As the celebrated winner of New Designers 2019, The Conran Shop tipped graduate designer Huw Evans as a name to watch. Two years on, we sit down with Huw to catch up on his first experiences in the industry, and hear his thoughts on this year’s New Designers entries.
1. Huw, you were our 2019 New Designers winner, congratulations again! What have you been up to since winning the award?
Designing, living, and isolating. I interned with The Conran Shop from October 2019 through to the start of the pandemic. With the world in lockdown, I began working as a freelance furniture and product designer. Through this, I’ve been fortunate to work with both local and international clients on predominantly furniture and homeware projects.
2. How do you think that winning the award has affected your career?
The award of course provided me with exposure to the design industry and the opportunity to show my work to The Conran Shop senior team, which has led to the development of my designs and an exciting career. I’m grateful for their initiative in seeking out young emerging designers.
3. You took part in the judging of New Designers 2021; what were your impressions of the shortlisted candidates, and did any particular entries catch your eye?
It was refreshing to be on the other end of the process. A few designs stood out to me for their materiality; I find projects which celebrate their material most exciting. I’m keen for the return of exhibitions as being able to see products and prototypes in their physical form is integral to the judging process.
4. The Conran Shop is awaiting the launch of your winning Concertina collection, as unfortunately production has been delayed due to complications related to COVID-19. How do you feel that the pandemic has affected the design graduates over the last 18 months?
Having graduated the year prior to COVID-19, the pandemic has continued to impact my career and so I empathise with the difficulty that graduates are facing, particularly on design courses where students are both designing and making as their access to workshops is crucial.
5. As a new designer, have you noticed any emerging design trends in the last two years that excite you?
Many trends appear though very few last with time. What continues to excite me is the design of products with longevity that can be generational. I love the concept of designing and buying for life.
6. Lastly, what are your career hopes for the next few years?
I’ve recently moved into the role of Product Developer here at The Conran Shop. I’m delighted to apply my design thinking to such an established brand and design identity. Alongside this, I will continue the development of products under my own name and the launch of my Concertina collection will likely be the first step in this process.