Relay Design Agency
28 May 2021
This new series, Design bites, unveil the backstage of contemporary creation. Tackling various topics from personal designer processes to the position of Collectible design on the global design market; these bites offer different views to suit all tastes. Today we talk with Neil Walsh, director of Relay Design Agency.
COLLECTIBLE: What do you think collectible design brings compared to other more massively produced pieces?
Neil Walsh: Collectible design has the luxury of existing outside the commercial and physical constraints of mass-produced design. With this in mind, it brings heightened creative freedom for designers - freedom to explore new materials, processes, and ideas. The result are objects that push the boundaries and possibilities of how design can positively impact our lives.
“ For SALON, we present a new limited series by Charlotte Kidger, whose work is driven by the urge and curiosity to transform often unwanted and valueless materials into desirable and functional objects.”
C: How did you get into collectible design? Why did you start your gallery?
NW: Relay Design Agency has operated in commercial design for over 10 years and in that time we have made friends with fantastically talented designers. However, we were always aware of a gap in the community for a space that allowed designers to experiment on work outside their regular remit - so we started the Arcade Collection. The collection performs as a commissioning platform with a strong focus on experimentation, allowing artists and designers to produce new work using new processes.
C: Can you talk about the designers you present for COLLECTIBLE SALON, what makes their practice and pieces unique?
NW: In 2020 the Arcade Collection made its international debut at COLLECTIBLE. As a London gallery, COLLECTIBLE asked if we could assist a young designer to transport her work to Brussels to be part of the Curated section of the fair - that designer was Charlotte Kidger.
For COLLECTIBLE SALON it is fitting that we present a new limited series by Charlotte Kidger. As a material-led designer, her work is driven by the urge and curiosity to transform often unwanted and valueless materials into desirable and functional objects. For our commission, Kidger explores the lathe as a technical means to expand her use of form, experimenting with new shapes and functions. The result is a series of turned totemic vessels, each unique and hand-dyed in shades of chartreuse.
C: What tip would you give to young designers who wish to focus their practice on collectible design?
NW: We think designers really need to question why something should be made and from which materials. The sustainable pressures that design is increasingly under will only increase in the next 10 years, as countries work towards the United Nations Sustainability Goals. However, within these parameters, beautiful & innovative design can be produced - and we believe collectible design can shape this design future.
About Relay Design Agency
Relay Design Agency launched Arcade Collection as an ongoing commissioning platform allowing artists and designers to produce work outside of their regular remit. Arcade has a strong focus on experimentation, the only adherence is that all pieces, be they an item of furniture, lighting or an object, must have a perceivable function. The focus of Arcade Collection’s selected artists was the independent craftsperson, harnessing technology to push the boundaries of craft, developing originality in material, process and application.