About & Contact

Design Exhibition Scotland showcases exceptional objects & ideas for the everyday. Launched in 2018 by Susanna Beaumont, DES is an ambitious champion of the resolutely contemporary. We celebrate & support experimentation, excellence and exploration, making visible through debate, exhibitions, conversation and commissions, the energetic brilliance of the many designers, makers and artists working across Scotland today.

Earlier this year DES made its debut at London Design Festival | Brompton Design District with Design for Our Times, a showcase of material innovation. On 3 December Design for Our Times will open at V&A Dundee. Design for Our Times is supported by the National Lottery through Creative Scotland.

Get in touch | Find out more – please email Susanna Beaumont.

DES 2018 – Andrew Miller’s sculptural sitting Refraction & Terrace and Rachel Adams’ tie-dyed linen wall-hanging, Elevation. Lyon & Turnbull Edinburgh

Design Exhibition Scotland has curated two showcases: DES 2018 and DES 2019 – arguably the most thorough recent surveys of contemporary design objects in Scotland. Designers & artists included Harry Morgan, Derek Welsh, Chalk Plaster, Steff Norwood, Bernie Reid, Frances Priest, James Rigler, Rachel Adams, c.a. walac, Arrange Whatever Pieces Come Your Way & Andrew Miller. Integral to the exhibitions were DES Debates which brought together designers, makers, artists & academics to share new perspectives & possibilities. In April 2020, to further fuel debate & raise the visibility of contemporary design we launched DES, a new online journal & a series of Studio Visits via Zoom.

Becky Šik Untitled, 2019, powder coated steel, lacquered steel exhibited at DES 2019
Bad Furniture (Laura Aldridge & James Rigler) Proposal for a drinking fountain (outside) 2019. Digital print on aluminium & glazed ceramic. Commissioned by Design Exhibition Scotland.

Key to DES’s vitality is that we work closely with designers to support ambition & a sense of adventure. We coax ambition and encourage collaboration & through commissions, we bring to fruition new ideas & explore fresh ways to think about everyday objects & materials. In 2019, we commissioned artist Tania Kovats and collaborators Laura Aldridge and James Rigler to design thoroughly contemporary drinking fountains. In 2018 we commissioned Andrew Miller to design Terrace, a brilliant sculptural seating composition and Rachel Adams to create Elevation, a vast tie-dyed linen wall hanging. And designer Namon Gaston and upholsterer, Peter Holmes who had long discussed working together were spurred on by DES to produce their Oxbow Lounge Chair, which was later awarded a prestigious Design Guild Mark by The Furniture Makers’ Company, London in 2019.

And importantly through our exhibitions, we introduce a wide audience to new design. DES 2018 saw the debut of Alice Jacobs‘, designer at Flux in Glasgow, Utility Stacker chair. Perfectly plain and made from FSC-certified birch plywood, the Stacker caught the eye of the public agency, Architecture & Design Scotland. This led to Jacobs being commissioned by Our Lady of Missions primary school in East Renfrewshire to design and produce a range of site and needs-specific furniture. The result was a brilliant, bespoke and cost-effective local alternative to ‘standard issue’ school furniture. Flux is now working with numerous primary schools across Scotland.

Flux’s Utility Stacker & Carver, 2018 exhibited at DES 2018. Flux was later commissioned to create bespoke furniture for schools after the work was seen by Architecture & Design Scotland.

Namon Gaston and Peter Holmes Oxbow Lounge Chair 2018 European oak, handwoven fabric by Mourne Textiles (left) American black walnut, handwoven fabric by Eleanor Pritchard (right). The chair was awarded a Design Guild Mark 2019.

Supporting DES

DES 2018 & DES 2019 were supported by Creative Scotland Open Project fund, DES Supporters & numerous organisations. Huge thanks to you all.

DES Supporters play an indispensable role in giving impetus and fuel to Design Exhibition Scotland. An informal gathering of individuals and organisations, DES Supporters spur innovation, excellence and exploration in design.

Campbell Armour & Angus McLeod; Claude Badion & James Robinson; Gameeda Barnard; Mollie Beaumont; John Bute; Rob Bruce & Fiona Burnett; Christina Chaplin; Sophie Crichton Stuart; Dolly Dean; Rosanna Forbes; Robin Hardie; Pete Irvine; Diana & Charlie McMicking; Jacqui & George Morris; Imogen Reed; Lucy Stanistreet; Stella Tennant; Timorous Beasties; Philippa & Neil Woodcock and those who wish to remain anonymous.

Photography Ruth Clark