Creative Journeys

‘Connected’ is an experiment set out to explore how designers and craftsmen adapt their working practices during lockdown. For this project, the American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC), Benchmark Furniture and the Design Museum have challenged nine international designers to create a table and seating, which will suit their new ways of working from and living at home. The designers will also record their creative journeys to allow people to witness how they approach the brief and develop their thoughts, sketches and ideas during these challenging times.

The designers involved in this experiment include Ini Archibong (Switzerland), Maria Bruun (Denmark), Jaime Hayon (Spain), Heatherwick Studio (UK), Sebastian Herkner (Germany), Maria Jeglinska- Adamczewska (Poland), Sabine Marcelis (Netherlands), Studiopepe (Italy) and Studio Swine (UK / Japan). The resulting pieces will be shown at the Design Museum in London, as an installation called ‘Connected’, when the museum re-opens to the public, celebrating the act of physically coming back together – reconnecting – after lockdown.

“We were faced with designers across Europe being, to a greater or lesser degree, in isolation, having to work alone. Connected will tap into their individual creativity, but will also bring them together to work towards a common goal. This material-driven project is all about three underused hardwoods – red oak, maple and cherry – which combined account for more than 40 percent of all standing hardwoods in the American forests,” said David Venables, AHEC European Director.

The project will challenge both the designers and craftsmen at Benchmark to work in innovative ways by relying solely on digital communication and video conferencing to bring the designers’ visions to life. This approach will require a new level of trust in the makers, since the designers will have no physical contact with their pieces until they are finished and on display at the Design Museum.