Creativity and innovation are the defining characteristics of a good designer, an ability to think laterally and create inspired solutions to the problems of contemporary life.
I’ve always believed that the quality of design education in this country is the reason we are seen as the world’s leading creative nation and why students from all over the world are attracted by our art and design schools. One such student is Anton Alvarez, a Swedish-Chilean designer who divides his time between London and Stockholm and a recent graduate from our own magnificent Royal College of Art.
Anton’s education encompassed fine art, cabinet-making, interior architecture, and craft and design, giving him a diverse skill set to build upon. Added to his inquisitive, playful mind and strong personality, I am sure he will enjoy a colourful career in design.
I first came across Anton last summer when a group of students from the RCA came to the workshops of my furniture factory Benchmark in a collaboration with the American Hardwoods Export Council in a sustainable design project. The students camped out in the garden while being challenged to make a functional, sustainable chair out of American Hardwoods. Anton carved a sturdy yet elegant bench from a single log, demonstrating an appreciation of craft, materials, tools and finishing. A few months later his ‘Thread Wrapping Machine’ (below) was part of the Digital Crystal exhibition at the Design Museum.
His early work ‘out in the real world’ shows tremendous promise and maturity, applying traditional skills with new ways of looking at problems. Anton is starting to demonstrate with confidence the fine breadth of his talents.
Photo by Paul Plews