Image for Young, gifted and green. The ‘green grads’ designing the future

Young, gifted and green. The ‘green grads’ designing the future

A project is giving a timely boost to talented, eco-minded design graduates

A project is giving a timely boost to talented, eco-minded design graduates

As a warm glow filters through, the tropical orange and pink hues of these hanging blinds suggest a confident, high-end design aesthetic. They’re also made from old Sainsbury’s carrier bags.

Their designer, Alice Coomber, who graduated from the University of Brighton last year with a BA in 3D design and craft, wove them from waste polyethylene to raise awareness of the long-term environmental impact of microplastics.

“It’s often the tiniest particles that have the power to create problematic issues of an overwhelming scale,” she told Positive News.

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Coomber is one of the 150 or so talented graduates of UK universities to be featured on the Green Grads platform. Now in its third year, it showcases graduates whose final projects tackle eco-issues such as sustainability, circular production, waste and pollution, biophilia and biodiversity. Other projects so far have included a new material from waste denim, and torches and lights from discarded vapes.

The not-for-profit project was founded by design writer Barbara Chandler in 2021, being quickly joined in running it by exhibition director Michael Czerwinski. Graduates come from a wide range of disciplines, including art, engineering, furniture design, textiles, ceramics, glass, fashion, illustration and architecture.

Chandler has financed the project via a clutch of forward-thinking industry sponsors. And her aim? To identify, promote and enable a new generation of UK eco-activists, linking them with manufacturers, design practices, shops, galleries and with the public. The main route is via exhibitions: shows so far have taken place during London Design Festivals and at Grand Designs Live, and at the GreenGrads Hub in the Heal’s department store in London.

Coomber reported feeling a growing sense of excitement after the Heal’s exhibition “from conversations I had with the other exhibitors and visitors who shared our interest in preserving the planet”.

Main image: Barbara Chandler / @sunnygran

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