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Student’s Eden Project inspired collection shortlisted for national design award

(L-R) Katherine Taylor, Naomi Ison, & Sophie Smith who also entered the competition

A Loughborough University student has been shortlisted for a national award which recognises design talent across the country.

Anastazia Hadjiyiakoumi (pictured above) was selected from hundreds of entries by a panel of experts and will showcase her project at the New Design Britain Awards - one of the UK’s most definitive interiors exhibitions.

Anastazia, who studies Textiles: Innovation and Design at the School of the Arts, secured her place as a finalist in the ‘fabrics’ category with her woven design entitled Eden. Commencing work at the start of the university year, Anastazia has been dedicated to the research and development of her project and attributes the inspiration for her collection to The Eden Project in Cornwall.

I was really excited by the bold colours and natural forms seen in the plants and flowers of the tropical and Mediterranean gardens,” she said. “I was fascinated by the contrast between the large-scale manmade structure of the biodomes and the natural worlds inside them. I have tried to explore this fusion of geometric pattern and structure, with wild florals through the use of vibrant colours and interesting material combinations in order to create a dynamic collection of woven interior fabrics.” 

The 22-year-old spent three weeks applying different techniques and yarn combinations to create her woven fabrics on the loom, which involved hundreds of threads being individually threaded through the heddles to achieve the desired effect. She also spent a couple of days dyeing the yarns in a variety of colours. 

Anastazia said: “It’s incredible to think that industry professionals have seen my work and see something in it that could have potential within a commercial market - this is really exciting. To have the chance to go to the May Design Series and display my collection and to meet people from the industry is such a great opportunity.

"As for the future, I am quite open-minded. I will be looking to see what different opportunities arise and where they may take me, but, I definitely would like to be in a creative environment where I can utilise the skills I have developed throughout my time at university.” 

Anastazia’s tutor Jan Shenton added: “To the best of my knowledge, it is the first time that a student on the Textiles: Innovation and Design course has entered the competition and consequently, the first time anyone has been shortlisted. It is a prestigious competition and I am delighted that Anastazia has been selected for the next stage.” 

Winners for the New Design Britain Awards will be judged and announced on Monday 18 May at May Design Series 2015 at London’s ExCeL.  

Meanwhile, fellow Textiles: Innovation and Design students Naomi Ison and Katherine Taylor, have achieved success at the Midlands regional heat of the annual Society of Dyers and Colourists’ International Design Competition. Naomi was awarded first place with her design ‘Cumbria in colour’. The judges were impressed with her ‘interpretation of her natural concept, beautiful use of colour, and clean textures so evocative of the landscape’. Naomi will represent the Midlands region at the UK final of the competition ‘Buy less, choose well’ on Wednesday 13 May. 

Katherine, who came second, was praised for her ‘intelligent, innovative and creative concept and use of natural colour’. The judges felt her approach, use of materials, upcycling and zero waste attitude ‘was very true to herself.’