The big mission of Atelier100, a creative project backed by global fashion company H&M and furniture brand IKEA, is to democratise design. Far too often, great product ideas aren't realised due to lack of connections, materials or budget. Atelier100 was designed to bridge that gap – to give local creators the space and resources to bring incredible products to life. For Atelier100's pilot in London, local partners – from designers to agencies and architects – were recruited to get the programme off the ground. Here's how it all works…
Based in east London, Lola Lely is a multidisciplinary designer and maker, and the co-founder of candle brand WAX Atelier.
London was chosen as the pilot location for the Atelier100 programme because the capital city is such a strong hub for creativity. Camilla Henriksson, H&M's global brand innovation manager, and Marcus Engman, chief creative officer of Ingka Group, IKEA's largest franchisee, both agreed that London had the ideal conditions necessary for a programme like Atelier100 to really thrive: a surplus of innovative and creative local talent, makers and materials – and something really exciting bubbling under the surface. Plus, the perfect spot for Atelier100's first physical concept shop emerged, nestled between H&M and IKEA stores in the Livat Hammersmith retail, entertainment and community complex in west London.
Ceramic artist Alison Cooke creates objects and installations from clay that's been unearthed from sites of historic and geological interest during mining, engineering or scientific research. Alison's work focuses on the many layers of history that lie beneath a specific location and how they can impact life today. She's exhibited her work at the Institution of Civil Engineers, the British Ceramics Biennial, the Museum of London, the Saatchi Gallery and more.
‘I'm inspired by finding a balance between the use of colour and natural tones, with a Scandinavian approach to design,’ says Elna-Marie Fortune, a textile designer who specialises in handmade wool products. ‘My favourite part about being a creative is watching my ideas come to life – from the very first draft to the finished outcome.’ At Atelier100, Elna-Marie hopes to create textiles that can ‘be passed down for generations to come’.
Finn Thomson and Josef Shanley-Jackson are the creative minds behind art and design studio Mitre and Mondays, which is located between Essex Road and Regent's Canal in north London. The studio, which focuses on the playful use of materials and exploring design through making, often works alongside other designers, artists and architects and has recently created a series of furniture, sculpture and lighting called Batch.
‘As part of my final master's project, I have developed a small collection of garments that explore my system of design and making in physical form,’ says Savvas Alexander, a designer and maker who advocates a rethinking of the established systems within the fashion industry and wants to challenge the sector's problem with over-consumption. ‘For Atelier100, I'll be taking a few items from this collection and creating a full look that shows this vision.’
Atelier100's new Hammersmith shop is an open space for collaborating, connecting and, of course, shopping. The space itself was designed by London studios Bibliothèque and Plaid. ‘You have to give people an experience that they weren't expecting,’ says Tim Beard, one of Bibliothèque's founding partners. Sustainability and the reuse of materials were embedded into it – in particular, reusing fixtures from the now-closed Topshop clothing store on London's Oxford Street. ‘There were a lot of interesting fixtures – industrial clothing rails that we've powder-coated, mirrors that were incredibly heavy and large light boxes that were almost too big,’ says Plaid's co-founder Brian Studak. ‘But they're now a “wow” moment when you walk in.’