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At just 26 years old, Britain’s Mac Collins has made his mark on the spirit of the new Saltzman Prize. This new initiative in partnership with the Design Museum in London celebrates the innovation of emerging designers in recognition of the legacy of designer Ralph Saltzman. It’s no surprise that Mac Collins is the recipient of this inaugural award. While technological and responsible innovations are taking hold among young designers, it was the cultural approach of the English designer that captured the jury’s attention. Since his studies, Mac Collins has conceived the object as a narrative vector, a means of exploring several stories: his own with his Afro-Caribbean heritage and that of the African diaspora. Without falling into cultural mimicry, the designer pays tribute to them by imagining a striking aesthetic language. An “Afro-futurist” style that draws inspiration from the artifacts of his elders and gives them a new narrative meaning. This particular approach was immediately grasped by the Ralph Saltzman Prize jurors, who were sensitive to the young designer’s creations. Forms that oscillate between organic and cultural heritage, designed in traditionally worked wood to bring out its inherent beauty. The result is the Senufo stools or the famous Iklwa chair: powerful, timeless pieces of woodwork.

Presenting at the Harewood Biennial in Leeds, from March 26 to August 29, 2022, Mac Collins brings a new perspective to design. Close to its roots and looking to the future.

Louise Conesa