A new hyperlocal maker market launches collection

By Sujata Burman

What does hyperlocal mean? For Atelier100’s new collection, it’s about products created within 100km of London (or, more specifically, the radius of Trafalgar Square). The brainchild of Swedish behemoths H&M and Ingka Group, Atelier100 is an ideas factory that opened its Hammersmith retail space in May 2022, and the limited-edition collection is a result of a maker programme with local creatives.

Atelier100’s aim is to rethink consumption and champion independent creatives. This inaugural project is a connector that looks at sustainable approaches to making, helps build local supply chains, strengthen local production networks, and support local economies. Across fashion to furniture, designed by graduates to established craftspeople, the range includes vases made from clay found 26 metres below the River Thames, bags made from found CD cases and toaster components and 3D-printed door stops.

“The initial brief was fairly open,” says Andu Masebo, who has created a chair made from car exhaust tubes. “The main criteria was that the idea had the potential to be developed into a viable product and that the production process and materials sourced would be able to engage with individuals and businesses within a 100 mile radius of London.” For his design, which was made in Hoxton, Masebo was keen to engage with a different field of production, so he looked at the car manufacturing industry. Not only did he reuse the materials, but he took away technical skills which are required to make a car exhaust when building his tubular stainless steel chair.

For Lola Lely’s lampshades, the 100km distance was an easy measurement to work with. Everything, including “the recycled paper, natural paints, fabric cables and beeswax were sourced within a short distance from my studio in Poplar,” she says. Even the design inspiration came from a London landmark. “I got the idea for a plant-like lampshade after a visit to the Palm House in Kew Gardens. There are hundreds of palm species growing in this tropical greenhouse. I really love it there.”

Stories like these are at the heart of Atelier100’s programme, like Alison Cooke’s vases made in her West Hampstead studio. The clay was extracted when she approached “Tideway, who are building London's supersewer, a 25km tunnel running under the Thames. After a lot of emails and a bit of hoop-jumping they gave me five tonnes of clay spoil.” The result is a vase shaped like a borehole –holes in the ground that keep the city running.

Available both online and in-store, the 13 pieces by 13 creatives are a result of the programme which includes mentoring these talents too, guiding them on how to develop a sustainable business to how to become experts in marketing and accountancy, bringing Atelier100’s mission full circle.