Category Archives: London

‘Roma Phantasma’ at The House of Peroni

Posted on October 15, 2014 by Liz

If you’re looking for a new exhibition or show to visit this October, why not check out what’s going on over at The House of Peroni? Innovative lighting design studio Baroncelli have taken up residency at one of the House’s bi-annual month long pop-ups, celebrating contemporary Italian culture with an immersive room of art, design and lighting.

‘Roma Phantasma’ by Baroncelli at The House of Peroni

Giovanni Corrado, Creative Director of Baroncelli, was one of a number of talented individuals invited this year to design an immersive room within the House, reflecting and portraying its theme: Rome, the birth place of Peroni Nasstro Azzuro.

‘Roma Phantasma’ by Baroncelli at The House of Peroni

Baroncelli’s exclusive installation ‘Roma Phantasma’ is an unorthodox and atmospheric landscape. Utilising the component parts that make the modular Flexus lighting system, Baroncelli have created several limited edition sculptural mechanisms including a timepiece, catapult, pulley, airscrew, microscope and compass. Mounted on the walls and ceilings of the room, these mechanisms are layered and interweaved around etched scenic drawings to create a 3D installation which interprets the strength, volume and engineering prowess of neoclassical Rome and showcases the studio’s trademark for expert metal and glass work used within the structure of their pieces.

The Microscope I by Baroncelli

Timepiece I by Baroncelli

When approaching the brief for this creative project, Corrado looked to his passion for art history for inspiration and to 16th century artist Piranesi, famous for his etchings of the city and of his atmospheric imaginary interior ‘prisons’, Carceri d’Invenzione.

‘Roma Phantasma’ by Baroncelli at The House of Peroni

Taking Piranesi as a point of inspiration and drawing on the design studio’s extensive expertise in working with a variety of materials and processes, Corrado’s vision has led to the creation of ‘Roma Phantasma’. Handmade to the highest quality of craftsmanship and engineering; glass, satin gold metal, cristallo rods and LED light interplay with the etchings to create a striking, dramatic and alternative view of Rome, a fantastical Rome visitors can construct in their mind and travel to.

‘Roma Phantasma’ by Baroncelli at The House of Peroni

The House of Peroni is open to visit and free of charge to all 18+ until the end of the month. The limited edition sculptural mechanisms showcased within the House will be available to purchase POA from Baroncelli from October 31st 2014.

designjunction presents ‘A Child’s Dream’

Posted on September 17, 2014 by Liz

designjunction has launched an exciting exhibition for 2014 in order to raise funds for Teddy’s Wish, a charity that aids research into the causes behind SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome), neonatal death and stillbirth and supports grieving families. This is in collaboration with distinguished family-run British brands Anglepoise® and ercol, who have kindly donated the products used in the project.

Tom Dixon, A Child’s Dream. Photo Credit Ruth Ward.

‘A Child’s Dream’ invited 19 of the UK’s leading designers from the field of architecture, design, fashion and graphics to customise the iconic Anglepoise® Type75™ Mini desk lamp and Stacking chair, from ercol’s Originals collection. These are to be displayed this week at designjunction2014 in an exhibition curated by British designer Anthony Dickens.

Emma Mawston, A Child’s Dream. Photo Credit Ruth Ward.

The line-up of designers behind the uniquely interpreted products is an all-star cast, including; Tom Dixon, Wilkinson Eyre, Benjamin Hubert, PearsonLloyd, Paul Cocksedge, Ab Rogers, Sir Terence Conran, Topshop, Tony Chambers, Samuel Wilkinson, Faye Toogood, Kristjana S. Williams, Michael Sodeau, Donna Wilson, Afroditi Krassa, Bethan Gray, Rachel Galbraith, Philippe Moulin and Emma Mawston. Some of the designers comment on their superb end-creations below.

Sir Terence Conran, A Child’s Dream. Photo Credit Ruth Ward.

Michael Sodeau, A Child’s Dream. Photo Credit Ruth Ward.

Afroditi Krassa, A Child’s Dream. Photo Credit Ruth Ward.

Afroditi Krassa on ‘Drip Chair’: “We may dream and plan as much as we want but life is unpredictable and we wanted to capture this and translate it onto a chair. Using clinical apparatus and colored dyes we have left it to gravity, time and chance to embellish the chair.”

Kristjana S Williams, A Child’s Dream. Photo Credit Ruth Ward.

Benjamin Hubert, A Child’s Dream. Photo Credit Ruth Ward.

Samuel Wilkinson, A Child’s Dream. Photo Credit Ruth Ward.

Samuel Wilkinson: “We wanted to create an intervention that highlighted the beauty of the ercol Stacking Chair, something fantastical and unexpected as if from a Child’s dream. The result is the representation of a magic fabled animal, a chair that gives you happy and playful thoughts when you see it.”

Rachel Galbraith, A Child’s Dream. Photo Credit Ruth Ward.

Faye Toogood, A Child’s Dream. Photo Credit Ruth Ward.

Paul Cocksedge, A Child’s Dream. Photo Credit Ruth Ward.

Paul Cocksedge: “The lights only come on when the two heads touch each other, and whichever way you position them for that touch, it will stir a visual memory of a child nuzzling up to its mother. It can be seen not only with humans, but across the natural world… This reconfiguration of the classic Anglepoise taps into the imagination whereby everyday objects take on human attributes, in this case to embody a gesture of caring and affection that is universal.”

Bethan Gray, A Child’s Dream. Photo Credit Ruth Ward.

PearsonLloyd, A Child’s Dream. Photo Credit Ruth Ward.

Wilkinson Eyre, A Child’s Dream. Photo Credit Ruth Ward.

Wilkinson Eyre Architects: “When thinking about the title ‘a child’s dream’ the first thing that springs to mind is colour. How bright and vibrant a child’s dream might be, full of bold colours and shapes and a great innocence. We have focused on those bold colours and shapes in an irregular, sporadic fashion, bringing playfulness and purity to the lamp.”

Tony Chambers, A Child’s Dream. Photo Credit Ruth Ward.

Donna Wilson, A Child’s Dream. Photo Credit Ruth Ward.

Topshop, A Child’s Dream. Photo Credit Ruth Ward.

Topshop: ‘There should be a place where only the things you want to happen, happen.’ (Where the Wild Things Are) “When we are young, the jungle is a mysterious place, a realm of adventure and the imagination.  For our chair, we wanted to reference the magical worlds that you can disappear to in dreams.”

Ab Rogers, A Child’s Dream. Photo Credit Ruth Ward.

All funds raised will go directly to Teddy’s Wish, including ticket entry for the show. The lamps and chairs will be available to buy online through silent auction at thedesignjunction.co.uk/charity from 12 September until midday on Sunday 28 September 2014.

 

Granting Wishes in the Design World

Posted on September 2, 2014 by Liz

Instigated by Sir Terence Conran and initiated by the American Hardwood Export Council and Benchmark Furniture, ‘The Wish List – What I have always wanted is…’ has assembled several illustrious architects and designers together with emerging new talents to create a compelling installation, The Wish List, which will be exhibited at the V&A Museum during the London Design Festival this month.

The Wish List: Alex de Rijke ‘Table Turned’, Petr Krejci Photography

The project invited up-and-coming designers and studios to use only American hardwood in the creation of an object commissioned by an established figure in the architecture and design industry. The brief for each was a response from Conran’s friends within the industry to the significant question: “What have you always wanted in your home, but never been able to find?”

The Wish List: Norman Foster ‘tulipifera sharpeners’, Petr Krejci Photography

The Wish List: Allen Jones ‘The Hole Chair’, Petr Krejci Photography

Led by Conran himself, the incredible line-up includes celebrated architects Richard and Ab Rogers, Norman Foster, Amanda Levete, Alison Brooks, Zaha Hadid, Alex de Rijke and John Pawson, not forgetting artist Allen Jones and fashion designer Paul Smith. All have given their answers and the resulting objects have been created with their mentorship and under the watchful eye and guidance of Benchmark’s master craftsmen.

The Wish List: Terence Conran ‘Getting away from it all’, Petr Krejci photography

Sir Terence Conran has commissioned sustainable designer Sebastian Cox to create a workspace for his office. When asked about the brief given to him, Sebastian commented: “It’s going to be a space that Terence can work in without distractions. It’ll be a cocoon-like desk with cabinet space around. A space for undistracted creative thought.”

The Wish List: Zaha Hadid ‘Ves-el’, Petr Krejci Photography

The Wish List: Paul Smith ‘Paul’s Shed’, Petr Krejci Photography

Award winning architect, Zaha Hadid has always wanted tableware made from wood. Upon receiving this brief, Gareth Neal has chosen to play with the form of a carafe or water carrier and turn it into something more sculptural. Meanwhile, designer Sir Paul Smith has requested a shed from bespoke furniture designer, Nathalie de Leval. Not just any shed, ‘My Shed’ – a request befitting of any man. When asked about his brief Paul Smith said, “Really the inspiration behind the design was to create somewhere where you can go to switch off, somewhere to relax. In today’s world where everyone is so busy, I think this is really important and very needed.”

The Wish List: Alison Brooks ‘A stool for the kitchen’, Petr Krejci Photography

The Wish List: Amanda Levete ’6×500′, Petr Krejci Photography

The architect for the new extension at the V&A, Amanda Levete, has requested a reversible shallow fruit or cheese bowl from student, Win Assakul. Levete explains, “We often have dinners at home for 18 people. Our table is 4.8m long and I have always wanted a long, shallow bowl to run almost the length of the table. But for smaller dinners of say 6 –12 people, I don’t want such a long bowl. By making it extendable we resolve this.” The piece is inspired by African wooden bowls that reveal the beauty and depth of the wood grain as well as the hand of the maker.

The Wish List: John Pawson ‘Room’, Petr Krejci Photography

The open brief has clearly resulted in an extraordinary spread of design objects, also including kitchen stools, a trio of room fittings, a pencil sharpener, chaise longue, dining table and ladder. These can be seen during LDF (13-21 September) at the V&A – WIN will definitely be swinging by to take a closer look!

The Wish List: Richard & Ab Rogers ‘the ladder that likes the wall’, Petr Krejci Photography

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

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!

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

What’s on at The Saatchi

Posted on May 8, 2014 by Liz

We truly love The Saatchi Gallery here at WIN – it’s a spectacular venue that shares thought provoking and inspiring contemporary art with the world, a global meeting place for all who visit and accessible for anyone and everyone as all exhibitions are free! We are extremely lucky as it is also where we will be holding our World Interiors News Annual Awards Dinner later this year, following the success of last year’s event (we can’t wait!). So what’s been going on at The Saatchi so far this year?

Kostas Agiannitis – Lifestyle. Image courtesy of the Saatchi Gallery

Firstly, an exciting partnership with Google+ has allowed for motion photography to be introduced as an art form for everyone. As technology continues to develop, photographers from all backgrounds are embracing new ways to tell their stories. Motion photography is a new trend that used to require special tools and know-how, but Google+ have simplified the process, allowing users to effortlessly and automatically animate a series of still photographs and turn them in to motion photography.

Matthew Clarke – Night. Image courtesy of the Saatchi Gallery

In recognition of the exciting potential of this new technology came the Motion Photography Prize, inviting photographers all over the world to celebrate this new creative art form, the first global entry competition of its kind. This was judged by an amazing panel of forward-thinkers including film director Baz Luhrmann and artists Shezad Dawood and Cindy Sherman. The competition was tough, with over 4,000 entries from 52 countries, but an overall winner was recently announced. Christina Rinaldi, with her black and white motion photograph of a New York window cleaner, has won a once-in-a-lifetime trip with a photographer or film-maker as her mentor. Her entry, along with those of the five other finalists, plus the shortlist of 54 motion photographs is now on exhibition at The Saatchi Gallery until 24 May and will also be featured online at Saatchi Art.

Christina Rinaldi – Urban. Image courtesy of the Saatchi Gallery

Another fantastic exhibition that is currently on display until 31 August, is Pangaea: New Art From Africa and Latin America. Taking its title from the prehistoric landmass that conjoined Africa and Latin America, this major survey reunites the two former sister continents by bringing together the work of 16 of their contemporary artists. The exhibition celebrates and explores the parallels between their distinctly diverse cultures and creative practices, as they begin to receive recognition in the increasingly globalised art world.

Aboudia – Enfants dans la rue 2, 2013. © Aboudia, 2013. Image courtesy of the Saatchi Gallery

The artists in Pangaea: New Art From Africa and Latin America, respond to present day complexities in diverse and innovative ways. Years of colonial rule, rapid urban expansion, migration and political and economic unrest remain subjects for many of the artists whose reflections on the richness of their environment translate into an intense visual experience. The full scope of work on display in this exhibition, which includes new painting, photography, installation and sculpture, encapsulates this sense of diversity – a bubbling energy surfacing in the two great continents that were once Pangaea.

Rafael Gómezbarros – Casa Tomada, 2013. © Sam Drake, 2014. Image courtesy of the Saatchi Gallery.

Pangaea: New Art From Africa and Latin America features work by Aboudia, Leonce Agbodjélou, Fredy Alzate, Antonio Malta Campos, Rafael Gómezbarros, David Koloane, José Lerma, Mário Macilau, Ibrahim Mahama, Dillon Marsh, Jose Carlos Martinat, Vincent Michea, Oscar Murillo, Alejandra Prieto Boris Nzebo, Christian Rosa. A stand out piece is definitely Gómezbarros’ Casa Tomada, with giant ants that address issues of diaspora and internal displacement suffered in Colombia for several decades due to the armed conflict wreaking havoc on the country. Aboudia’s vast canvases are also striking, occupied by a multitude of characters displaying menacing weapons, a record of the sudden escalation of violence following electoral chaos in the city of Abidjan in 2011.

Vincent Michea – Before the Bigger Splash, 2012. © Vincent Michea, 2012. Image courtesy of the Saatchi Gallery.

With all this on and more, it’s quite simple really – get yourself down to The Saatchi as soon as you can to experience some amazing art!