Designing A Child’s Dream

Designjunction Teams up with 21 Leading Designers for Children’s Charity Auction

Look to the inaugural designjunction – the prolific platform for commercial and cultural design – flagship show at London Design Festival for a visual feast of diversity and dynamism this year. Set in the contrasting backdrop of The College – former Central Saint Martins art and design school (all original interiors and old workshop spaces) and Victoria House (clean, stripped back and full of light), the show challenges designers to work in creative ways to align their work with the space. What’s more, a new partnership with charity Teddy’s Wish sees designjunction host a creative campaign with added emotional clout.

The design giants have challenged 21 world-renowned designers and architects to customize the Eames Elephant – made famous by designers Charles and Ray Eames in 1945 – in order to then sell the elephants at auction. The money raised will go directly to Teddy’s Wish, raising money for grieving families coping with the loss of a child as well as awareness of the rise in infant mortality in the UK, which has spiked considerably in recent years.

Designing A Child’s Dream
The result is 21 distinct pieces from the leading international designers, which were displayed in an installation at the designjunction space last week, kicking off the festival in style. Day one of the installation marked the beginning of the two-week bidding window which will see collectors, art enthusiasts and fans of the designers battle it out for their favourite elephant.

“We wanted the piece to be captivating and visually striking,” says interior designer Kit Miles, of his flora and fauna emblazoned elephant – just one of the colourful herd currently up for grabs. Catching them for a quick coffee break, we asked curator Anthony Dickens and four other designers how they fared with the Eames elephant challenge.

1. What’s special about your elephant?
André Klauser from Klauser Carpenter:
It’s what comes out when you cross the Eames Elephant with that iconic rocking chair. I guess in music you would call this a mashup. We actually used original Eames rockers, that was important. Vitra kindly provided original parts.
Andre Klauser

Ian Stallard from Fredrikson Stallard:
Our elephant is a reference to the Elephant Festival in Jaipur where the elephants are painted in rich vibrant colours. We chose to work with gold and the application is 24 carat gold leaf.
Fredrikson Stallard

Kit Miles from Kit Miles:
Initially we chose our new wallpaper design ‘Ecclesiastical botanical” from our collections. Then we decided to design it around the form in an A-symmetric pattern to contradict the sleek symmetry and give the object a counter narrative. We coated the interior of the shape in a very special Gold which shines brightly through the gaps making a dialogue between the internal and external spaces of the shape itself. We wanted the piece to be captivating and visually striking and I think we achieved that.
Kit Miles

Rossana Hu from Neri & Hu:
Just the movement of the rocking elephant like a rocking horse is interesting.
Lyndon Neri & Rossana Hu

2. Whose elephant would you bid for (you can’t choose your own)?
Anthony Dickens from Anthony Dickens: Russell Pinch.
AK: I would bid for Michael Marriott’s elephant. His introduction of a handle detail feels subtle and respectful to the original. I might be biased though, Michael is a friend.
IS: Philippe Malouin.
KM: Zandra Rhodes’s elephant is great because it’s unselfconscious. She’s always been a tremendous support to me and her design has the mark of the human hand in brush strokes and paint.
RH: They are all great and interesting!

3. If you are not a designer, what kind of job you can imagine that you would take?
AD: A failing and very poor musician.
AK: Professional footballer, but I think that ship might have sailed.
IS: We wouldn’t do anything other than what we do now, it is our lives.
KM: Ornathoaogy or entomology. I quite like the sound of being an explorer of strange and new worlds. This could be similar to design in that it is always for me about taking leaps into the unknown.
RH: Musician or writer.

4. What’s next for you?
AD: My company, Studio Make Believe, affects behaviour through Physical Brand Objects. We work with multinational brands to make purposeful brand communication. We have products launching soon for Finlandia Vodka, Jose Cuervo and Red Bull.
AK: A break from design. This weekend I’m attempting to run my first marathon and after that I’m off on holiday for a week. I imagine I’ll need it.
IS: Right now we have our own show “Momentum” at our HQ in Holborn. We are also launching a new collection of jewellery for Atelier Swarovski at London Fashion week. The next major project is our solo show “Gravity” at David Gill Gallery in February.
RH: Lots of other projects.

Click here to explore the herd and place your bid now.
Photos by Ruth Ward.