2008 Talent zone. A Review

2008's Talent Zone at Tent London saw a significantly decreased number of exhibitors than in previous years. The 15 lucky graduates were hand picked by Tent London and Dezeen to exhibit free at the exhibition. The limited selection left little room for the functional furniture pieces many expected. Instead, the initial impression was that of design art. Many of the designs are decorative products, expressing concepts most commonly seen in contemporary art. Themes of death, bone and sin replaced those of functionality.

Having said this, "Talent Zone" spoke for itself. The level of work displayed was truly exceptional. The graduates have impressive portfolios and their level of thought, professionalism and technical ability were well rewarded. It would be no surprise to see Andrew Ross and his Bone Project follow in the successful footsteps of Julia Lohmann, and Samuel Rhoads-Clarke's kit radio, bridging the gap between art and the digital product.

Despite being disappointed not to see a broader selection of designs over the thousands of recent graduates, the use of materials and technology were truly innovative, giving the exhibition great integrity. Perhaps the artistic, conceptual approach is what the design industry needs: to follow this example and experiment. Find new materials, new methods and make objects that challenge pre-conceived expectation. Let's hope this year's Talent Zone lives up.