Belmond selects next big name in design for exclusive 2020 project

Belmond has named Brighton School of Art graduate Laila Laurel as the ‘Belmond New Designer’ for 2019, marking her out as ‘one to watch’ in the field of design.

The coveted prize, now in its second year, will kick-start Laurel’s career with the opportunity to collaborate with the design-led luxury travel brand on an exclusive design brief that will see Laurel’s work feature in one of Belmond’s world-renowned properties. Belmond, part of the world’s leading luxury group LVMH, has a portfolio of iconic hotels, trains, safaris and river cruises that includes the Belmond Hotel Cipriani in Venice, the Belmond Cadogan Hotel in London, and the legendary Venice Simplon-Orient-Express that journeys between the two.

Laurel was selected from 3,000 exhibitors currently displaying their work as part of the annual New Designers event – a showcase of the brightest new creatives from across the UK – at the Business Design Centre in Islington this week. The judging panel were looking for a stand-out talent with a clear point of view and a unique story.

With purpose-driven design an emerging theme, Laurel’s approach of using her furniture and designs to explore her interest in feminism particularly caught the judges’ attention: they identified with her exploration into how design can alter a space, inform behaviour and address topics of social relevance.

Joe Ferry, Art & Design Director at Belmond said:

“Great design is integral to the beauty of our hotels and being able to champion breakthrough talent of the calibre that we have seen at New Designers this year is central to this philosophy. I am excited about what we will create with Laila, whose originality and conviction really stood out today. Her designs have a clear narrative and highlight how furniture and objects can powerfully affect how we feel. This is something that resonates with our brand, which is all about creating exceptional experiences for our guests through genuine service and thoughtful, thought-provoking design.”

After being named Belmond New Designer 2019, Laila Laurel added:

“I want my work to be interactive and fun, but also to serve a wider role, beyond the aesthetic. The experience of men and women in the course of every-day life can differ greatly in subtle but impactful ways. I believe that design today has a part to play in bringing issues of social importance to the fore and starting a conversation that can lead to change. I am so pleased that Belmond has acknowledged my work and that I will have the opportunity to work with them on a brand new project in 2020.”

As part of her prize Laurel will receive a cash bursary, and a commission to design a one off piece to be manufactured and displayed in one of Belmond’s 46 properties extending across 24 countries. This prestigious opportunity aims to not only provide exposure for the designer within a high-end luxury market, but also valuable experience of the design process in a commercial environment: from prototype to production.

The Belmond award has already helped to launch the careers of two young designers, Mac Collins and Toni Packham, who were joint winners of the 2018 Belmond Award and returned to the event to join the judging panel for this year’s Belmond Award.

Following their win last year, both have collaborated with the in-house design team at Belmond over the past twelve months to bring new designs to life. The designs will be unveiled imminently at the newly refurbished historic Belmond Cadogan Hotel, which reopened earlier this year.

Speaking about what winning the Belmond Award has meant, Mac Collins said:

“Following on from winning the Belmond Award at New Designers 2018, I have had a very busy year, working on a number of exciting projects, winning a number of awards, and returning to New Designers for their ‘One Year On’ showcase. Getting to work with Belmond on a commercial commission over the last 12 months has been so valuable and the whole experience has given my career real momentum. I am looking forward to showing more of my new work in the coming year.”

Toni Packham added:

“As someone just starting out in their design career, New Designers was a great platform to gain exposure and experience. Winning the Belmond Award has given my career as a designer real impetus – I have had the opportunity to discuss my work on TV and bring my sustainable commitment in design to a wider audience, my work has been exhibited in Brussels and also at the Saint-Étienne International Design Biennale, and I’ve got some exciting opportunities on the horizon. A year on from the award, it is incredible to think that my designs will soon be used by the guests at Belmond Cadogan, and I’m looking forward to the projects that lie ahead.”