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London Design Festival: Mac Collins wins Emerging Design Medal with “Afrofuturist” wooden furniture range

·2-min read
Mac Collins, 25, is the winner of this year’s Emerging Design Medal  (George Howard Rees-Jones)
Mac Collins, 25, is the winner of this year’s Emerging Design Medal (George Howard Rees-Jones)

This year’s Emerging Design Medal winner is British designer and maker Mac Collins, 25, for his handcrafted wooden furniture inspired by his Afro-Caribbean and European heritage, Homes & Property can reveal.

The prize, which recognises the impact made by an up-and-coming artist in any field of design, will be awarded as part of the London Design Festival later this month.

Collins first attracted industry attention in 2018 while still at university in Northumbria and, just two years later, his deep-blue “empowering” Iklwa chair was selected for production by furniture-maker Benchmark.

The throne-like piece that merges Scandinavian design principles with an Afrocentric and Afrofuturist philosophy was a response to an exploration of his own heritage.

“I realised I can only trace my lineage back on my Jamaican side only so many generations before people were then property of other people. So I was trying to create something that would make whoever was to sit in it have the opposite feeling that I had when I started understanding that position, and that history,” said Collins.

The other winners of design awards announced on Wednesday include a Lifetime Achievement Medal for graphic designer Michael Wolff whose career has spanned six decades.

Professor Eyal Weizman won the Design Innovation Medal for his pioneering work leading ‘Forensic Architecture’ a multi-disciplinarily research group at Goldsmith’s university that uses design and architectural techniques to investigate acts of state violence and human rights abuses around the world.

The highest accolade — the London Design Medal — went to designer Ilse Crawford whose many popular and sleek ranges of laid-back furniture and lighting for IKEA may be gracing your home without you even knowing the mastermind behind them.

Former winners have included architects Zaha Hadid and David Adjaye and designer Thomas Heatherwick.

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