Taking place in the heart of London, Top Drawer is one of the UK's leading design-led trade shows, specifically created for buyers to discover new products and trends in the contemporary design scene. Here we meet with Daniela Rubino, CSM graduate and co-founder of RubinoWilson, to speak about her experience showcasing her work at the UAL stand and discuss her career so far.
About the designer from Top Drawer January 2023
You’ve just got your dedicated stand at Top Drawer, one of the UK's leading design-led trade shows, congratulations! How would you describe that experience and would you encourage other creatives to join?
The whole experience was very inspiring, as it’s a big chance for creatives to meet with other UAL graduates and with a wide range of potential buyers, so I would definitely encourage other creatives to apply! It enabled me to learn more about the buying process and understand how the audience (consumers and buyers) perceives our products. I think speaking to people in a similar field and seeking advice is one of the best things you can do.
UAL played a fundamental role in providing me with a stand and was very supportive throughout the entire process. As soon as I discovered I could take part in the fair as a UAL graduate, I had to apply!
Could you please tell us about your time at UAL? (BA Fine Arts, Central Saint Martins, 2015)
When I started the course we were based in Archway, which was an amazing experience. There was a great and welcoming community atmosphere - it felt like an "art school". To me, what an art school primarily teaches you is a deeper understanding of who you are as a person and a creative, why you choose a certain career path, and why it's so important to you.
When we moved to King's Cross, I met a fantastic metal tutor from whom I learned how to weld. He was a highly skilled teacher and artist who was very encouraging and non-intimidating.
I was lucky to spend some time abroad in the Czech Republic as part of the Erasmus scheme, which was fantastic as it gave me complete freedom. My tutor encouraged me to make bigger and better projects! One day, I walked into the studio and found a pallet stacked with bags of plaster that he had given me. He pointed to the plaster with his head, raised his eyebrows, and suggested, "There's no excuse, do what you want!" Having this freedom and not being restricted by the cost of materials was amazing. I felt like I could fully express myself.
What’s the ORE PROJECTS scheme about?
The scheme, which is funded by the Arts Council England, aims to nurture young people's talent by offering support, providing hands-on skills, and building self-esteem. We strongly believe that everyone should have the opportunity to pursue a career they enjoy, regardless of their background, gender, or ethnicity. Each mentee will receive five free days of hands-on learning at our workshop, where they will gain practical skills in metalwork and mold making. After the placement, they will become part of an online network and have access to our creative network to gain career advice and work experience. The digitized part of the scheme also provides learning tools, advice, and video tutorials.
Dream collaboration/upcoming projects?
This is such a difficult question to answer as there are so many great artists, but at this moment, I would say Vincenzo De Cotiis.