Design highlights from Collect 2024 at Somerset House

Collect 2024 is on view at Somerset House from 1 to 3 March: here are the highlights from the fair’s design and craft offering

Collect 2024
Left: ‘Glass Vessel’ by Shun Kumagai presented by gallery Maud and Mabel. Centre: ‘Four Bowls’ (three of four parts pictured) by Juliette Bigley presented by Cavaliero Finn. Left: ‘Glass Vessel’ by Shun Kumagai presented by gallery Maud and Mabel. Right: ‘Dicotyledon’ by Robert George presented by Cavaliero Finn
(Image credit: Courtesy of Maud & Mabel, Cavaliero Finn)

Part of the advisory panel for Collect 2024, writer and curator Melanie Grant shares her highlights from the upcoming fair (at Somerset House and open to the public from 1 to 3 March). 

The potter Edmund de Waal once compared being an artist to being a swan, unsteady and anxious on the knife-edge of life before launching into the floods. His porcelain vessels represent a blurring of lines between the notions of art, craft and design, which has gathered pace in the last few decades, spurred on by museum-quality acquisitions, rising auction prices and international fairs dedicated to ceramics, glass and textiles.  

Design fair Collect sits at the pinnacle of this movement and is enjoying its 20th anniversary this year, acting as an incubator connecting galleries, dealers and artists with collectors. It was started by the Crafts Council back in 2004 to showcase works that were growing in prominence, but which were sometimes overlooked by the fine art market, with artists like de Waal often attending to discuss their work. It now welcomes 41 galleries representing more than 400 artists from countries as diverse as the US, Japan, Nigeria and Mexico.

Collect 2024 at Somerset House

Design objects on display at Collect 2024

On wall: ‘Stix’ by Jim Gladwin (from 155A Gallery). On plinth: sculpture by Erum Aamir (from Ruup & Form), and ‘Split’ by Richard Goldsworthy (from Craft Scotland) 

(Image credit: Courtesy of 155A Gallery, Ruup & Form, Craft Scotland)

'I think that so often the artists aren't at gallery art fairs very much partly because some of them are dead,' chuckles the fair’s director Isobel Dennis, also once a ceramist. 'But that's the beauty of Collect, it’s about supporting people who are making now.' 

The fair only features work made in the last five years, opening a door to new and emerging talent using materials as diverse as wood, paper, lacquer, resin, mica plastics, metal and even corn-starch. Many of these materials are reused and recycled. The fair resides in Somerset House, a neoclassical landmark perched on the banks of the Thames and previously the official residence of Elizabeth I.

Collect 2024

Top left: 'Seed Pods' by Rachna Garodia, presented by gallery Ruup & Form. Bottom left: 'Muluvenice 3' sculptures by Marco Bellini, presented by gallery Maud & Mabel. Right: 'UNTITLED #15' by Heechan Kim presented by gallery Charles Burnand Gallery

(Image credit: Courtesy Ruup & Form, Maud & Mabel, Charles Burnand Gallery)

Sculptural objects on display at Collect 2024

From left, ‘Inversion’ by Scott Benefield (from Design-Nation gallery), candelabra by David Clarke (from BR Gallery), and ‘Light it up’ by Mathieu Frossard (from Galerie Revel)

(Image credit: Courtesy of Design-Nation, BR Gallery, Galerie REVEL)

The building's spiral staircases, antique pillars and domed ceilings provide an intriguingly paradoxical backdrop to Talia Ramkilawan’s ‘Love me Harder’ a wool and cloth on hessian work analysing her queerness and South African identity, or Simon Dredge’s porcelain and ceramic plate, referencing the use of Polari in the 1950s, which was a secret language used by gay communities in the UK. Mind-bending ceramics by Oriel Zinaburg, Ikuko Iwamoto, Mattieu Frossard and Sayaku Shingu are also worth investigation as are the gravity-defying metal works of Angela Cork, Yingze Chen and Cathryn Shilling.  

Collect 2024 trio of tall black sculptures

'Muluvenice 3' (2023) sculptures by Marco Bellini, presented by gallery Maud & Mabel 

(Image credit: Courtesy of Maud and Mabel - Marco Bellini)

The ethereal glass poetry of Sunghoon Park, Toshio Lezumi and Sila Yucel may well compel the sweeping of an arm across any current shelf-space of all previous collectibles. As interior designers, architects, museum curators, patrons and investors gather for the fair, they will no doubt be considering the continuously evolving concept that is craft. Collect will as always make launching into the floods that much easier for all who visit.  

Collect is open for private views on 28-29 February 2024, and opens to the public from 1-3 March

Somerset House
London WC2R 1LA

Melanie Grant is a writer and curator and also the Executive Director of the Responsible Jewellery Council.  She is the author of Coveted: Art & Innovation in High Jewelry and co-author of Winged Beauty and 100 Years of Creativity and has has curated for Sothebys, TEFAF Maastricht and Kensington Palace. She believes there should be no hierarchy or barriers between art forms.