December 8, 2021
What’s Next for UK-based Designer and Artist Mac Collins?
Iklwa captured people’s attention not only because of its craft, but because of its personal nature. “I have been bringing together a range of influences, from stories told by older generations in my family, photos of my family, and music, all of which I have been combining to set a landscape or scene for the furniture that I design,” Collins explains. “The objects exist within these generations-old stories, and I imagine how the characters may have interacted with them within these idealized accounts.”
Now based in three cities—London, Nottingham, and Newcastle—Collins is in high demand, and his work is retaining this strong sense of narrative as it evolves and as he broadens his references as well as the scales and mediums in which he works.
Recent projects range from rugs inspired by furniture off-cuts for the brand Floor Story to a chair and table for The New Craftsmen Gallery inspired by a 2,000-year-old Roman statue. (Collins made the set during a residency at Holkham Hall, a country house in Norfolk, for an exhibition called A Portrait of Place.) This year, he created some chunky pine fruit bowls for the new Finnish brand Vaarnii, whose inaugural collection also includes pieces by Philippe Malouin, Industrial Facility, Kwangho Lee, and Max Lamb. “I imagined these being the most dominant objects on any surface,” Collins says.
For Discovered, an exhibition by the American Hardwood Export Council at London’s Design Museum in September, he designed Concur, a cherrywood lounge chair with an accompanying bookrest that reflects his feelings about the COVID-19 lockdowns. “The word isolation for me had always had positive connotations, but during the pandemic the reality was obviously negative. I wanted to reromanticize that idea of being secluded, so this was designed as the perfect chair I wished I’d had during that time,” he explains. The piece has already been acquired for the Design Museum’s permanent collection.
While storytelling remains heavily intertwined in his work, Collins is keen to reengage his connection with making. “A lot of the projects I’ve done so far have been geared up to some sort of level of production, but I’d like to spend some time back in my workshop making things and exploring new materials, perhaps creating installation- and experience-driven projects,” he says. “I’d like to have the chance to experiment again.” Before his next steps, he intends to slow down. With a currently undisclosed project in the pipeline for next year, we may not have to wait long to see what comes next.
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