I The Design Council has just announced details ofa new Corporate Plan that hopes to address the potential benefit of design in industry and manufactured goods. It‘s part of an overall re-structuring of the Council which has itselfcome in for a good deal ofcriticism from the design press in the past. The Design Council shops in Glasgow and London have gone. as has the kite-shaped tag that denoted its seal ofapproval on British products. Instead its resources will be directed towards education and training. It will open a Young Designers' Centre in London. Britain's first permanent showcase for student designers. and it plans a new programme oftouring exhibitions. Increased regionalisation of resources is another central plank ofthe plan. and as part of this policy a Head of Industrial Services has recently been appointed in Scotland. I A Europe-wide design competition is planned as part of the European city of
still managing to make a living and they could be drawn oil into the design industry: ‘It would be nice to think that the Clyde was still bubbling away with small workshops. but that’s not the case’. Though one or
two oi the products on sale argument. however. about at Inllouse are designed by "18 (loamy OI some oltho Scots. none is work being produced. as the manuiactured here; yet ellorts at Glasgow Urban Potter is in no doubt that he Workshop domoosttaie. could sell Scottish products The group emerged When and that there is enough sevetal like-minded talent here to produce architects decided to work quality work. together on an international
The main problem he competition last yearto ioresees lor Glasgow is the “Sign a scoomo tor the old I " lack oi a Scottish market: docklands area in t; ' ‘There just hasn't been Manhattan. ‘The Municipal :1" ‘ access to modern design ior Arts Society in New York I long enough, the appetite is were led up with all the nail I . not big enough to support proposals that were being ' even the smallest submitted tor a wateriront ' .\ . 1 .z I , manuiacturing unit. It site’ says Henry McKeown, [— - '- 4 — —- — — '— =5
needs a marketing network. access to the South oi England and the Continent.’
; The most commonly voiced problem relating to the design industry in Glasgow is the difficulty designers have in getting work into production. There is no
one oi the group. ‘So they launched the competition as an ‘ideas scheme'. to
Culture celebrationsin I990with feasibility money coming from the Festivals Unit. ‘It was the first design project they were presented with' says competition Administrator. Stephanie Roberts. who has previously worked on the Glasgow Style projects with Glasgow District Council and the Third Eye Centre.
Once the necessary sponsorship is secured. it is hoped a number ofeminent designers will set Glasgow-based briefs for projects in various categories. These include architecture. interior design. 30 design. and surface design (which includes textiles. wall covering and graphics). ‘We hope we can make it part ofthe final year projects in design and architecture schools throughout Iiurope' says Stephanie. who is confident the necessary backing will be found.
An exhibition. comprising the winners in each category. would follow. touring Europe during I990. beginningin Glasgow. Stephanie admits it is an ambitious undertaking— ‘it gets bigger every time we talk about it'—
.1 I | I l I l I l l l l
but it could be just the kind of project Glasgow needs to indentify itselfwith.
I Autumn 1990 is the proposed date for the opening of the Fashion Centre in the former Sherriff Court in the Merchant City. It is hoped the building will give a focus to the fashion industry in Glasgow. bringing together under one roofretail space. workshops or studios. a museum of fashion and fashion shows.
I The American lager manufacturers Schlitz have sponsored a design competition for students at the Glasgow School of Art. The briefwas to produce ideas that the company might be able to use in promotion or marketing. though almost anything could be submitted. ‘The students might come up with anything from a filofax to an aeroplane‘ say the competition publicists. Ifa suitable design emerges. the company hopesto put it into production.
The categories were Graphic Design and Illustration. Printed Textilcsand Industrial and Interior Design: winners and runners tip in each category will
their design. ‘Delng
receive £1 .000 and £500 respectively at an Award Winning Ceremony on March I. All the work entered will be on public view at the Glasgow School of Art. 167 Renfrew Street. 23 & 28 February & 2 March 10am—8pm: February 24 & March 3 10am-5pm; February 25 itiam—noon. (Closed Sunday Feb 26 and Wed March I).
I The Dundee-based designer Stephen French has been the guiding influence in a design exhibition to be held at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. Glasgow from 25 April to 28 May. The show will take the form of an open-plan apartment. with new and hi-tech furniture and fittings. such as Luxaflex's holographic Venetian blinds. Some pieces are already available in the high street; others are prototypes still seeking manufacturers.
Other contributions include joinery by llighgrove of Dundee. kitchen fittings by Warerite. dining chairs by Graven Images of Glasgow and mirrors by Andrew Sharp.
design asked himselithe
1990. thinks Potter, is an stimulate designs and other another member oi the ideal opportunity to present proposals tor the area.‘ group. McKeown works ior Glasgow as ‘a stripling Glasgow Urban Workshop Elder and Canon. one oi Milan, dying to mealtime won the competitioin in Glasgow's leading European markets,‘ conjunction with another architectural practices.
entrant. but they couldn't. unfortunately. claim the a prize as they had
Undeterred by their mistake over the entry requirements tor the New York projectthe
COMMISSioolDO W9" know" inadvertently broken the group are about to enter atohtlools to “Sign ' competiton rules. ‘We another intemationai everyday obiects. Itke this ' submitted tour boards competition. this time iora kettle It! motto“ Times, instead of three. so we won multi-purpose cultural has been one oIIIto out of competition‘ explains centre in Tokyo. There will successiul motkoliﬂil 00008 McKeown. be even more incentive to of the Italian Iitm Alossto Like lan Alexander. get the rules right asthe winning scheme will be built. Though McKeown. who
comes irom Beliast. linds Glasgow a pleasant cilyio live in. he has reservations about its status as a designer city. ‘lt’s all a bit vague in Glasgow. There’s a good base around the art school. but I'm not sure it there is enough interest in the core oi the population. If it’s going to change. it needs to be an attractive place ior young designers to stay; it has to be worth their while. They need a city they can ieel proud ot.’
One oi the manulacturers Richard Ashdown spoke to
.‘rT‘u. Ccoteat, tlbovefovlcf-
whilst compiling his report was Stoddard Carpets in Paisley. As both the largest carpet manufac- turer in Scotland and a company strongly committed to high quality design. they are constantly approached by ireelance designers with new ideas. There are so many we couldn't look at everyone who approaches us’ Design Director Bill Naysmlth told The List. Few ireelancers design work Is taken on however. ‘We seldom see iree- lancers’ work that we tool we really must have' says Naysmith. The problems will be iamillar to any designer who has tried to get his work all the drawing board and Into production; the risks to the company in launching a new design are considerable -- Naysmith reckons it costs hundreds oi thousands oi pounds’ to put out samples at a new collection; it’s not a viable tor a company such as Stoddard to produce work in small batches; and ireelancers have often overlooked the basic marketing objectives of
' .'... «Mer- M/ ' l
successiul is about having the right product, at the right time. In the right market’ says Naysmlth. It’s not just a question oi a designer coming along and saying why haven’t they thought of this. Stoddard. however. works closely with art colleges. taking on students for industrial practise or setting projects during their term. Naysmith ls sympathetic to the problems lacing a lreelance designer. Manulacturers need to target specllic collections and designs. but. says Naysmlth. ireelancers can’t be totally specific
without putting themselves
out on a limb. There are no easy answers.’
The SDA is currently working on a project which. it successiul could become a blueprint ior other Scottish prodjects. Four Scottish designers (Jan Nimmo. Fiona Nealon. Joanie Jack and Fiona MacKechnie) have been asked to produce designs tor a range oi home furnishings which will be manufactured in Scotland and marketed undera Scottish brand-name.
The SDA are acting as middle man. having engaged a consultant to set the briei tor the designers. and oversee the marketing. ‘The project is still in its infancy. and won't be launched till next year' says co-ordinator Joanne Beaumont. ‘but ltwill happen - so long asthe commercial interest is there.‘ It it takes oil, it could go a long way to help bridge the gap between good ideas and actual products.
When Glasgow School oiArt took an exhibition ol students’ work to Milan several years ago. Dougald Cameron. head of art and
same question the SDA has been asking ilseli: what are the essential diilerences between Glasgow and Milan. ‘In many ways they’re very alike. they’re both dour. industrial cities‘ says Cameron. ‘Dut in Milan there's a ‘critical mass’ at people. outwith the design community. who are interested enough to seek out design and iollow its developments. It provides a true critical audience tor designers' ellorts - and there are signs that it could happen here.’
Glasgow. he suggests. is small enough to try experiments. and small enough tor designers to group together and provide a locus. ‘There's a raw energy too in Glasgow that’s diilerent irom other places in the Ult’ says Cameron ‘and they comprise a large section oi the international design community.’
In 1990 he hopes to stage an exhibition celebrating the intemationai achievements ol Glasgow-trained designers. ‘The Italians are complaining about a Glasgow maiia. there are so many oi our graduates working there.’ Some come back to Britain. like Gerry Taylor. a Glasgow School at Art graduate. who returned to Britain alter a stint in Italy and now works in London with Daniel Weil (see illus). Cameron is convinced many more could be persuaded to stay. ‘The SDA needs to encourage industry, and help to iniorm it about what’s possible. not just locally. but on a world scale. And they could help more prototypes get made; we need to be more vigourous in throwing up. and in discarding. ideas. It needs to be a collaborative effort. with the art school working with the SDA. the design council and the design community. bull think there's real hope there. lieel bullish and optimistic.’
The List 24 February — 9 March 7