Fresh faced and fancy free (his designs celebrate simplicity and functionality), Aaron Dunkerton is a graduate Product & Furniture Design student from Kingston University and a particularly talented one at that. Aaron is the creator of the innovative clotheshorse design to be found hanging in Jigsaw stores as part of our Laundry campaign. His innovative airer is an example of how the mundane can be transformed into the magnificent and we are incredibly proud to be one of his first customers. Here, Aaron expands on who he admires in the design world, how he tackles the creative process and what it’s like to work with Jigsaw…
Aaron, how do you describe what you do?
Product and furniture design is designing day-to-day objects. Anything from a piece of cutlery to a bed to a walking stick – it can be something really functional like a drill or something as simple as a hook or a paperclip. There’s definitely an element of problem solving with what I do, I can sit for ages puzzling over things but that’s just part of the creative process.
How did your clotheshorse design develop into what hangs in our windows?
It was an intelligent making project in my second year of Uni where I was looking at space and how to utilise it in the home. I did loads of research, visiting homes and observing living habits. I noticed a real trend in the lack of space for drying clothes; people scatter them all over and often don’t have room for airers. They would have them poking out from under beds or behind tables because they’re normally that awkward shape. So I was like, ‘how can I make this thing smaller and how can I make something that looks so unattractive look better?’ I wanted to make something new and sat puzzling and thinking until it came to me to create it in a circle. It collapses much smaller so it can be put away in a cupboard – hidden when it needs to be. It has more drying space than a traditional clotheshorse and the way the clothes are spread out you get more aeration and they dry more quickly. It’s a balance of something beautiful and functional.
Which of your designs have you been most proud of?
I’m a bit of a bird fan, I find Ornithology fascinating, especially all kinds of garden birds. So in my final year I created these bricks that build into the side of a house to help with sparrow and bird conservation. I really like that design because it’s so close to my heart.
Your creations are remarkable, are you happy with the final designs?
My clotheshorse is the first design that has been produced in any kind of quantity and while I’m happy, you can always look at something and think ‘this could be improved’. That said, where one part could be changed another element is then affected so you really have to find a balance. For me, it’s all about being honest with my design. I’m not one for making something look like it is something, for me it has to be what you see. I believe function can be beautiful in itself sometimes so that’s what I’m trying to do.
Can you offer any pearls of wisdom to anyone in your industry exploring a similar career path?
Keep going and never give up. After studying lots of people have lost motivation but just surround yourself with people who have drive and help each other out. You also have to put yourself online. Jigsaw actually found my design through Pinterest. An article in The Zine was pinned and you know, before that article my airer was an unknown product nobody knew about. Now I get a few people approach each day asking to buy a clotheshorse which is amazing.
Who are your favourite designers?
This is a really hard question! I work two jobs and find both areas fascinating. Glithero do lovely bespoke gallery pieces, their stuff is absolutely beautiful and they are all about the process of getting and achieving final finish. I also work for SCP who are retail based and I think constantly being around people who inspire me and constantly tweaking and looking at different things is good for me.
Lastly, how have you found the experience working with Jigsaw?
It’s been great; Laura [our Visual Merchandising Assistant] has been lovely. It’s been exciting if a bit daunting… The timescale was getting closer and things weren’t where they needed to be but it all worked out. I think I’ve learnt more in the last few months than possibly a whole year on my course. I did too much assuming and I don’t think I’ll do that again, I need to know absolutely everything about my product. It was a great learning curve, and also really fun.
See more from Aaron on his website.