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The Collective Class


Left to right, back row: Meret Probst, Max Formmeld, Helena Karelsen, Oscar Wanless, Norie Matsumoto, Charlotte Kingsnorth, Dafi Reis Doron, Josh Bitelli, Tom Gottlier, Jungin Lee. Front row: Kim Thome, Lola Lely, Attua Aparicio, Ejing Zhang.  

Based in: London

Lola Lely’s Patina candlesticks.   

“There are so many of us, with our fingers in so many pies,” says Lola Lely, a founding member of the cadre of recent Royal College of Art graduates known as the Works collective. The group’s twenty-odd twentysomethings include textile, product, and graphic designers who all run independent practices but meet up to share resources and plan events, like a recent window installation at Christie’s. “These days, it’s not always the case that you graduate and get a job or design a product and hope it will get manufactured,” explains Lely. “Those models aren’t working anymore. We’re finding new ways to create opportunities for ourselves.” One such opportunity came about during September’s London Design Festival, when design curator Ambra Medda scooped up several of their pieces for her new online store, L’ArcoBaleno. Works has also been invited to take over the ground floor of Heal’s, one of London’s biggest and oldest home-furnishing stores, this coming February—a feat its individual members would have been unlikely to achieve on their own. Working with young designers might ordinarily be a risk for such an established retailer, suggests Lely, but teaming up with a collective offers an added bonus. “Department stores know that if people are going to spend money, they want something different, something extra. So that’s where collectives like ours come in.”


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