about? What piece of work do you consider to be the perfect example of your signature style?’

Our 20 chosen makers and their signature objects are now revealed. With the high calibre of the Design-Nation portfolio there were a large number of exceptional applications, and a challenging selection process. The twenty finalists are scattered widely across the UK and representative of Design-Nation’s far-reaching programme. The craft disciplines on display are diverse with an extensive choice of materials: ceramics, furniture, glass, jewellery, leather, lighting, linoleum, paper, plastic, textiles and wood. The makers are versatile and skilled in both hand and machine processes. Each finished object speaks eloquently of its maker’s approach to materials, processes, and innovation, while conveying their own particular way of seeing the world.

In ‘20 Makers, 20 Objects’, a variety of charming pieces offer the user everyday moments of pleasure, alongside statement objects to adorn homes and workplaces with aplomb and a number of investment pieces, all giving a sense of great pleasure. This showcase celebrates those things that signify a maker’s signature style. The broad range is testament to the UK’s incomparable design and craft sector. Signature styles are based on many facets of a maker’s character: a concern for the provenance of materials, a consideration of the relationship between a user and object, the ability to create connections with people, a focus on traditional processes combined with modern-day innovation, finding a place for craft in everyday life, and understanding sustainability and the environment.

Our steering group, which comprises design experts and champions from across the sector have expressed their approval of our selection for 20 Makers, 20 Objects:

Design Nation continues a new journey and what better time to celebrate its 20 years than now, in a landscape that challenges all creatives.

Andrew Tanner, Design Manager for Sainsbury’s Home and Argos Home.

There is a huge spread of skills in ‘20 Makers, 20 Objects’, from the traditional to the experimental. These are not rarefied pieces to set on pedestals at an art fair, but works to cherish and use at home or in public spaces. Moreover, this special celebratory selection is just the tip of an iceberg of excellence: there are well over 200 more makers to browse online.

Barbara Chandler, design editor of Homes & Property at the London Evening Standard.

‘20 Makers, 20 Objects’ is a brilliant opportunity to showcase the diversity of creative talent offered by members of Design-Nation. It’s a wonderful way to celebrate twenty years of such a great institution. I was a member in the early days with Peta Levi (Design-Nation’s founder) at the helm. Design-Nation signified a professional mix of makers and designers, who were empowered to champion creativity and embrace business opportunities. Today, Design-Nation represents this same blueprint, and has blossomed to bring a rich mix of talent together, as demonstrated in such a wonderful showcase.

Sue Pryke, designer and ceramicist.

This project has been made possible with the generous support of Arts Council England, and the encouragement of Design-Nation’s steering group, members and partners, all of whom we thank. We are also grateful for the enthusiasm, creativity and hard work of our suppliers, Koo Bhangra of The Unloved, Dan Nolan of Effect Digital, Yeshen Venema, Jessica Jung, David Gorrod and Trina Wickenden of Seen PR, and our panel of sector champions, advisers and Expert Eyes.




Text and images © Design-Nation and the individual artists.

20 Makers, 20 Objects

September 2020

Our key funder