Rachel Harding is a British designer working in London and Amsterdam. After graduating from the Royal College of Art, Rachel moved to the Netherlands to be an in-house designer at Droog, working on the Droog collection and on conceptual projects inspired by everything from the factory floors of China to the glittering heights of Russia. Rachel marries a realistic approach to product design with a fascination in cultural shifts and global systems. Combining research and observation, she produces conceptual designs with a strong sense of materiality and form. Rachel holds a bachelor’s degree from Cambridge University and a master’s from the Royal College of Art. She has exhibited her independent work in the UK and internationally, and with Droog in London, Milan, Moscow and Guanzhou. Rachel currently has a studio in London, she runs a platform at the RCA, and she is developing products with clients.
At Established and Sons I am responsible for Design and Development. This entails everything from curating and selecting products, working with designers to develop commissioned works, managing international exhibitions, and technically developing products from concept through to production. At Established, I seek out work that is both cutting edge and commercial, I have an extensive knowledge of the design industry and its commercial structure. At Established and Sons I work together with many prominent design studios, and I find that this experience allows me to embrace a breadth of design styles and working methods. I am also responsible for the technical development of products. I have a thorough technical knowledge of materials and processes; I make regular visits to manufacturers and factories, and understand how to manufacture beyond the prototyping stage.
In addition to my own studio work, For the past 4 years I have been an in-house designer for Droog Design in the Netherlands and I continue to work for them from London on a freelance basis. Here I have initiated many concept-led design projects. I have a high degree of creative control, and have been responsible for designing and co-curating Droog’s in-house collections, as well as designing for more conceptual projects.
In 2014 I ran Platform 20 in Design Products at the Royal College of Art with Agata Jarworska. In this platform we see reality as an infinite source of inspiration, and as a playground for critical engagement. We look beyond the face value of objects, and dig deeper to recognise their hidden stories and qualities. Realizing that design is not an accident, but a result of political, economic, technical and social conditions, we employ imaginative realism within these conditions, redefining, exaggerating or re-appropriating today’s systems as a process of design.