About & Contact

Design Exhibition Scotland celebrates exceptional objects & ideas for the everyday. We champion the energetic brilliance of the many designers, makers and artists working across Scotland today. We encourage adventurous thinking, experimentation, excellence and exploration, and through debate, exhibitions, conversation and commissions, we make visible the vitality of contemporary design to a wide audience. 

Founded in 2018 by Susanna Beaumont, DES has since presented two showcases of contemporary design, hosted a programme of online talks; launched DES, an occasional online journal & commissioned a series of park benches and drinking fountains. In 2021 DES made its debut at London Design Festival | Brompton Design District with Design for Our Times, a celebration of material innovation. The exhibition travelled on in expanded form to V&A Dundee in 2022. Last summer in a collaboration with Mount Stuart House on the Isle of Bute, we commissioned a series of park benches for the gardens. The prototype benches were later shown at V&A Dundee. One of DES’s ongoing projects, is commissioning drinking fountains. In 2019 we worked with artist Tania Kovats on WELL, a tiled fountain which was later acquired by the UK Government Art Collection. In 2022 we installed Dixon a drinking fountain by Mirrl of Glasgow, as part of Brompton Design Week / London Design Festival and earlier this year we permanently installed Dixon, in the University of Dundee’s Botanic Garden.

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

Chris Dobson’s Monolith in the grounds of Mount Stuart on the Isle of Bute. Inspired by the Brutalist bus shelters found on the Isle of Lewis and the Orkney Chair, Chris’s bench was fabricated by BE-ST, using the cross-laminated-timber. Image Keith Hunter. 

Dixon drinking by Mirrl of Glasgow, commissioned by Design Exhibition Scotland installed at Vitra Design Museum, Germany as part of the touring exhibition Plastic: Remaking our World. Image Charlotte Hale

DES 2018 – Andrew Miller’s sculptural sitting Refraction & Terrace and Rachel Adams’ tie-dyed linen wall-hanging, Elevation at 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 MorganDerek WelshChalk PlasterSteff NorwoodBernie ReidFrances PriestJames RiglerRachel Adamsc.a. walacArrange Whatever Pieces Come Your Way & Andrew Miller. Integral to the exhibitions were DES Debateswhich 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 Gastonand 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.

DES Debates 2019 at Lyon & Turnbull – James Rigler, Tania Kovats, Susanna Beaumont, Frances Priest & Tessa Lynch in conversation. Wall hanging by Bernie Reid. 

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 & Design for Our Times 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.

We welcome new DES Supporters . . please get in touch with Susanna to find out more. 

Photography Ruth Clark