John Lewis x Umbra Competition

“Design a piece of storage for small space living.”


Umbra and John Lewis are both heavy-weights in their respective fields, so having the chance to design for them was an intriguing and exciting prospect.

Design a piece of storage for small space living: The brief appealed, yet puzzled me due to its stark simplicity. Following such an open brief encouraged me to explore one of my own dilemmas: comfortably using the space in my small house share to display plants.

Over the previous summer I had made my own side table/ plant stand for my big Cheese Plant. Only through using my table for its intended purpose did it open my mind to combining the two functions of displaying plants and a usable table together, giving both a greater justification within my small space.

Setting a pot into a table was the starting point, effectively, creating a plant stand with a rim big enough that it can be used to place a book or cup of tea. Incorporating this storage area leads naturally to more ideas, whether: storing balls of wool, hiding miscellaneous gadgets, or using it as an ice bucket for a crispy bottle of wine!

Working with an experienced design company like Umbra to produce a design was eye opening in many ways. The back and forth development involved in this project reinforced the significance of presenting concepts in a clear and visually stimulating manner, as well as the importance of a simple manufacturing process, though ways I hadn’t previously considered.

My concept was simple, and with the addition of an uncomplicated manufacturing process, and easy self-assembly by the customer, the result was a well-considered design for production.

I’m proud to have won this competition. Having one of my designs in production, and on sale in John Lewis is very exciting! Thank you to the teams at both Umbra and John Lewis for the opportunity!

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