Scottish Design: Collaborations

The collaborations keep coming in Scottish design – here are a few of 2018's newest offerings

Feature by Stacey Hunter | 09 Jul 2018

The Scottish design scene remains distinctive for its continually evolving approach to collaboration. Dedicated design fans will note partnerships and alliances forming in ever-changing iterations as contemporary designers working in Scotland and internationally demonstrate their enthusiasm for each other's work with what has come to be termed simply the ‘collab’. Recent design collabs during the first half of 2018 feature a wealth of exceptional people and products.

On the east coast, menswear designer Kestin Hare created his interpretation of a modern Edinburgh hotel room featuring a curated selection of exceptional design from Scottish studios. The graphic energy of Jennifer Kent’s burnt orange and navy Frame lambswool throw – itself a collaboration with furniture designer Derek Welsh – formed a key part of the installation. Kent says, “We're proud to have our Frame blanket included in the showcase alongside items from some of Scotland’s best designers and makers.”

Other notable items on display included Andreu Carulla’s RR201 Recycled Polystyrene Stool for El Celler de Can Roca, Tom Pigeon’s Shipwreck rug, ceramic cups and a coffee pot by Myer Halliday, as well as pieces by Instrmnt and furniture-makers Namon Gaston and David Watson. The display was on show above Hare’s Cruiser Store – part of the Custom Lane design centre in Leith. Where did the idea come from?

"Scottish Enterprise and Scottish Development International challenged me to create what a modern Edinburgh hotel room can look like surrounded with a curated selection of the best Scottish-made products," says Hare. "It was a unique opportunity to challenge the preconceptions of modern Scottish design. Every detail was carefully considered and I sourced the best of Scottish designers and makers, from photographers to furniture makers and textile designers down to bed linen, drinks and ceramics.”

Meanwhile, on the west coast, Bute Fabrics – a design and weaving super-studio – unite a variety of designers in Scotland through a multitude of collaborative projects. Founded in 1947 on the Scottish island after which they take their name, Bute Fabrics supply an international marketplace with exquisite, high-performance woollen textiles. Working with Glasgow graphic design studio Graphical House, Bute redeveloped their brand to reflect their modern, international and collaborative approach.

Graphical House founder Daniel Ibbotson describes how their modern logotype design for Bute “retains the key features of original, while the new diagonal-strike motif evokes the angles of the textiles on the loom. A flexible colour palette can be adapted to reflect changing seasons and distinct markets.”

An innovative new website enables designers to create and share digital mood-boards, while a bespoke sample box and swatch block system allow customers the freedom to interact with the fabrics, colours and textures intuitively – an industry-leading approach to sampling.

Taking art direction to new levels, Graphical House worked with the aforementioned furniture maker Derek Welsh and photographer Reuben Paris to build a bespoke display system for their photoshoots, making it possible to present the fabric in precisely composed panels and tightly defined rolls.

“Working with Graphical House enabled us to think differently about our products and how they are communicated to our markets, both existing and new in what’s been a game-changing rebrand for Bute Fabrics,” says Managing Director John Glen.

After the success of their debut wallpaper collection Glasshouse, which features geometric shapes and botanical elements inspired by the relationship between the garden greenhouse and urban architecture, Bespoke Atelier have collaborated with Bute Fabrics and Morgan Furniture to create high quality printed fabric for upholstery.

The lush botanical patterns from the Glasgow-based design studio led by Marion Parola and Yvonne Elliot-Kellighan have been printed onto Bute’s high-quality woollen fabric complementing the beautifully crafted forms of the new Chevy dining chair by Morgan Furniture. Together, the three design companies created pieces that are fully designed, woven and manufactured in Britain and which made their first public appearance at Clerkenwell Design Week 2018 – where, fittingly, at Morgan Furniture’s London showroom, this year’s focus for CDW was on the theme The Art of Collaboration.

Finally, and going from east to west and back again – the Delta Award is one of the most prestigious in Europe, awarded by the Barcelona-based Association of Industrial Design (ADI-FAD) since 1961. This year, Catalan product designer Andreu Carulla – whose studio recently opened an office in Edinburgh – was invited to design this year’s trophy.

The result is a simple interpretation of the iconic Delta shape in stainless steel, cut in such a way that allows for the trophy to be manipulated into various different shapes by the winners, reflecting the variety and individuality of each one.

Carulla collaborated with Bute Fabrics to produce a fabric information tab on each trophy, with each category differentiated by a different colour from the mill’s new Alchemy collection. A subtle yet distinctive way to showcase the Scottish textile manufacturer to the best designers and brands, both in Spain and internationally.

We will be returning to collaborations over the coming months – get in touch with if you have a collaborative design project to share with us