Cookies 🍪

This site uses cookies that need consent.

Restore 2021/22

Design Researchers in Residence: Thomas Aquilina, Delfina Fantini van Ditmar, Samuel Iliffe, Sanne Visser

What would it mean for designers to restore, rather than create?

As we confront the climate crisis, we cannot necessarily rely on a new invention to solve all of our problems. The 2021/22 residency theme asked: rather than making something new, how can design respond to what’s already there?

Restoration often means the act of mending an object: a salvaged piece of furniture, a decaying image, a cracked screen or a rusty bicycle. Over the course of their residency, these design researchers have expanded the concept of ‘restorative’. Here is design that reclaims and reuses; reframes and renews; reconsiders and reimagines.

The 2021/22 Design Researchers in Residence were Thomas Aquilina, Delfina Fantini van Ditmar, Samuel Iliffe and Sanne Visser. Their projects took us to Kensington hairdressers and into the shadow of Grenfell Tower, through the UK’s polluted lakes and on to an imagined, less comfortable future. They showed us the ecological value of seaweed, the adaptability of waste materials, the creative potential of recycled human hair and the importance of listening to the silences in our city. Their work traced design-led routes towards more restorative relationships: between places and communities, between ourselves and our planet.


Delfina Fantini Van Ditmar

Design Researcher in Residence 2021-22

Thomas Aquilina

Design Researcher in Residence 2021-22

Samuel Iliffe

Design Researcher in Residence 2021-22

Sanne Visser

Design Exchange Partnerships 2024