Benoît Malta’s Bearable Discomfort

Posted on August 21, 2014 by Liz

Society’s technological advancements are rapidly progressing, at all times having a strong influence on our physical behaviours and environments. For many people a typical day now involves sitting down and working at a computer for nine hours, to then go home and sit at a different desk perhaps continuing with some freelance work, browsing the internet or just resting on the sofa (usually with some kind of electronic device in front of their eyes or on their laps). Even lunch breaks involve an inactive, seated position; everybody is tired. Physical activity has become a chore, something we must factor into our lives for an agreed amount of time, but it’s also fine to disregard this if we ‘don’t feel like it’. And for many of us, we never feel like it.

Inactivité, Benoît Malta

Assisting our aversion to physical movement are the products created to make life easier for us, from autonomous vacuum cleaners to self-making beds (yes, really). There is no motivation to use our bodies as we simply don’t need to. However, the adverse effects of this are endemic, with many people suffering from spinal issues, muscular diseases and other health issues. In making us more comfortable, designers are in fact creating a widespread discomfort. So what is the solution?

Inactivité, Benoît Malta

For one designer, it is simple: to take this discomfort and incorporate it into products, using it to put the body in motion and thus out of its chronic stationary postures. Recent École Boulle graduate Benoît Malta has developed a collection of objects based on the idea of discomfort, thinking of alternative ways to use products that will create a need for physical activity and stimulation. The French designer wished to question the perception of the home space, altering familiar habits and allowing people to become more aware of their bodies.

Inactivité, Benoît Malta

The resulting collection consists of a chair, lamp and small shelving system, designed to promote mobility and improve wellbeing. The chair proposes an alternative way of sitting, with only two legs instead of the usual four to stimulate different parts of the body through a passive situation. Malta worked with ergonomists and physical therapists to ensure the structure would appropriately activate different parts of the body affected by daily inactivity.

Inactivité, Benoît Malta

Malta’s lamp is inspired by Roman scales with a mercury switch that turns the light on when it is horizontal. A weight allows the lamp to balance and remain lit, but this moves often so that the user must switch the light back on with a gesture that stretches the arm out of idleness. Finally, the small ledges for storage are inspired by climbing holds. Placed at different heights, these too require the user to stretch in order to reach the item that is needed.

Inactivité, Benoît Malta

With ‘Inactivité’, Malta creates activity from ordinarily passive circumstances. The collection is an amazing example of what is now needed from all designers in order to transform sedentary ways of living. In addition to this, it challenges traditional perceptions of objects, creating pieces of furniture without archetypal vision. This is ‘bearable discomfort’; for our bodies and our health, but also for our minds and for the future of design.

Soho House Chicago

Posted on August 15, 2014 by Liz

Let’s just start off by saying that WIN simply adore Soho House. Our Editor has been a member of every House for many years and we hold the judging for our Awards each July at the original club on Greek Street – in fact this year Founder and CEO Nick Jones joined the panel judging the Hotel Interiors Category. Our team are eternally impressed by the superb service from delightful staff members, the inviting interiors with an enviable selection of eclectic furnishings and of course the perfectly crafted coffees that see us through our busy days. We’re also partial to their Eggs Benedict in the morning!

Soho House Chicago

Pizza East, Soho House Chicago

Unsurprisingly, the group has expanded rapidly over the years, with multiple Houses opening up across Europe and North America. Their portfolio also includes cinemas, hotels, Cowshed spa and salons and 15 public restaurants. This week marks the group’s fifth opening in North America, an exciting development which we are delighted to share with you. Presenting Soho House Chicago.

Screening Room, Soho House Chicago

Soho House Chicago

Housed in a six storey warehouse dating back to 1907, the club is inspired by and celebrates its bustling city setting, with many of the building’s original elements repurposed to capture distinct moments in Chicago’s history. Other features have been left untouched, such as the ornamented entrance and large, open floor plans with exposed concrete structures. Additionally, curators for Soho House, Jonny Yeo and Francesca Gavin, collaborated with Chicago based artists to seamlessly weave local artwork throughout the property in the group’s signature mismatched style.

Soho House Chicago

Soho House Chicago

There are 40 guestrooms in Soho House Chicago, all decked out with uniquely sourced furniture and art pieces. They contain an aura of luxury that pervades every storey of the club: from the second floor with fully outfitted fitness centre and boxing ring fashioned by Chicago’s famous Horween Leather Company to the fourth with its cosy 40 seat screening room and the Club Floor on level five with drawing room, bar, house kitchen and grill.

Fitness Centre, Soho House Chicago

The Allis, Soho House Chicago

To top everything off, at the building’s highest point there is a glass enclosed rooftop bar and kitchen and outdoor deck with 80 ft swimming pool. We’re already imagining ourselves sipping a cocktail poolside, gazing at the stunning architecture on the horizon.

Soho House Chicago

Soho House Chicago

Non-members are also able to indulge themselves at Soho House Chicago, enjoying delectable delights from the kitchens of public-facing restaurants Pizza East and Chicken Shop or a well-edited selection of wine and craft beers from Allis Bar. The Cowshed spa and salon is likewise open to the public, ready to pamper with a fine selection of thoughtful scents, botanical ingredients and herbal remedies.

Chicken Shop, Soho House Chicago

Cowshed spa and salon, Soho House Chicago

The photos speak for themselves, it seems all that’s left to do is book our flights and visit our Chicago based ‘home away from home’.

Soho House Chicago

Soho House Chicago

Soho House Chicago

Chicken Shop, Soho House Chicago

Screening Room, Soho House Chicago

Soho House Chicago

Flowers Blossom into Flames: Experimenta

Posted on August 8, 2014 by Liz

The flame becomes a flower and the fuel becomes water in this transformation of the classic kerosene lamp by Giuseppe Bessero Belti. The Italian designer, who currently resides in Paris, has designed a collection of vases by repurposing oil lamps and combining them with 3D printing, mixing old and new in a reinterpretation entitled Experimenta.

Experimenta – Bombé Viennoise

Belti began with the traditional oil lamp, which can be simplified into five parts: ‘the chimney’ glass in various shapes, ‘the wick’, the fuse that dips into the fuel, ‘the burner’, the nozzle from which the flame emerges, ‘the collar’, the ring for fastening the glass and ‘the fount’, the container for the fuel. This has undergone multiple changes due to the technological innovations and scientific progress made in the 18th and 19th centuries. Designers of the time were constantly experimenting with the oil lamp, creating new shapes for the burner and the chimney that affected its efficiency. The design was guided by the emerging industry, oriented towards the mass market.

Experimenta

Experimenta – Globe

Fast forward to the current world of design and what can be found is a rediscovery of craftsmanship, an emerging maker spirit that responds to the consumer’s desire for unique products of high quality and high artistic value. Belti decided to combine this trend with the use of 3D printing technology, creating a sharp contrast between industrial production and craftsmanship.

Experimenta – Kosmos

Experimenta – Matador

The Experimenta vases are composed of a cylindrical 3D-printed nylon container, repurposed glass vessels in all their variations from the 18th and 19th centuries, a ring and a series of adapters to fix the glass vessel in place. Water takes the place of kerosene in the container and a flower blooms from within, a vivid and naturally beautiful wick and flame.

Experimenta – Rochester

Experimenta – Rochester

Experimenta breathes new life into the old glass, and sets a standard of uniqueness, but one that could still be available to many. It is currently at the prototype stage, but WIN hope to one day have a flower burn bright on our shelves.

Making Design History: 25 Years of Starck and Duravit

Posted on August 4, 2014 by Liz

“If you’re lucky enough to have a good idea, you’re duty-bound to share it.” Philippe Starck.

July 2014 marked 25 years of French designer Starck working with international bathroom product developer Duravit. During this time, he has shared a vast amount of ideas with the company including designs for timeless bathroom classics and concepts for everything from innovative shower-toilets to the architecture of the company’s office and showroom at its German headquarters.

Philippe Starck by Jean-Baptiste Mondino

The charismatic partnership began in 1989, when Duravit wrote to Starck and proposed that he joined them in developing innovative designs to take the sanitary ware market by storm. In return, Starck invited them to visit and consequently they decided to work together – a decision that has since proved incredibly successful: together, Philippe Starck and Duravit have made design history.

Starck recognised that it was not necessary to reinvent the wheel in order to create contemporary shapes. Instead, he based his design on the re-discovery of ancient forms, taking archetypal objects and translating them for Duravit into ceramic and acrylic in a way that had never been done before. In 1994 he unveiled his first creation for the designer bathroom manufacturer: the Starck 1 range, based on archaic objects such as a washbowl and bucket. Next came the launch of the Starck 2 ceramics range in 1998, inspired by the motion of water. Although very varied in form, the resulting washbowls, washbasins, toilets and bidets all carry Philippe Starck’s distinctive design signature.

25 Years of Starck

They say that the best things come in threes, in this case the addition of the Starck 3 range, unveiled by Duravit in 2002. These were more pared-down forms, able to blend effortlessly into any bathroom. However things didn’t end there, the success story continued in 2011 with the first ever shower-toilet, also designed by Starck. He then went on to design the first steam shower, the St.Trop, based on the idea of a painting (the shower door represents a large picture frame, the white background forms the canvas and the person taking a shower becomes the motif, completing the ‘work of art’).

Starck has clearly had a strong influence on Duravit’s products and on the company as a whole. He even went a step further by designing a whole building for Duravit that reflects their dedication to good design. The resulting structure, the Duravit Design Center in Hornberg, is extraordinary in terms of both its exterior form and its interior finishings, featuring an outrageous giant toilet spanning three floors cut into its front façade. Visible from far and wide around the Black Forest, it definitely makes a bold design statement!

Duravit Design Center, Hornberg

The combined talents of Duravit and Starck have been a winning combination and we look forward to many more years of great design from both!

Talent in Textiles: Interview with Rose Sharp Jones

Posted on July 8, 2014 by Liz

Featured in a previous blog of top picks from Clerkenwell were some quaint crochet cushions, created by skilled designer Rose Sharp Jones. WIN were initially drawn to her stall upon spying a range of beautifully patterned notebooks and we bonded over a mutual love of stationary (it borders on obsessive for us!) We soon noticed the cute knitted details on her stools and chairs and the aforementioned cushions, and business cards just had to be exchanged! Here we find out a little more about the creator behind this charming collection…

Firstly, where did your love for textiles and handmade items initially stem from? Is your background fairly creative?

I always loved to draw and make things when I was a child, and learnt to knit when I was 8.  I studied art throughout school and after leaving I did a foundation course where I specialised in textiles, going on to do a BA and MA course in Textile Design.

And what inspired you to set up your own business?

After finishing my MA course I realised I wanted to be involved in the whole process – designing and making fabrics, and products from them.

Which are the most gratifying aspects of your work?

I really enjoy the making process, developing new ideas and pieces through experimentation with yarns, stitches and different techniques. I also enjoy working on commission pieces with clients and seeing them happy with the end product.

Do you work from home? And how do you balance running a business with day to day life?

I work from a studio space in east London that I share with other designers.  It can be hard to keep a good work/life balance, having a separate studio space away from home has definitely helped me to do so.  I also find that having defined tasks for the day/week ahead and lots of to-do lists help!

You also teach a range of knit and crochet classes – what does a typical lesson with you entail and where could we sign up?

At the moment I teach a beginners crochet class where we start with the complete basics and learn a range of stitches.  I also run another workshop where I teach further techniques to make crocheted squares that can be used to make a blanket or cushion.  I teach these lessons at the yarn shop Sharp Works in south London.  I also teach private knit and crochet lessons which tend to be quite varied as they depend on what the client wishes to learn.  These can be arranged by contacting me.

How do you approach new designs – what is your process and how do you see each piece through to completion?

I normally start with drawing, and then a research period to develop design ideas further.  After this I begin swatch experiments to try out different stitches, yarns and colours.  Once I’ve decided upon these I then write patterns for the pieces I need and begin making them, making adjustments to the pattern or design if required.

What are your favourite pieces to make and why?

I wouldn’t say that I have a favourite piece to make, although I do enjoy working with the furniture pieces, finding techniques and yarns that are suitable for the piece in question, taking inspiration from the furniture piece itself and developing fabrics that are appropriate for use.

Your work includes furniture, cushions, mittens, hats, bags and you’ve just launched a stationary collection too! Do you see your ranges expanding further? Where would you like to be in five years’ time?

At present I’m not planning on introducing any additional types of products, just some new designs for existing ones!  I will be introducing a range of knitted cushions later this year, as well as a couple of new furniture pieces.

I do enjoy designing across a range of products though, so I’m sure the range will expand at some point!

Have you ever collaborated with other designers, or is this something you would be interested in doing?

I have discussed collaborative projects with other designers in the past and would definitely like to work on such a project at some point.

Finally, where can we find you on a weekend off, what are your favourite ways to spend time?

Enjoying having a break, meeting up with friends and family, going to exhibitions and other events and travelling whenever possible!

The Great Outdoors

Posted on June 23, 2014 by Liz

Walden, ©Jäger & Jäger

With summer well on its way in the UK (at last!), the majority of us are relishing the chance to spend some time outdoors, enjoying barbeques, picnics, rooftop bars, trips to the beach and open-air cinema screenings – it’s a novelty that doesn’t last long but definitely raises everyone’s spirits. So why not take it further, and spend the next three months basically living outside? It’s definitely a possibility with the garden object/well-furnished shed/ concept home design, Walden.

Walden, ©Jäger & Jäger

Designed by Nils Holger Moormann for German shed and wooden house manufacturer Aicher, Walden is essentially a wooden box that compactly fits within it everything a person could need to enjoy their garden, and then some! The project was inspired by a short story written by Henry David Thoreau, a 19th century American writer and philosopher. Entitled Walden, the story is about the author’s life and his coexistence with nature. This notion of the simple life is what the object Walden is based upon; it invites one to live outdoors, in harmony and simplicity.

Walden, ©Jäger & Jäger

For the garden enthusiasts, there is storage space for wheelbarrows, rakes, shovels and a hosepipe. For those who prefer lounging in the sun, there’s a ladder to an upper level with sliding sun roof – if the heat gets too much, go back down and enjoy sitting in the cabin, which also incorporates a table for ant-free picnicking. Finally, when the sun goes down, a campfire can be created in the swinging cauldron, kept alight by firewood which can be stored in the space right next to it. The birds will also be kept happy with a birdhouse and feeder.

Walden, ©Jäger & Jäger

Walden is neat and compact, it offers outdoor essentials within a charming and practical container and can be enjoyed by family, friends and individuals alike. If only it had a bedroom – there’d be no need to return to your house!

Walden, ©Jäger & Jäger

Inspired by Nature, Created by Conran

Posted on June 3, 2014 by Liz

Design giants Conran and Partners have surprised and delighted the WIN team with their latest venture. Known by all for their outstanding design portfolio, which encompasses both architecture and interiors, branding and products, we’re sure many of you have fantasised about members of their talented team coming to work their magic on your homes, shops, local restaurants and businesses. Paint by Conran will bring you one stop closer to that dream.

Paint by Conran

Drawing on 50 years of experience in designing for the home, Conran and Partners have created a range of interior paints, launched with a tremendous 96 colours, all inspired by British plants and landscapes. Teaming up with them is esteemed British paint manufacturer Master Paintmakers, who have been handcrafting paint in the UK for over 150 years. This supreme partnership has utilised their technical know-how and Conran’s design expertise to create a paint range that is both practical and beautiful.

Paint by Conran

The branding too, is absolutely gorgeous – care has been put into absolutely every element of the paint and the overall buying experience. Delicate hand-painted swatch cards are available as well as elegant tester pots that remind one of artist’s paints, packaging is a simple white with charming and unique watercolour motif – a different image for each collection (Highland, Cottage Garden, Kitchen Garden, Orchard and Harvest.) Each purchase is even delivered with a thank you card that doubles as a colour matching card when shopping for complementary items, and with a Paint by Conran Partner card that gives the holder special offers and exclusive benefits!

Paint by Conran

This range does it all, providing colours for every room in the house, personalised service and care for each individual customer. With quintessential British countryside appeal, Conran can help you bring the beauty of nature indoors. We can’t wait to get our hands on these paints, and get them onto our walls this summer!

Crazy for Clerkenwell

Posted on May 27, 2014 by Liz

WIN certainly were busy last week – along with the rest of the design world we’re sure! Following May Design came the incredible Clerkenwell Design Week, celebrating its fifth birthday in inimitable style. We were delighted to be invited to the press breakfast, where we quickly fuelled up on coffee and croissants before sprinting across Farringdon to visit the multiple Exhibition areas playing host to countless talented designers and creatives. From industry favourites and big name brands to quirky start-ups and fresh faces, all definitely impressed with innovative designs, inspiring ideas and a clear passion for their industry (and all very willing to talk to us about this passion, which was great!)

We were guided through the various areas by the lovely Elspeth Rae, Marketing Manager at Clerkenwell, with boundless enthusiasm and energy. Design Factory, Platform and Detail were outstanding as always, and new for 2014 came Additions, a wonderful collection of small design items and accessories, particularly enjoyable for stationary enthusiasts such as myself. The installations truly wowed and the overall programme of talks, exhibitions and workshops was a captivating affair. With cocktails around every corner, what’s not to love about this exceptional, dynamic and super fun event?!

First, as usual, some quick personal snaps of the event before our top product picks.

Our tour guide for the morning!

Studio Weave‘s Smith Pavilion, hosting craft workshops at Clerkenwell

Lianne Russ and Phil Henshaw of Russ + Henshaw in front of their ‘Tile Mile’ installation

The impressive Johnson Tiles Wall Mural

Sean Dare of Brighton based Dare Studio

The incredible Jaguar and Foscarini installation

Amazing (and much needed) coffee outside Design Factory

Now onto what you’ve all been waiting for: The World Interiors News Product Picks – Top 20! (In no particular order I might add).

Beautiful sofas and textiles by A Rum Fellow

Colourful table cloths by newcomers Toghal

Last Stools by Max Lamb for Discipline

The Hive Lamps by Angus Matchett for Dare Studio

The Vertebra Chair by the chair ltd

Vessel F by Samuel Wilkinson for Decode

The Draft Mobile Writing Board by Daniel Lavonius Jarefeldt and Josef Zetterman for Abstracta

The Tyneside Lounger by David Irwin for deadgood

The lamp everyone was talking about, designed by Paul Smith for Anglepoise

The SPOKES lanterns by Vicente Garcia Jimenez & Cinzia Cumini for Foscarini

The simple & stylish Plan Desk by James Tattersall

We hope you love these amazing products as much as we do and also that you got to pay a visit to one of our favourite design events on the interiors calendar (other than our own, of course!). Clerkenwell, we’ll see you again next year.

WIN Loves: May Design Series

Posted on May 21, 2014 by Liz

May Design Series returned to London’s ExCeL this year, with almost 400 brands on display plus countless wonderful guest speakers holding thought-provoking seminars. WIN had a great time this year, meeting with old friends, making new contacts and seeing the amazing products on show. We were also spoiled in the press room with tasty treats and drinks, air conditioning and general kindness from the amazing press and marketing team – thanks guys! The whole space looked awesome thanks to the design expertise of Ab Rogers, who gave a great talk on the use of colour while we were there (hint – he likes it bright). To add to the fun, we bid on one of the gorgeous chairs in the Out of the Dark silent auction. All were upholstered by some fantastic bloggers using salvaged materials, so here’s hoping we win! Here’s a few quick personal snaps before we move onto our product highlights.

Gorgeous space, curated by Ab Rogers

The animated and charming Ab Rogers himself, mid-speech

Beautiful ceramics from Flux, which we blogged on earlier this year

At the iGuzzini stand, winners of last year’s WIN Awards for best Lighting Product

The only chair you’ll ever need: the Flag Halyard by Hans J. Wegner at the PP Møbler stand

Onto our favourite products at May Design. We were particularly impressed by some of the incredible lighting on display, as well as some fantastic options for storage in the home that hide your clutter but also function as a gorgeous statement piece. Fun, quirky and colourful ruled this year and we were big fans!

Playful Circus Lighting by Corinna Warm for Innermost

Pops of colour on these Zazzeri taps, also an entry into the WIN Awards this year!

Side Coffee Table from Santarossa

Bold lamps from Enigma Lighting

Shabby chic cabinets from Bluebone

Beautiful up-cycled pieces by Out of the Dark

The perfect kitchen from The Myers Touch

Stunning glass lamps by Ebb & Flow

Innovative modular shelving by Made In Ratio

We can’t wait for next year, and hope that everyone else had a great few days at the show!

The Business of Art: Interview with acrylicize

Posted on May 16, 2014 by Liz

Hard work, positivity, believing in what you do – and a little more hard work on top – can definitely get you far. The proof is in the pudding with acrylicize, a boutique art and design studio headed up by James Burke and Paul Arad. Founded in 2003 as a result of Burke’s final year University show, the company have gone from strength to strength creating bespoke artwork and schemes for a whole host of companies, including big names like Heinz, The Office Group and Deloitte. Injecting personality into offices, stadiums, public spaces and even residential homes, the pair have created an innovative and inspiring business brand, unlike anything we at WIN have seen before.

We speak to James to find out more about acrylicize and its foundations and developments, how they approach new work, favourite projects and clients and business tips for aspiring entrepreneurs…

Paul and James, Founders of acrylicize

Firstly I’d like to say thank you for taking some time out to talk to WIN about acrylicize, it’s a pleasure to feature you on our blog. acrylicize has been described as a mix between design studio and art consultancy, how would you best describe the company to those first hearing about it?

We believe art should be accessible to as many people as possible so we are on a mission to make work that sits predominately outside the gallery space. We develop custom art works, from on-off pieces to entire art schemes. The key difference is that everything is by commission and is developed to respond to the person, company, brand or space we are working with. We call it ‘Customism’. We mix art, design, interior design, architectural features and graphics all together and what comes out is acrylicize. We’re proud that we can’t be pigeonholed – it means that we are doing things differently.

James, you first met Paul at Manchester Metropolitan University some years ago. Were you both studying on the same course? And have you always been friends?

I was at Manchester Metropolitan University studying contemporary arts while Paul was studying textile management. I had started experimenting with art on acrylic as an innovative canvas and decided to pursue this idea for my final year project.  Paul was also on the cusp of graduating; we were both very inspired by the idea of doing something for ourselves, and all that energy we had at university really inspired us to go for it.

Qubic Tax, acrylicize

I can only imagine! So where did the idea of acrylicize first come about? During University, or afterwards?

acrylicize started as my degree project. I was exploring the public’s perception of contemporary and conceptual art. I wanted to develop something that could be appreciated by a wide spectrum of people who weren’t involved in the art establishment so looked at doing something new with the simple ‘picture on the wall’ concept. The idea of acrylicize was to update the traditional canvas and develop a contemporary alternative using modern materials and technology. That’s where the use of acrylic came in and with it the name acrylicize.

How did you initially set up the business? What obstacles did you face and how did you overcome these?

For my final show at university, I displayed my acrylic art pieces with ornamental price tags designed to make a comment on Art as commodity and unintentionally sold every piece. I was always interested in building a brand around the work and just because my course finished I wasn’t ready for the project to end – really it was just the beginning. Paul then jumped on board with his sales skills and we essentially worked our arses off! It was actually one of the most exciting times of the whole last 10 years as everything was so new and exciting; we believed that anything was possible and it’s on those beliefs that we moved forward.

One of the main obstacles when starting any business from scratch is not having any previous work to show for ourselves. Looking back I think it was actually one of our biggest assets as we weren’t in any way conditioned by industry practices and as such just did whatever felt right, using our instinct and intuition to help make decisions. This freedom is one of the main factors in us staying true to ourselves and creating something genuinely unique.

In terms of a challenge, one of the most important things has always been to challenge ourselves to keep creating and evolving. This is how the idea of ‘Customism’ came about, creating completely unique, narrative-driven art concepts and installations for interior spaces, be it offices, hospitals or stadia. These projects took on different forms and utilised a whole host of materials and techniques.

Interiors Group, acrylicize

You began producing unique acrylic art, and now offer bespoke art installations, commissions, architectural features, interior graphics and exhibitions for businesses. What is your process when approaching a new project and seeing it through to completion?

With each project we take on, we put a huge amount of effort into the initial research. We focus on embracing the personality of a space and try to find a story to tell. Once we have this we have the essence of the work and we can then think about execution and how the story can be brought to life. These initial idea phases are done as a group in-house with everyone pitching in ideas, thoughts and suggestions etc. We have internal ‘stretch sessions’ where we challenge each other creatively, with individual and team tasks. This can involve everything from collecting train tickets for an afternoon at Paddington Station, to each going out to the supermarket to buy Heinz beans and experimenting at home.

We operate as artists, looking for the opportunity to try something new with every new commission. From the client’s perspective, they know never to expect the same thing twice.

Do you have specific creative individuals in the industry you go to for design ideas? Or is the work mostly done in-house?

Most of the work is done in-house at our Shoreditch studio. However, one thing we’re big advocates of at acrylicize is collaboration. We have a strong theme of collaboration and love working with other people to realise ideas.

On a recent project for long-term collaborators The Office Group, we teamed up with graphic designer Alex Fowkes. We had been admiring his work for Sony Music so dropped him a line and asked him to join us for The Office Group project at 7 Stratford Place, a Georgian townhouse that had a lot of cool history that we wanted to convey through our art. Alex was up for the project so we worked together on what is one of our favourite pieces to date.

The Office Group, 7 Stratford Place, acrylicize

How do you feel your work affects office spaces? Are there better levels of productivity for example?

Art has often been confined to the gallery space and we’re really interested in the opportunity to engage with artwork in any walk of life. The workspace is one of the places you spend the longest at, so why shouldn’t you have the ability to engage with art there? We live in such a visual society and we believe art can help to stimulate people. People also appreciate the idea that who they work for has invested in the space, creating an environment that makes you happy, a bit more vibrant and a bit more energetic. That goes a long way.

Research by Dr Craig Knight, from the psychology department at the University of Exeter, has shown that staff work 15 per cent more efficiently in an office decorated with art and plants. When staff decorated their own office space, productivity increased by 30 per cent.

You also work on residential, public and healthcare projects. Is the process very similar? And which do you prefer working on?

Sometimes more professional research is required, especially when working within healthcare. It’s always really rewarding working in this sphere as you know that work is doing something to help people who are in need of feeling better.

Heinz R&D HQ, Wall 57, acrylicize

You’ve worked with a variety of brands, including some huge names – Hilton, Emirates, Harrods, BBC to name just a few. Which has been the most enjoyable for you so far?

All have been great projects. Heinz was particular awesome it was a glorious story to bring to life and a huge project for us as a company. We got to travel to the Netherlands to create a feature wall that stands in the reception of their European Innovation Centre, where all the R&D happens. It was an honour to be a part of Heinz history.

And the most challenging?

When Newcastle-based accountants Qubic Tax came to us wanting to inspire their staff, we had a challenge on our hands. Lets face it Tax can be quite a dry subject and no one particularly loves the fact that they have to pay tax. Our solution was to create a canvas of over 1,200 LEGO figures, each one representing a tax-paying vocation. We were trying to make something that is genuinely quite hard and dislikeable into something that will put a smile on your face. We looked at tax and we really wanted to humanise it as much as we could. The use of Lego was used to soften that experience and tap into the child in you.

Heathrow T3, acrylicize

What are the most valuable lessons you have learnt from setting up your own business? Any advice for aspiring young entrepreneurs?

We put endless effort into making contacts, picking up the Yellow Pages and calling everybody, absolutely anybody, who may have been remotely interested in what we were doing. It’s all about action and the very act of doing something as simple as speaking to people has a knock-on effect.

For young entrepreneurs who are finding their feet, starting their own businesses, two principal themes have been very successful to us personally. The first one is a positive step. Take a step somewhere even if you are not sure which direction you’re going in. Don’t worry about that. The important thing is to be proactive, get off the couch and just take the first step to start you on your path and journey.

The second theme is belief. Have belief in yourself. Have belief in what you are offering and have belief in the people you are working with. Positive energy and belief are the two key drivers that we embrace and push forward every day.

Wembley Stadium , acrylicize

You seem to be constantly evolving and developing, so what is next for acrylicize?

We are really interested in the idea of community and collaboration and bridging the gap between great creative talent and opportunities to make a living doing what you love. We have some big plans in the department. On top of this we are developing some great projects as part of acrylicize and are about to release two short films about our recent installations that have just been completed.

And when you’re not busy installing monsters into the Headquarters of Mind Candy or injecting some fun into a tax office with Lego pieces, what else do you enjoy doing? Where would we find you on a typical weekend?

Paul and I both have young children so we are spending a lot of time with all the amazing things that come with that. I am also a keen drummer and graffiti artist and like to indulge in both these areas regularly. It’s all about balance and doing lots of what you enjoy.

Final question – what is your own office space like – just curious!

We’ve got a great space in Shoreditch, just off Redchurch Street. It’s got relics of all our projects and is a really bright, open space with huge floor to ceiling windows. We moved east two years ago, from our original studio in Harrow. The team had grown and we were keen to soak up the creativity of the melting pot that is east London at the current time. The energy is great, it’s a vibrant part of town filled with artists, designers and people doing their thing, creating a constantly evolving landscape on an almost daily basis. It suits what we do very well and we wanted to leave our mark.

The Office Group, 7 Stratford Place, acrylicize