Modern Design Review


Modern Design Review covers the best of the product, people and theory at the effervescent tip of contemporary design. The publication offers a considered and curated insight into modern design: original and creative storytelling, plus plenty of contributions from talented photographers, writers and designers sets Modern Design Review apart. We choose to focus on ideas and themes that interest us, whether they are central or peripheral, and we are committed to exploring modern design with the creativity and curiosity that the discipline deserves.


The Incredible House of Cards
London Design Festival
September 2019

For our second collaboration with Swedish design brand Hem, we introduced the Incredible House of Cards by Bertjan Pot. We asked Bertjan to consider the idea of a ‘decorative accessory’ for us and, like all the items in this growing collection of works, the emphasis has been on the creation of an expressive object that is characteristic of the designer’s ethos and way of working. The Incredible House of Cards is a modular sculpture with a simple assembly method. It is a purposefully playful object by Pot who reflected on the abstract and wholly personal nature of ornaments. The Incredible House of Cards is at once familiar; a riff on the traditional house built of playing cards, and unfamiliar; a graphic sculpture-cum-optical illusion. The Incredible House of Cards has been produced using Colorplan paper from Britain’s foremost paper-maker and merchant; G.F Smith. A signed limited edition of 100 sets, each with a unique colourway, was launched during London Design Festival and we produced a film by Roel Van Tour to explain the product.

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Milan Design Week
April 2019

Modern Design Review’s collaboration with Swedish design brand Hem sees us curate and present a collection of decorative accessories from independent designers. The works explore the idea of decoration itself, studio-production and collectability. A series of products will be curated by ourselves and launched by Hem throughout 2019 at different international events. The first is the Superscene ceramic collection from John Booth and Ian McIntyre, collaborating as Supergroup. These signed, limited edition ceramic sculptures are a reflection on the idea of ornamentation. The 3 pieces each explore familiar techniques of ceramic ornament; hand painting is applied to the rainbow in a typically dynamic style by Booth, textural glaze is decoration enough for the cloud whilst a range of dipped and brushed glazes cover the flowers. The pieces are oversized and impactful, playful and designed to give pleasure; a bold and joyful declaration of decoration.

London Design Festival
15–23 September 2018

PlasticScene was an ambitious exhibition, curated in collaboration with designer James Shaw, for the 2018 London Design festival. The show aims to demonstrate the innovative and exciting works being made in waste plastics by a new generation of studio-based designers. These designers have turned their ingenuity and creativity towards this curious, complex and newly-abundant family of materials, developing innovative, experimental, sometimes necessarily ad-hoc, methods of working with it. They have embraced its inherent qualities of plasticity, strength and tactility and approached it with a sense of curiosity and optimism, rather than obligation. PlasticScene sought to elevate the perception of waste plastic, presenting it not just as a material to be feared but one to be embraced, explored and enjoyed. The exciting methods of manufacture and suggested aesthetic directions presented are important starting points and inspirations for a necessary wider use of waste plastics. The exhibition included a Plastics Library and Plastics Archive.

PlasticScene featured works (including new designs commissioned for the show) from: Wendy Andreu, Studio ilio, Dirk Vander Kooij, Max Lamb, Shahar Livne, M-L-XL, Kim Markel, Chris Pearce, Jorge Penadés, James Shaw, Silo Studio, Soft Baroque, Thing Thing, Chen Chen & Kai Williams.

Making Beautiful Things – Modern Design Review

Making Beautiful Things

British design brand Pinch had long avoided talking about the process behind their beautifully made products. The challenge they set us was to produce a brand book that spoke truthfully and insightfully about their way of working but that simultaneously avoided any of the common clichés surrounding this type of craft-led production. We worked with photographer Samuel Bradley and art director Robbie Mahoney to produce a concept for a book that used reportage B&W photography and prose-style copy, making a timeless and personal chronicle of one small design studio’s remarkable way of working.

Evergreen – Modern Design Review

Ace Hotel Shoreditch, London
1 December 2017 – 10 January 2018

When Ace Hotel Shoreditch invited us to make their 2017 Christmas Tree, we chose to do something a little different. Inspired by the natural beauty of spruce trees in the wild, we commissioned an original film from Sebastian Ziegler, a talented film-maker based in Iceland, to take the place of a traditional tree. We wanted to bring the unadorned natural beauty of a spruce tree into the busy lobby of the hotel. Our film was a portrait of a single tree and the beautiful but harsh landscape it inhabits. Evergreen, the resulting 12 minute film, was played on a loop in the hotel lobby throughout the festive period.

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Ready Made Go
Ace Hotel London

For four years, Modern Design Review has produced Ready Made Go at Ace Hotel London Shoreditch. The project sees us commission and make a series of objects for this busy London hotel. This is a unique project that addresses the challenges of making products and provides an all-too-rare opportunity to design and make products with real purpose. Each year we commission the objects, they are made, launched during the London Design Festival each year and then, crucially, they are put into permanent use by the hotel. Modern Design Review carefully curates a team of both established and up-and-coming designers to make everything from everyday objects such as hundreds of soap dishes and wall hooks to large installations like a gymnasium climbing wall or art installation. Over the course of the project, 23 different objects have been made and are currently in use at Ace Hotel London.

Designers commissioned: Philippe Malouin, studio vit, Hilda Hellström, Tomás Alonso, Marcin Rusak, Parsha Gerayesh, Assemble Studio, Jochen Holz, Patternity, Silo Studio, Toogood, Kellenberger White, Michael Marriott, Soft Baroque, James Shaw, Oscar Diaz, Ian McIntyre, Laetitia De Allegri, WD-DP, M-L-XL, Minimalux, Abigail Booth.


Modern Design Review – Issue 3

Issue 3

Featuring an extensive contemplation on the qualities of clay, including homage to Bernard Leach by Max Lamb and a look at Industrial Ceramics by Marius Hansen. A focus on the intimacy of cutlery design, exclusive access to Piet Oudolf’s private garden and a readers gift from the king of design fun, Bertjan Pot.

Publishing December 2019

Modern Design Review – Issue 2

Issue 2

Issue 2 pushed our buttons with on/off design, celebrated ‘soft’ with a section on textile and featured an original story by Ronan Bouroullec on comfort. We rejoiced at the work of Andrea Branzi and matched Wonmin Park’s hazy colour theory.

Modern Design Review – Issue 2

Issue 1

The inaugural issue of Modern Design Review shone a light on the wonderful work of YrjöKukkapuro. We placed Martino Gamper’s work inside Mackintosh’s Glasgow School of Art for an Arts and Crafts showdown and invited Daniel Rybakken to tell us the story of his dedication to light. See our film from the magical Sogetsu school Ikebana on Nowness.

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Catalogue for A Boundless World

A Boundless World Catalogue

This 110 page book presents the Expressive Proverbs collection of 100 plates by designer Attua Aparicio Torinos. Each unique plate shown in 1:1 scale, making this catalogue a genuine representation of this impressive and exhaustive ceramic collection. With introduction by Laura Houseley.

Vessels by studio vit

Vessels is a new collection from studio vit that comprises handmade tabletop objects in crystal glass and bone china. Each piece is unique, varying slightly in shape and thickness. The collection consists of three glasses and two carafes in crystal glass, two cups and a jug in bone china. The crystal glass is as thin as possible, challenging what is possible to achieve with the material whilst the bone china is delicate, reminiscent of eggshell. The Vessels are purposefully light and fine, emphasising a closeness to the liquid which heightens the experience of drinking. Prices: £36 for a set of two white or red glasses, carafe £36 and £40. Tea cup £34, coffee cup £28, milk jug £38.

Please email us to purchase.

Beam by Silo Studio

The Beam products by Silo Studio are being sold exclusively by Modern Design Review. These clever objects are made from off-the-shelf industrial I Beam which is put through a minimum of processes (cut, drilled, tumbled) to make either a soap dish or a candlestick holder. The candleholders come in three sizes. Prices: Soap dish £35, single candlestick £25, large single candlestick £35, large double candlestick £40.

Please email us to purchase.


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Editor-in-Chief: Laura Houseley
Art Direction and Design: Graphic Thought Facility