Design + Community

Colour Hive X Central Saint Martins

Here at Colour Hive we explore the drivers behind our design directions in great detail, taking note of those bigger picture societal shifts that influence our lives and behaviours and ultimately how we relate to design.

Of course, references to community in forecasting is nothing new. In fact, we have spoken, and in some depth, about the importance of communities in previous design directions, Kinship (SS 2020), Factory (SS 2021) and more recently in Awkward (SS 2022).

Noting this increasing importance not only in our forecasts but its significance in the topic as part of graduate projects this year, we chose Community as a starting point for our conversation.

Working with graduates from Central Saint Martinwe felt it important to discuss the very starting points and inspirations that became part of their design journey. Issues of identity, heritage, participation and design as an agent for community change have all been explored through various strands of research that feed into the graduates' projects from ideation to final outcome.

Here we showcase 3 out of the 6 graduate speakers and their projects who participated in our live webinar.




Meet the Graduates




Alice Smith, BA ( Hons) Textile Design - Print

Coastal Communities; a narrative of place explores coastal industry decline, industrial livelihoods and a narrative of place in connection to materiality and sustainable imperative.

Growing up in a small coastal town, Alice took inspiration from her own communities way of life in particular the local fishing industry. Through this research she documents their labour-intensive lifestyle and heritage skills.

Interested in the principles of community and design, Alice ran a progressive series of interlinked workshops designed to engage children and families with the local area and industry through material exploration. These included workshops in nautical knotting as well as print and textile assembly using donated sails from a local sailmaker. This method of making from ‘first-hand’ practice fed into her design process as her final collection became a reflection of the workshop results.




My materials all came from the same location I was researching so linked directly to the community. Through this cycle of exchange, I found a more sustainable way of designing.

Alice Smith



Francesca Miotti, BA (Hons) Textile Design – Weave

‘Woven Playing Tools’ is a series of hand woven pieces that explore material’s sensory and manipulative qualities and their potential in early education. Inspired by the community-based educational method, The Reggio Emilia Approach, Francesca set up workshops where she documented young children’s natural behaviours, reactions and responses to different materials.

Each individual piece in her collection embodies different interactive features, using a variety of paper yarns and natural fibres, in order to achieve a wide range of contrasting textures. The possibility to manipulate and join the pieces together through linking systems allows the child’s free interpretation and development of imagination, while enabling contact with sensory surfaces.



The core of my project was really about this continuous dialogue between me and the children. It became really balanced as I learnt from them as much as they learnt from me and enjoyed the activates I offered to them.

Francesca Miotti


Kewpie Chi Leng Chan, BA (Hons) Jewellery

Inspired by the notion of unifying what was once broken, Kewpie’s collection, which she calls ‘United’, translates human connection into the intricate language of her jewellery.

Crafted from second hand and pre-owned ceramics, her collection features motifs of peace and union. By utilising only the traditional blue and white porcelain, pattern and colour creates a unified identity and ideas around global and local communities is strengthened.

Materiality and its relationship to community is embodied through long-established methods of ceramic-repair. Utilising these upcycled materials, each piece carries a unique history and has been produced by hand.




I liked the way people communicate in markets; we buy something that has been previously used. There is this exchange in culture that creates a spirit of unity.

Kewpie Chi Leng Chan



Check back for more!

We will be following up with a focus on our remaining 3 graduating speakers in next weeks journal post. 

You can stream the full webinar here

For more information on the graduate class of 2020 click here  



Image credits from top:

Francesca Miotti | Alice Smith | Alice Smith | Alice Smith | Francesca Miotti | Francesca Miotti | Francesca Miotti | Kewpie Chi Leng Chan | Kewpie Chi Leng Chan | Kewpie Chi Leng Chan