Luxury travel brand Belmond has chosen two talented young designers to bring their creative vision to life at its historic Cadogan Hotel in Chelsea when the property reopens later this year.
Mac Collins, a product and furniture designer and soon-to-be graduate of acclaimed design institution Northumbria University, and Antonia (Toni) Packham, a champion of sustainable design fresh out of Brighton University, were both chosen from more than 3000 designers who displayed their work at the New Designers exhibition in Islington in July.
Collins’ statement chair design ‘Iklwa’ – a visually intense ultramarine throne, informed by the aesthetic of Afrofuturism and created to inspire empowerment – was praised by judges as “a thought-provoking, culturally enriched and beautiful piece of craftmanship that demonstrates in its exciting use of colour and considered appreciation of shape an understanding of the power of design to evoke emotion, capture the imagination and pay homage to heritage.”
In selecting the winner of Belmond’s inaugural award, the judges were seeking to find a talented designer whose product embodies the authentic and timeless, luxurious and soulful nature of the brand. Such was the calibre of talent on display at the New Designers event that the judges also selected Toni Packham as their winner.
Packham’s forward-thinking and environmentally conscious approach to design has resulted in the highly innovative use of plastic found polluting our oceans to create unique, hand-finished and ultra-high-quality products, including kitchenware, using a highly skilled and zero-waste production process. Collecting discarded rubbish from the shores of beaches across the UK, Packham’s beautiful designs and intricate details captured the judge’s eye while the story of sustainability and craftmanship spoke to the spirit of the Belmond brand.
Collins and Packham will now have the opportunity to learn from Belmond’s in-house bench of design experts, as well as its wider network of leading creative professionals, craftsmen and women. They will then be commissioned to design a bespoke design to be manufactured for and featured in the Belmond Hotel Cadogan – making it a central part of Belmond’s art and design-led portfolio.
Arnaud Champenois, Senior Vice President Brand & Marketing, Belmond, said:
“We were blown away by Mac and Toni’s raw talent and fresh-thinking approach to design. We are extremely excited to champion two young British designers who we believe are set to shape the future of creative design industry. Their work will now feature in one of the most beautiful hotels in London.
“At Belmond all of our properties, wherever they are in the world – from the Hotel Cipriani in Italy to the Copacabana Palace in Brazil – celebrate design and local craftsmanship with a quirky and contemporary twist.
“Which is why it has been brilliant to engage with the emerging new trends in creative design – something we are passionate about at Belmond – from 3D printing, to socially responsible design and multi-sensory experiences. We are looking forward to continuing our partnership with New Designers to find more future stars of the industry and to ensure that Belmond’s designs continue to capture the imagination of tomorrow’s discerning travellers.”
Belmond assembled a panel of expert judges from their extended family of leaders within the design and creative industries to help select the award winners. Savina Torrisi, Architect, Senior Tutor and Graduating-Year Programme Leader for the Innovation Design Engineering Programme at The Royal College of Art, and Inge Moore, founder of renowned interior design studio Muza Lab, joined Belmond’s very own Art and Design Director, Joe Ferry – himself a former winner at New Designers – to discover and kick-start the career of one of the freshest new creative minds.
“I feel excited and overwhelmed to have been chosen by Belmond” Packham said. “I think it’s amazing that a luxury brand is supporting new designers like myself and championing creative innovation. My designs are all about taking a waste material of apparently no value and turning it into something functional, individual and aesthetically beautiful. It has been said that waste is the result of poor design – by working with Belmond, I am excited by the opportunity to address this and raise awareness of the value of waste material.”
Collins added, “To have the opportunity, straight out of university, to create a product in my workshop in Newcastle and have it featured in a Belmond property in London is incredible. I want my work to connect with people in the real world and cannot wait to design something for a brand that shares my passion for heritage and love of true materials.”
Craftsmanship and design is central to the identity of Belmond’s family of 47 properties, trains and cruises across the globe. The company is a champion of the best designers around the globe, and has worked with a host of renowned designers and craftspeople – including famed British designer Matthew Williamson who recently designed the stunning Suite ‘No. 67’ at Belmond La Residencia Hotel in Deià, Mallorca.
British designer Matthew Williamson said:
“It’s fantastic to see Belmond’s commitment to developing the next generation of young British designers. An opportunity like this has the potential to jump-start a very successful career.
“The British design scene is thriving with a diverse range of really exciting talent pushing new frontiers with innovative ideas. We need to see more businesses like Belmond backing home-grown design and craftsmanship through partnerships like this.“
Elsewhere, Belmond has collaborated with other remarkable creative talents, including British Designer Tara Bernerd and French mosaicist Jérôme Clochard on the Venice-Simplon Orient Express.
The Cadogan has been closed since 2014 and is currently undergoing a £28 million pound refurbishment, designed to preserve the unique heritage of the Queen Anne Style property dating back to 1887, whilst updating the property to ensure its design retains a modern-day relevance. The iconic London hotel is steeped in history: it was famously the scene of Oscar Wilde’s arrest in 1895, as well as home to actress Lillie Langtry where she courted the future King of England.
The property is due to reopen in December, with London-based British talent and Head Chef of The Frog Adam Handling as Executive Chef, bringing his traditional yet modern British cuisine and zero waste philosophy to the Cadogan Hotel.