Heal's Discovers

One of my favourite previews on the design calendar is the Heal’s Autumn Collection presented in its London flagship on Tottenham Court Road. As one of the leading furniture emporiums in the country for more than two centuries, the brand continues to provide high quality, accessible design for the contemporary home. Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, the Heal’s Discovers programme continues to work with emerging talent, promoting innovative design from the drawing table to the shop floor.
Heal's Discovers 2014: Ester Comunello, Tom Parfitt, Josh South and Sam Lloyd
Ahead of its official launch at the London Design Festival in September, I previewed this year’s Heal’s Discovers designers who are all alumni from traditional furniture making and product design universities from across the country. Kirsty Whyte, Heal’s Product & Design Manager, explained to me the importance of design ethos that had been considered in choosing both the university and its subsequent graduate for the programme. Craftsmanship and material are at the core of the designers’ varied practices and this is reflected in the British-made values that Heal’s maintains for its in-house collections. Kirsty and her team mentored each designer through the stages of concept to viable product and worked closely with specialist British manufacturers for their production.

Ester Comunello introduces her Turn Collection – comprising of a coffee table, floor lamp and mirror – as a response to society’s detached relationship with product design. The Brazilian designer and graduate from Bucks New University based her concept around dexterity and craft when designing the range, which requires easy hands-on assembly without the nuts and bolts of flat pack counterparts. 
Turn Collection by Ester Comunello
The screw mechanism and ridges allow owners to engage directly with the piece using their hands; defining its shape and form, even offering the ability to clamp onto existing pieces of furniture or architecture. The result is a highly dynamic range that is made in Norwich using beech wood.
details: Turn coffee table (above) and Turn mirror (below)
Modernist architecture was the principal inspiration behind Tom Parfitt’s Maya side table. The Rycotewood-graduate hails from a wealth of industry experience at British furniture brand Benchmark before developing new skills and methods while studying for his degree. The side table - manufactured in Cheltenham - boasts the impressive credential of being made from over 90% recycled material. Equally impressive is its finish and physicality – smooth polished concrete and minimal lines. The solid form features triangular voids that make for just enough decorative intrigue as well as functional storage.
Maya side table by Tom Parfitt
Aluminium and oak come together for the Sand Cast range by Kingston University-graduate Sam Lloyd. A bar stool and low stool are presented in an angular style with an aluminium seat - manufactured after its namesake - upon three legs available in natural or fumed oak. A variety of manufacturing techniques are involved in its production that include aluminium casting from South East London to the hand-turned timber from Whitstable.
Sand Cast stools by Sam Lloyd
Design duo Luscombe and South met at Northumbria University where they established their collaborative studio. Philip Luscombe and Josh South introduce their first fully realised project together in the multi-functional Rickard Stool. After a series of prototypes – a making process favoured by the designers rather than sketching - the stool evolved to be suitable for sitting and standing as well as for display as a side-table. The natural and fumed oak components of the two-tiered stool are highlighted with contrasting dowels along its curved surface.
Rickard Stool by Philip Luscombe and Josh South
Alongside the debut designs of the emerging designers, the 2014 Autumn Collection looks to six new ranges by established designers and studios that include ‘Future Craft’ and ‘Modern British’ takes on minimal Nordic and Japanese aesthetics through to reinterpreted silhouettes of classic lines respectively. 
Perfectly (Imperfect) Stool by Galvin Brothers
The Perfectly (Imperfect) Stool by the Galvin Brothers with its misshaped turned leg in white oiled English ash and William Warren’s asymmetrical Deconstructed Windsor collection in dark wood were notable highlights that embraced design details underneath the surface top, pleasing the eye from head to toe.
Deconstructed Windsor Collection by William Warren
The Heal’s Discovers 2014 range from all five designers will launch on 13th September 2014 at the London Design Festival and at 100% Design between 17th and 20th September 2014. 
For more information about the range and collections featured in this post visit heals.co.uk or view in-store at 196 Tottenham Court Road, London W1T 7LQ and nationwide from next month.

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Images courtesy of Heal's