The New World, Design From 5 Continents

The best part of the London Design Festival is the surprise of discovering something new and wonderful. This show, The New World, Design from Five Continents, is sponsored by the British Council, an agency promoting international design links. And international it is--Heath Nash from South Africa, Paula Dib from Brazil and Padmaja Krishnan from India, plus Slovenian and Mexican designers. Both Nash and Dib have been written about in treehugger and it is thrilling to see their work in the flesh. Nash is a South African who works in recycled plastic, creating chandeliers, "carpets", coat hangers, chairs and baskets out of metal and plastic (pictured). The bowl is made out of layers of galvanized steel wire and the light is made of plastic containers fused together. Other pieces are wall hangings (one says " it's beautiful here") and carpets made of bottle caps held together with metal.

Ana Vaz, from Brazil, makes handmade jewellery and bags. Her necklaces are made of rows of coloured beads,strung on string and steel, fishing line and straw. Some of them are multi-coloured, others are white with white string and are quite striking. The clutch bags are sewn out of bits of old ribbon.


Paula Dib works with the handicraft community in Brazil, developing and modernizing traditional craft skills that have been passed down through the generations. The work in this show consists of baskets made out of left-over bark which is a bi-product of the paper making industry. The women crotchet the bits with metal for use as containers for cacti and other plants.


Padmaja Krishnan is working with Indian textiles to design "non-conformative, quirky and peaceful clothing" in beige linen and raw silk and cotton. The clothes have fine little details and impeccable finish and include dresses, kurtas, shirts, jackets, and skirts. She is also involved in handicrafts; these adorable leather banks are stencilled and finely crafted as piggy banks for children.

Carla Fernandez works with rural Mexican women to make use of the ancient weaving skills and develop the wonderful traditional textiles into original and modern fashion. She mixes classic and new in interesting ways. :: British Council Via :: London Design Festival

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