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National recognition for Northumbria design graduate

25th October 2021

A Northumbria University graduate has won a medal at the prestigious London Design Festival (LDF) awards ceremony this year for his impact on the design scene.

The ceremony was held at the Royal Exchange in London in September, where a panel of established designers, industry commentators and previous winners met to celebrate four winners in total. Mac Collins, a graduate in 3D Design at Northumbria, won the Emerging Design Medal, which recognises the impact made on the design industry by emerging designers since graduating from university.

Caption: Mac Collins, pictured second from the left, at the LDF awards ceremony.

Following his graduation in 2018, Mac has been committed to designing and making narrative-rich and impactful furniture and objects. He received the medal for his Afrofuturist wooden furniture range, which is handcrafted to Mac’s bold design specifications and inspired by his Afro-Caribbean and European heritage.

Commenting on his achievement, Mac said: “It is humbling to see my name appear alongside such an impressive roster of past medal winners. I understand the Emerging Design Medal to be a recognition of potential, and so I see this accolade as a motivating force to encourage me to continue to follow this path.”

Mac’s interest in furniture design began when he was at college and intensified whilst studying 3D Design at Northumbria University. He worked on the Iklwa Chair project during his final year of study at Northumbria, which was selected for production by the furniture-making company, Benchmark, and won several awards post-graduation.

Caption: The Iklwa Chair

He added: “Throughout the degree, there was a breadth of learning opportunities and I made full use of the University’s resources, collaborative space and tutoring in the process. The environment encouraged me to be ambitious in both the research and physical development of the project.

“Since graduating, I have been a Designer in Residence at Northumbria, working on many of my projects from the 3D Design department, which has been invaluable in establishing my practice.”

Alongside his work at Northumbria, Mac has been on the Steering Committee of Design Can since 2019, an organisation seeking to increase the visibility of minority groups within creative industries. He will also begin lecturing in 3D Design at Northumbria from November 2021.

Reflecting on Mac’s accomplishments, Dr Philip Luscombe, Senior Lecturer in 3D Design at Northumbria said: “Mac’s achievement at the LDF is a well-deserved testament to the quality and volume of work he has produced since starting the 3D Design degree at Northumbria.

“In the years since graduation, Mac has been a Designer in Residence, using the University’s facilities and support to develop his professional practice. It has been a pleasure for us to see how Mac has taken the ideas and approach he developed during the degree and made such an important impact in the wider world of design. Mac is now also teaching the 3D Design programme, sharing his insights and inspiration with current students.”

The LDF is a key calendar event of London’s autumn creative season alongside London Fashion Week and recognises the contribution made by leading designers and emerging talents in London and the design industry each year.

Visit to find out more about his work and achievements.

The vision of the 3D Design course at Northumbria is to create the most able graduates, who have a skilful approach to the designing and making of products and furniture and are ready to make meaningful contributions to professional design practice. 


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