Designers in Residence 2019: Cosmic

Explore fat as a valuable resource for the future, the 'wonder material' graphene, rethinking the use of salt as building material and redesigning the maternity process with projects from new and emerging design talent.

The Designers in Residence programme at the Design Museum is a core part of the museum's activity, supporting emerging designers, from any discipline, with time and space away from their regular environment to reflect, research and consider new ways of developing their practice.

Following their eight-month residency, explore the finished projects in a collective showcase of their work on display until Sunday 10 May 2020.


Stiliyana Minkovska

Ultima Thule

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Marta Giralt


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Mále Uribe Forés

Salt Imaginaries

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Robert Johnson


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2019 Theme

Theme: Cosmic

This year's designers were encouraged to interpret the theme Cosmic as openly as possible.

The growing ambition to reach Mars – explored in the Design Museum's Moving to Mars exhibition - has opened a debate about the human colonisation of untouched planets. This cosmic scale of activity brings design into contact with science, ecology and the supernatural, and raises questions about what it means to be human.

Today designers are engaged in shaping life at every scale, from the micro to the macro. At one end of the spectrum, they use gene editing software and synthetic biology to develop biological parts and systems. At the other end, designers are working with scientists to address planetary scale problems, such as designing for the Anthropocene. As we become more aware of the indelible impact of humans on earth and the cataclysmic effects of climate change, we are also accelerating into space exploration.

What could we learn from the rigours of surviving in an inhospitable environment like Mars, that might inform living sustainably on Earth in the future? The museum’s Moving to Mars exhibition demonstrates that designers are actively questioning the means by which these planetary and interplanetary issues are identified and addressed. In recognition of this, the Design Museum chose ‘Cosmic’ as the theme for the 2019 Designers in Residence programme.


Designers in Residence Showcase

Free - 25 January 2020 - 10 May 2020

Explore four exciting and innovative design projects developed by this year’s talented cohort of designers.

Transformed from a working studio into a designated exhibition space, the showcase breathes new life into the museum and demonstrates the way design can respond to society in real time.

Mále Uribe Forés invites you to re-imagine salt as a precious material based on her research in the Atacama Desert in Chile. Explore the installation of sound, light and salt architectural surfaces.

Marta Giralt makes seeing the microscopic, 'wonder material' graphene possible and presents possible uses for it in the fields of science and technology.

Robert Johnson gives value to the fat waste produced in commercial kitchens across London in his 'Fatconomy'. Enter his take-away shop display to discover more.

Stiliyana Minkovska has designed three chairs to create an alternative and supportive birthing environment for mothers and children during childbirth.

Meet the residents

Mále Uribe Forés

After studying architecture in Chile, Mále went on to complete an MA in Information Experience Design at the RCA.

Marta Giralt

With a background in fashion design Marta has always been fascinated by the possibilities that materials offer the design sector. A recent graduate from Central St Martins MA Material Futures course, Marta will be using the residency to demystify the universe of nanotechnology.

Robert Johnson

Originally studying illustration and graphics Robert decided to expand his practice by completing an MFA in Social Design at Design Academy Eindhoven. For the residency Robert will examine materials that could be reformatted and revalued.

Stiliyana Minkovska

An RCA graduate with a background in architecture, Stiliyana will use the residency to challenge society’s perspective on child birth exploring how we can make the experience more human centred.

Last year

Designers in Residence 2018

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Related exhibition

Moving to Mars

The journey to the Red Planet has become one of the great challenges of our time. Through immersive recreations and new commissions, discover how every detail of this extraordinary mission must be designed.