The digital worldmight seem antithetical to that of craft; aesthetically speaking,computer-generated design often looks cold and clinical compared with thewarmth and personality of handcrafted pieces. Yet a new fashion and homeware e-commerce site, Dsigndot, sees the two as complementary, even mutuallybeneficial. Indeed, it takes advantage of the internet’s potential to showcaseand champion experimental, limited-edition or one-off work.
Some of thedesigners featured on the site actually fuse digital design and craft. Forexample, Chinese-born Zhang Zhoujie digitally produces stainless-steeltriangles, which he hand-assembles to make his gleaming, futuristic chairs(first picture, £2,800). Similarly, Liam Hopkins’ geometric Vega lampshade (£240) is laser-cutand hand-folded.
Dsigndot is thebrainchild of architects and designers Swati Sharma and Kevin McClellan. Bothonce worked with Zaha Hadid, while Sharma has also developed products for Swarovski.Their passion for avant-garde, truly individual design inspired them to set up Dsigndot. “Many sites dedicated to design seem too commercial and unexciting,”they say. “Yet the internet is a great way to introduce people to fresh ideasand possibilities globally.”
Dsigndotcertainly does that. And, with its designers egged on to push boundaries, theirwares are often wonderfully outlandish. Take Alidra Alic’s resin and silverrings that sprout gigantic, astoundingly naturalistic blooms – orchids (right in second picture), arum lilies (left in second picture), irisesand hyacinths (all price on request). Then there are Atalanta Weller’sextravagantly conceptual “is it a sculpture or a shoe?” creations, such as hertowering Big Shoes wedges (available from late February) – yes, Lady Gagais a customer – although her Kili spike-heel shoes with a chic zigzag-printstrap (third picture, £400) are eminently wearable. Meanwhile, Hadid’s and fellow architect PatrikSchumacher’s high-gloss black table with a partly hollow top (price on request) exploresthe limits of functionality.
One of Dsigndot’scriteria when picking pieces is that they should have a use. Yet, admit Sharma and McClellan, “in many cases, we simply fall for the fanciful andthought provoking”.