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Exterior of Atelier100 pop-up showroom at London Design Festival 2023

IKEA and H&M's design incubator unveils products by 22 emerging London studios

Metro newspapers and Thames debris were used to form this collection of London-centric products, created by local designers as part of the Atelier100 incubator, which is on show at London Design Festival.

Taking over a pop-up showroom in LDF's newest design district, Dalston to Stokey, the exhibition highlights products by 22 emerging London creatives from the worlds of fashion and interiors.

The pieces were created as part of an incubator, founded by Swedish design giants IKEA and H&M in 2022 to champion designers and manufacturers in the British capital and encourage more local production.

Overview of Drop02 exhibition at London Design Festival 2023
Atelier100 released its second collection as part of London Design Festival 2023

"It's the opposite of IKEA and H&M, which is interesting in itself," said Marcus Engman, creative director of IKEA's parent company Ingka Group.

The incubator helps designers fund the production of their product, alongside practical workshops on topics from accounting and marketing to the particular requirements of mass production, which are generally not covered in design schools.

By focusing on London, the companies aim to support young talent from a greater variety of cultural and economic backgrounds than can be found in closer Scandinavian capitals like Stockholm or Copenhagen.

Wooden spoons and colourful glass vases
Wooden spoons by Thomas Wheller and vases by Rosie Stonham are among the locally-made products

"The intent with Atelier100 is to find another creative scene that better represents the many people that are actually buying from our companies," Engman told Dezeen.

"Most people working in design all over the world are quite fortunate people, maybe their fathers or mothers have been in the same trade," he added. "So to try to break that, that's the intention of this."

"London is one of the most diverse cities in the world, so it's really interesting to see what we can do there."

Overview of Atelier100 pop-up showroom in Dalston
CAN's Mudlark Chair features 3D-printed replicas of Thames debris

Many of the products created by Atelier100's second cohort use hyper-local materials that can only be found in London.

Industrial designer Thomas Wheller carved a set of spoons using offcuts from local tree surgeons, while artist Rosie Stonham hand-blew glass into moulds made of scrunched-up Metro newspaper to form a series of vases.

Clothes hanging inside Drop02 exhibition at London Design Festival 2023
Participating fashion designers include Abiola Onabule (right) and Kwaku Joseph (front)

Similarly, the feet of the Mudlark Chair by architecture studio CAN were 3D-printed replicas of rubble the studio collected from the Thames riverbed at low tide.

The iridescent boulders hold up a frame made of anodised aluminium scaffolding, in a nod to the city's ubiquitous building sites, while the seat and backrest are made using the wood from a London plane tree that made the news when it fell on a building in Soho Square last year.

Several of the projects also made use of deadstock yarn and textiles, sourced all around the capital.

South London maker Jaclyn Pappalardo created an upholstered mirror using leftover fabric from local upholsterers while fashion designer Abiola Onabule created a dramatically billowing shirt using deadstock cotton from Dalston Mill Fabrics.

Menswear label Kwaku Joseph's homage to London is less literal, consisting of a three-piece set informed by the patterned zip-up bags and market stall awnings of Peckham.

A metal lamp next to a small egg-shaped lamp
Also on show are lighting designs by Annalisa Iacopetti (left) and Charlie Humble-Thomas (right)

Yet other fashion designs focused more on personalisation.

Among them are a pair of 3D-printed mules by accessories studio Body Amplification Devices, designed using algorithmic modelling so each pair is slightly different, and adjustable pleated garments by Alexandra Larrabure that grow and shrink with the wearer.

3D-printed black mules
Body Amplification Devices created 3D-printed black mules

Also part of Atelier100's second cohort were David Searcy, Jess Flood-Paddock, Charlie Humble-Thomas, Annalisa Iacopetti, Six Dots Design, Maison S. Sommet, Ambra Dentella, Eastmond Apparel, Ex-A Studio, Matan Fadida, Gina Corrieri, Izzi Valentine, Leclò and Lr.d.

Notable alumni include design studio Mitre & Mondays, responsible for designing the pop-up showroom for this year's show, and Andu Masebo who recently nabbed the V&A's emerging designer commission.

Atelier100's second cohort sitting outside the pop-up showroom in Dalston
Some of the designers from Atelier100's second cohort

Working on the incubator has also underlined that for IKEA and H&M, a localised production model remains unfeasible.

"It's one of the things that, honestly, we tried it out here and it's kind of hard to make it at a good enough scale," Engman said. "That was one of the trials on the pilot."

"I think we all see that we need to adapt to what is happening in supply and production all over the world. But if this is the way to do it, I'm not sure."

The photography is by Taran Wilkhu.

Drop02 is on show at Atelier100's pop-up showroom as part of London Design Festival 2023 from 16 to 24 September 2023. See our London Design Festival 2023 guide on Dezeen Events Guide for information about the many other exhibitions, installations and talks taking place throughout the week.