Helen Stevens/SurfacePhilia - Reports on Curate 40 at LDW for Arts Thread.
Curate 40 was created by designer and creative director Pacharapong Suntanaphan in December 2009, and was set up in order to help support and promote skilled designers and their products. The organisation identifies and uses key emerging trends to inspire and curate the direction of show. At this year’s London Design Festival the theme was Print and Illustration, over 40 designers were represented through a ‘Minimart’ held in a pop-up space on Redchurch Street, London. We caught up with Creative director Pacharapong, through a quick Q&A he tells us a little more about his vision for the business:
How long have you been running Curate40 for?
Curate40 is still very fresh. I started Curate40 in December 2009.
What was your initial reasoning for setting up Curate40?
I have always felt that most creative’s (graduates or professionals) are not very good at turning their passion into a business and there isn't enough support out there to make them understand their potential. As a result, I've decided that someone should take the initiative to show them that there are so many more opportunities out there if you know how to find them. Hence, the birth of Curate40.
For your showcasing collective, do you hand pick the designers yourself or is it open submission?
I do a combination of inviting designers to take part as well as open submission. This allows for a bigger variety of work beyond my research as well as opening up new opportunities for quality designers and their products from all over the world.
We are always open to suggestions. Our main goal is to curate a strong coherent show, so if the work fits then we will be happy to take up otherwise we will keep their contacts for any future projects.
The Curate40 show is based on future trends within design, what was this year’s theme and how different is your event to other shows going on throughout London Design Festival?
For 2010, Curate40 focuses on the ever growing trend of 'Print and Illustrations'. The show concentrates on bringing a range of work from affordable objects to conceptual designs that visitors can really connect with. Our event is different to most shows in a sense that it is much more intimate and very approachable. We encourage visitors to interact with the work and the best bit is you can purchase the show pieces and take them home with you!
Did you have any previous experience of curating before LDF this year?
I have personally been taking part in the London Design Festival the past 5 years through other events. It's only been the past 2 years that I have taken on an active role in curating shows and promoting the hidden gems of design.
What has been the response to this year’s show? Has it attracted a certain type of customer?
We have had such an amazing response. We had over 2000 visitors through our little rugged door in just 7 days from designers, buyers, retailers, press, to international visitors. You just cannot tell who is going to visit.
Due to the current climate, have you noticed tightened spending at this year’s event?
Not at all, we had amazing sales throughout the week, but as it is design week you can never really judge it properly.
Do you run events at any other time of the year?
We focus on running satellite projects and can vary massively from one to the other to keep everything dynamic. For instance, we worked with Clarion Events to launch 12 designers at ‘Pulse London’ trade show in June. We are also currently in the process of setting up a project with Urban Outfitters, Original Metalbox Company and many more.
Are you a designer yourself?
Yes I am. My background is in ceramics, but I also design a varied of things and also work as freelance designer in a variety of fields from design, trends to art direction.
So as a designer and creative director, do you have any words of advice for new talent who are wishing to set up in businesses?
One of the most important things I've learnt is that you make your own luck. There are lots of opportunities around you, but it's just a matter of whether you choose to invest in it or not. A creative path is not a straight forward path, but more like a spider web. You will most likely be doing a variety of things before you end up where you want to be, so do not feel discouraged by any obstacle as it provides you with experiences and confidence to reach your goal.