J Rotherham’s commitment to finding new British design talent

The world of interior design can be an intimidating one for those who are just starting out. With economic pressures having been heightened in recent years, the license that young creatives have to express themselves and come up with innovative designs have become somewhat constrained.

But whatever industry you are a part of, without innovation things will stagnate. This is a sentiment that has caused one UK firm to jump into action and attempt to do something about this worrying trend.

J Rotherham is a family-owned stone masonry company that since the early 1900s, has been producing fixtures for the home that offer both practicality and aesthetic attractiveness.

One of the areas it specialises in is fireplace production. Customers have a choice of existing ranges inspired by design trends such as the Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian periods.

However, J Rotherham has announced that it is on the hunt for young and fresh design talent, with the view of coming up with a new range – the likes of which the fireplace industry has never seen before.

The company’s Commercial Director Matt Rotherham explained why it is time for some new impetus and shed greater light on what the firm is looking for with its new commissions.

Matt said: “We want to add a new range that isn’t necessarily so fixed on inspiration from a particular period – as most of the existing ones are. Whether it be Victorian, Georgian, Edwardian, all are kind of modelled on existing styles.”

This idea of coming up with something that is solely based on design trends of the modern day is quite an ambitious one indeed. Although modern design has crept in more and more to the overall ambience of the home in recent years, the specific centerpiece of the fireplace is still something that is essentially positioned in the past.

Matt adds that the aim is to “push the boundaries” of the industry. He stresses that production processes and efficiency targets still influence how far ‘outside the box’ designers can go, but admits there is a gap in the market for a new breed of fireplace that fits in with 21st century design trends.

A collaborative process

This is by no means a ‘send in your entries on the back of the postcard’ situation. Matt stresses that between now and December – the duration the competition runs for – the company hopes to work together with young designers to form a collaboration.

The idea is to take the concept that is dreamt up by the designer and establish a method whereby this can be assimilated into the production process,. according to the resources in J Rotherham’s factory.

Matt continues: “We’re looking for real design talent, where we can see that as well as a vibrant and innovative design, they have thought about how the manufacturer will be able to put it together.

“We’re happy for it to be a two-way process. They can ask us things about the company before they come up with something, or even come and have a look around the factory.”

Could you fit the bill?

Given the specialised nature of the fireplace as a product, there may be a host of designers out there who have the expertise, but are intimidated by a lack of experience in that particular area.

Matt goes on to try to dispel these concerns, stressing that the focus is on unearthing something fresh and exciting that has not been done before, therefore a lack of any subjective knowledge of the existing industry could even act as an advantage.

Anyone interested is urged to visit J Rotherham’s dedicated competition page or their social media pages, where they will find details on how enter the competition and get in contact with the firm should they want extra information or a greater insight into the company.