Since the onset of the Industrial Revolution, England has been at the forefront of the international design discussion and very much a battle ground for two distinct subsets of the design realm—craft and industrial manufacture. It was, after all, at London’s International Exhibition of 1851 that much of the world was first introduced to the capabilities of industry—and it was the Ruskins and Morrisses of the same era who first championed craft not just as a means to an end but as an antidote to the pitfalls and evils of mass-production. Although this seemingly perpetual war between the handmade and the manufactured has now spread across the globe, the design world’s eyes are yet again trained on England, and for good reason. The country seems to be undergoing another countrywide craft revival, with a slew of fresh new faces taking on the “Design Reform” mantle. In 2012, a group of design professionals—Catherine Lock, Natalie Melton, and Mark Henderson—formed The New Craftsmen, an online shop that seeks to put all of these unique and forward-thinking voices into one place. With a stunning brick-and-mortar shop opened in London this year, The New Craftsmen has in many ways become a hub for this ongoing movement—a conduit to the country’s top makers and a shop-able museum that speaks as much to England’s craft history as it does to its ongoing influence.
Today, The New Craftsmen shop will begin showcasing what they have dubbed “commission drawers,” tiny installations of the materials, prototypes, sketches, and tools necessary for creating design. Each drawer has been curated by a New Craftsmen designer, both a portal into the creator’s mind and a physical record of his or her process. Check out all of the photos of this beautiful space, plus some examples of this new project, after the jump! —Max
The New Craftsmen is located at 34 North Row in Mayfair, London. Photographs by Gareth Hacker.