Meet the shortlist for Design Prize 2021: the new generation of global creatives pushing the boundaries of design

The inaugural Soho House Design Prize is our new global initiative in partnership with Genesis Motor America, created to support emerging designers. We are looking for up-and-coming talent in furniture, product design, architecture, landscaping, light, sound, VR, and more. Meet the creatives who have been shortlisted and read about their ideas below.

Portrait of man on bright coloured background
 Portrait of man on bright coloured background

Name: Yann Binet
Location: London
Project proposal: Wishing Well

The physical and virtual merge seamlessly in Yann Binet’s work to create moments of social engagement, reflection, or contemplation. Combining tangible craftsmanship with technical innovation, he aims to create sensory experiences that are relatable and culturally relevant.

Binet’s project proposal is called Wishing Well, and offers a commentary on technology as ‘the new magic’. Its aim is two-fold: celebrating technical possibilities, while showcasing how blind technophilia can sometimes lack a social or human perspective. The work itself is an interactive media sculpture through which contactless donations can be made. Visitors are shown facts and stats relating to a chosen cause or charity and can make a micropayment towards it, therefore fulfilling a wish. The Design Prize’s multidisciplinary nature particularly resonates with Binet, as it aims to bridge disciplines through collaboration.

Name: Bodin Hon
Location: Istanbul
Project proposal: Hatch

Marrying culture, technology, science, art and craft, Bodin Hon and Dilara Kan of Istanbul-based studio, Yellowdot, create unique products and experiences that bring joy and an element of surprise to the everyday. Titled Hatch, this project is a collection of lighting and objects crafted from eggshells. Although considered by many as agricultural waste, Hatch aims to repurpose the eggshell by creating a series of tableware objects made from combining the material with brass. With more than 50,000 tonnes of eggshell per year being discarded in landfills, this project will open up new conversations about food waste.

Elsewhere, Hon would like to collaborate with a local Soho House chef to create an egg-based menu. Here, the guests will enjoy both the food, lighting and tableware that will be subtly incorporated into the dining room. This project aims to expand the dialogue around ‘farm to table’ even further, so that our food is not only health conscious, but environmentally conscious, too.

Portrait of woman n bright coloured background
woman posing with slight smile in front of orange background

Name: Kelly Hayes
Location: LA
Project proposal: The Peace Table

Focusing on the poetics of design and the connections between art, design and craft, Kelly Hayes manipulates everyday objects with functionality and sustainability in mind. Her designs seek to create conversations around our future, exploring how we can achieve a better standard of living for everyone on this planet. For Design Prize 2021, Hayes has proposed The Peace Table, inspired by the Altars for Peace by George Nakashima.

Constructed from hempwood, the piece will be made by binding hemp fibres with a soy-based adhesive, forming a composite that’s stronger than oak. Hayes will make the barrel base of the table from unique shapes that interlock, reminiscent of people holding each other. The tabletop will be an organic circle, allowing everyone to have an equal voice at the table, and folding chairs made from reclaimed urban lumber will surround it. They’ll have the ability to be folded up flat onto a wall hanging, and taken down and used when needed.

Name: Isabel Francoy
Location: Barcelona
Project proposal: Functional Art

Barcelona-based architect and designer Isabel Francoy’s work focuses on space and how we interact with it. Designed to satisfy and predict the needs of each person with custom-made, exclusive solutions, she seeks to answer abstract questions such as: What is a space? How is it formed? What was this space before? 

For Design Prize 2021, Francoy and design partner Sonia Michalopoulou have created Functional Art – a series of art objects with utilitarian functions made from timeless, natural and sustainable materials – through their studio, si.atelier. Smoothly carved from alabaster, the pieces interact with their environment – like ‘Zaida’, a curved table that stands out for its intimate relationship with the light of its surroundings.

 Portrait of man on bright coloured background
 Portrait of man on bright coloured background

Name: Joseph Y. Ewusie
Location: London
Project proposal: Colours Of JoYE

Although his background is in product design, Joseph Y. Ewusie is a multi-disciplinary creative who recognises that ‘good design is at the heart of [the] House’, with the values of ‘simplicity and innovation, which also stand the test of time’. For Design Prize 2021, Ewusie is proposing to create a series of elevated objects, which will deliver luxury despite being derived from waste. 

Titled Colours Of JoYE, the project will be an evolving collection of homeware, with distinctive silhouettes made from recycled by-products of the marble industry, mixed with pigments and resin to create a new material. As part of the project, guests at Soho House will be treated to a candlelit soiree using Colours Of JoYE as part of the tablescape.

Name: Tony Cruise
Location: Ohio
Project proposal: The Will To Change

Tony Cruise is an emerging sound artist who cultivates ideas for musicians, institutions, and brands. He has spent years tracking individual sonic elements in carefully calibrated rooms, drawing upon his own experience with mental health. Cruise’s approach to sound and its application seeks to create a space for reverence and contemplation. His project proposal for Design Prize 2021, The Will To Change, is a 360° projection-mapped, site-specific greenhouse and sound sculpture.

The concept takes its name from Bell Hooks’ book of the same name, which urges the reader ‘to move against alienation and separation’. Sensors within the space will measure the biometric attributes of both the Soho House members and the flora surrounding it: temperature, CO2 emissions, movement, pressure applied to surfaces, and speech/volume. This will create a tapestry of sound and light, with individuals moving through the space becoming aware of how one’s presence and behaviour impacts the experience for others.

 Portrait of man on bright coloured background
Portrait of woman n bright coloured background

Name: Luke Rolls
Location: London
Project proposal: The Circadian Sun Room

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) takes a toll on our mental wellbeing, affecting an estimated 3% of the population. Luke Rolls offers a solution in the form of his project proposal, The Circadian Sun Room – a carefully designed room in which members of Soho House can experience an environment of serotonin-boosting artificial sunlight, 365 days a year. The room will mimic the natural shifts that occur in colour and temperature during the day, and also use adaptive lighting technology to react to participants in the space. Once the sun has set, colourful gradients will transform the room, bringing it to life.

The exterior of each lightbox will be composed of solar panels, with casings made from recycled metal materials. Integrated LED strips will provide colourful and stimulating light, with the front panels composed of recycled frosted glass. These materials will allow for an installation that minimises its carbon footprint by using renewable energy, with the LED technologies providing both low power consumption and heat output.

Name: Lily Consuelo Saporta Tagiuri
Location: NYC
Project proposal: Water Fountain

Industrial designer and eco futurist Lily Consuelo Saporta Tagiuri’s work addresses the transforming climates and conditions of cities. Using installations, research, objects and text, she highlights underlying social, political and environmental systems, and explores alternatives – from devices that allow individuals to harvest rainwater to events that unpack our relationship to land through food. 

Aiming to produce inclusive work that’s simultaneously urgent and joyous, for Design Prize 2021 Tagiuri proposes to create an installation of a sculptural yet functional water fountain and filter. Interested in forming a dialogue between our relationship to rising sea levels and fresh water in New York City, the installation, which would be presented in Ludlow House, will be a totem to the water we rely on, as well as a physical place to receive drinking water. Using glass and ceramic, she plans to create an interplay between the translucent and solid spaces, so that guests can see the inner functioning of the water filter. The piece would be accompanied by a small research magazine that explores the history of water usage in New York City. 

 Portrait of man on bright coloured background
 Portrait of man on bright coloured background

Name: Joshua Renouf
Location: London
Project proposal: Coffee Table

Noting the rise of consumerism, Joshua Renouf wants to create objects using materials currently produced in abundance, rather than taking from the earth. Concentrating on how we can make a luxury material or product that can be produced on a mass scale, his proposed idea is a table made from coffee beans.

Challenging and changing how we look at and value certain materials, the table will be designed to have a strong and timeless shape, which will continue to complement evolving interior decor. Completely recyclable, the materials will be a combination of 30% recycled plastic packaging and 70% recycled coffee grounds – goods that would otherwise go to landfill. The aim is for the table to have a minimal environmental footprint: it will be shipped flat-packed; one-ninth of its full size to reduce transportation emissions, and assembled in a simple three-step process.

Name: Zach Morgan
Location: LA
Project proposal: Sombra Umbrella

A designer of environments, places and products, who focuses on carefully crafted spatial narratives, Zach Morgan is an expert in tangible experiential design. With his work sitting at the intersection of architecture, interactive design and narrative storytelling, his proposed project is the Sombra Umbrella in collaboration with Sean Burke. This piece is based around a simple enhancement of the umbrella, a product mankind has been using for millennia.

When open, the umbrella will function as a typical umbrella, but will also absorb solar energy through small, flexible solar cells woven into the recycled tarpaulin fabric. When the sun goes down, the Sombra uses stored energy that it has absorbed to power carefully concealed LED lights on its post, providing both lighting for immediate dining and illumination for surrounding pathways. When closed, the form of the Sombra calls on design cues from the early days of Los Angeles' Art Deco era.