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’5 Minutes Only’ with Sebastian Wrong

Established & Sons, Milan 2008

‘Five Minutes Only’ is a series of quick fire rounds with industry influencers and leaders of disciplines in art and design. Today we welcome the design star Sebastian Wrong fresh from taking London Design Festival by storm with the collaboration Wrong for Hay.   Continue Reading…

’5 minutes only’ with Michelle Alger Head of Home at Heal’s

Michelle Alger

‘Five Minutes Only’ is a series of quick fire rounds with industry influencers and leaders of disciplines in art and design. Today we welcome Michelle Alger Head of Home at Heal’s one of Britain’s most forward thinking retailers. Continue Reading…

5 minutes with Lubna Chowdhary

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‘Five Minutes Only’ is the first in a series of quick fire rounds with influencers and leaders of disciplines in art and design. Today we welcome the ceramicist Lubna Chowdhary who creates tile-based artworks for interior and exterior spaces. Continue Reading…

Ali Wonderland: Interview with Ali Miller

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I first met Ali Miller at Startup Showcase in March and fell in love with her quirky and whimsical ceramics, so when she invited me for a cup of tea at her home studio last week to discuss her designs, I found it hard to resist. Continue Reading…

Interview: The Sculpture House

TSH - Richard Davies - Alex Chinneck - David Murphy

Above: Richard Davies, Alex Chinneck and David Murphy

“Think again for your own sanity”, says Alex Chinneck to any designers who are thinking of copying The Sculpture House.

Last week for Despoke’s first post-relaunch interview, we went to talk to London based sculptors, Alex Chinneck and David Murphy about their newly launched artist-designed furniture company: The Sculpture House (TSH). Continue Reading…

Despoke picks #1

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A quick round up of few exhibitors dotted around 100% Design
At the top we have rising star Arthur Analts with his Led Zepplin Ladder and Amid Room Divider Then we have the M Lamp from David Irwin design based on an old miners lamp and funded via Kickstarter. Finally on this page The Time Chair and Place bedside table from trett design D37.

Yves Behar In Conversation With Marcus Fairs

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Industrial designer Yves Behar joined Dezeen Editor in Chief Marcus Fairs for a seminar in the 100% Design auditorium, focusing on his work, successes and advice to other designers. The swiss born designer is highly acclaimed within the field for his wide variety of innovative projects including the hugely successful JAMBOX speakers and socially sustainable project, the 100 dollar laptop.
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Emilio Pimentel-Reid, the online editor of Dalani answers Despoke’s Questions

1.Hi can you tell us a bit about Dalani
Dalani is the leading online members only homewares and lifestyle e-tailer, bringing shoppers time limited sales of British and International designer homeware brands from around the world. I joined Dalani as Editor in Chief and Creative Director in April 2012 and I currently work closely with buying teams to curate each sale for our customers’ taste and expectations.

2.What products /designers are you looking forward to covering at 100% Design This year?
From the International Country Pavilions I’m looking forward to seeing WOKA from Austria and Lee Kiseung and Manifesto design on the Korean stand. I’m really excited to see Kirath Ghundoo from the emerging brands. Overall key brands include Original BTC, Deadgood, Knoll, Vitra and Kettal.

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Lydon Neri Answers Despoke’s Questions

Despoke caught up with Lydon Neri from Neri & Hu ahead of his participation in the seminar ‘HOTEL FUTURES AND THE WIDER IMPACT OF TRENDS IN HOSPITALITY DESIGN’ at 100% Design Wednesday 19th September 14:00 – 14:45 .

What made you want to become a designer in the first place? I wanted to be an artist but being born in a Chinese family, it was not even an option.

Where did you study design?
UC Berkeley for my undergraduate studies in architecture and masters in architecture at Harvard.

What was the first thing you designed?
The cover of my notebook in first grade.

How do you define good design?
Things with meaning. As antoine expert once said
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Tej Chauhan answers Despoke’s Questions


We caught up with Tej Chauhan ahead of his appearance as one of four Emerging Designers ay 100% Seminars this week at 100% Design which starts on Wednesday.

What made you want to become a designer in the first place?
It’s all I wanted to do, since I was a child. I was always drawing and “inventing” things.

Where did you study design?
Central St Martins.

What was the first thing you designed?
Probably a computer joystick when I was 14 or 15 for a magazine competition. I remember that I liked the combination of ergonomic consideration and selecting a nice colours and materials! My friend Peter Symes taught me how to render it with Magic Markers. It won!
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Chloe Macintosh from Made.com Answers Despoke’s Questions

Despoke caught up with Chloe Macintosh from Made.com ahead of The London Design Festival and the opening of a new 360 degree showroom from Made.com in Notting Hill.

Moving from Foster and Partners to Made.com seems like a big leap , what made you do it ?

After 10 years at Foster and Partners, I wanted to take a break from architecture. Although I enjoyed working closely with Norman Foster on a series of projects, I was getting tired with the long process associated with making a project happen (it takes a minimum of four years to complete a project from the initial concept to fit out). I was also missing a more entrepreneurial approach to business. I was frustrated by the industry which did not offer designers visibility to bring their ideas to the market and who often struggled to find work that would be rewarding financially.

The ‘direct to manufacturer’ business model which started to emerge in other European countries appealed to me straight away as I saw it as an opportunity to connect designers with customers and offer a more transparent approach, finally allowing design and price to coexist.

When did you come up with the Made.com business model and how ?
In 2007, I joined Brent Hoberman to develop the 3-dimensional design tools for his new home decorating platform mydeco. This led to me leading the mydeco Design Board and collaborating with Philippe Starck, Marc Newson and Terence Conran on design projects. In 2010, I co-founded the savvy business model of Made.com, with Ning-Li and Julien Calléde.

The idea for Made.com had its first spark in the mind of Ning Li. Ning moved to France in his teens and after graduating, he wanted to buy his first sofa. He immediately faced a dilemma; the sofa he wanted was £3,000 which he could not afford. He therefore had to substitute design and quality for a high street version at more reasonable price. Ning’s home town is one of the largest manufacturing cities in China for furniture so he started talking to factories locally to understand better the process associated with exporting furniture and quickly concluded that cutting out the middle men that each takes their cut was the crux of a new business plan.

After meeting Ning in London and discussing the idea, it was clear to me that there was a perfect opportunity not only to connect customers directly to factories but also to collaborate with designers to bring their ideas to market and create a brand that could revolutionise how the design world currently operates.

Who’s the best designer Philippe Starck, Marc Newson or Terence Conran ?
As a designer, you often get asked which designer is your favourite and really, there is not one person in particular that I can name. I have worked closely with all three and they have very different personalities which translate into their designs and style. I like Marc’s very technical approach bringing engineering into his designs. However, I feel closer to Terence and Philippe’s mission to democratise design. They had an incredible impact on the design world but also on the way the consumer can access and understand design. Designing for the masses is a great mission statement and something that is particularly close to my heart- this is my main focus at Made.
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Nik Roope answers Despoke’s Questions


Image via uk.fab.com

Despoke caught up with Nik Roope to ask him a few questions of the talk he is chairing at 100% Seminars next week.

1 Why is a CD of a digital agency talking at a design fair ?
I have a few hats. Having many hats sounds awkward because you can only really put one hat on at once. Unless you stack them on top of each other! So as well as being a creative director of a digital creative company I’m also creative director of Hulger, a product company. Some creative people sit neatly in a discipline, some sprawl comfortably across several (that’s me).

2 As well as being a CD you design and market your own products has this helped you understand and work with clients ?
Working in different kinds of companies gives very different perspectives. Perspectives lead to insights, empathy and knowhow that can be a potent mix when they all come together. We’re all very wedded to the idea of specialists and masters but in many ways specialism narrows and neuters.

3 Your talk is about Connecting Commerce . Do you feel the Internet is now in a position to revolutionise distribution of physical products as it has with digital products ?
We’ve accepted that things that can be digitised and distributed via the internet have been altered forever. Music, films, books etc. But there is a new revolution taking place that is changing the mechanics that join ideas, products, distributions and markets. The changes are not so easy to detect but the effects will be profound, even though these nascent trends are only just surfacing. Despite the complexity I think it’s very exciting for those with something to share.

4 Can you tell us a little bit about the speakers at your seminar ?
Jane from Sugru’s been developing a product that breaks established categories. Is it glue? Is it Blue Tac? Is it utilitarian or is it recreational? Whatever it is, the stuff is compelling and Jane is using the web to spread the good news, slowly seducing the world with her wonderful product but in very unconventional ways. Tracy Doree’s Llustre, now FAB UK completely dynamises the retail experience and brings fresh products to an invigorated marketplace. The approach creates new bandwidth for products that would otherwise suffocate in a static environment where competition for attention stifles even the stand out-products. Berg’s Little Printer, together with Berg Cloud demonstrates how the boundaries between physical and virtual can be usefully blurred in order to create the really compelling product concepts of our times. Oh and there’s me and my light bulbs.

5 How soon will we be downloading and printing physical products to our house ?
It’s already happening now, just not in so many houses. Like the cognoscenti of computing or the early adopters of VCR, home 3D printers are few and far between but are gaining in numbers and momentum. Costs are coming down, utility is going up. We’ve seen these patterns before.

6 Do you feel the changes will empower product designers or will I.P infringement bankrupt them all instead ?
As always some will go bankrupt, some will get rich. As the ladle of progress stirs the soup there are always winners and losers. But from what I’ve seen before new entrants and challengers have most to gain providing they can establish new attack strategies using these new potent tools. The thing that really interests me creatively in this area is looking beyond the vision of reproduced products to infinitely customisable, personalisable elements that can now afford to beak away from the cookie cutting production line.

7 Final Question – Isn’t It all a bit much ? Don’t you just want to go and live in a cottage by the sea with no mobile/broadband /phone signal ?
I’ve heard a phrase a lot recently that I really like. You hear politicians saying it a lot. “Grasp the nettle.” It kind of describes what I feel is the right approach with all this stuff. It is exhausting, it is complex and confusing and destabilising. But sitting on the sidelines guarantees marginalisation in some form or other. The advantages of being in far outweigh the pain of the grazes and cuts acquired in the “mosh pit” of this revolution. If we can find the confidence to really take it on we can learn and discover so much, creating new ideas, methods and models as we journey forth.

Nik chairs CONNECTING COMMERCE – A NEW NEGOTIATION BETWEEN MAKERS AND MARKETS with Matt,Tracey and Jane
Friday 21st from 15:00 to 15:45 More Info:www.100percentdesign.co.uk/

Jonas Lindvall answers Despokes Questions


What made you want to become a designer in the first place?
I started out studying art, I found myself feeling a bit isolated doing that so I
changed direction a bit and started to study Architecture and Design.

Where did you study design?
I started out in Gothenburg, then I was a guest student at the RCA, and after that I was a guest student at the Royal Academy in Copenhagen.

What was the first thing you designed?
A telephone.
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Caroline and Nelson Santos of Mette’ answer Despoke Questions.

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What made you want to become a designer in the first place?
For Nelson, who initially spoke Portuguese as a child growing up in England, drawing was the most effective way to communicate while his English was improving. Combined with a Lego obsession, his imagination and means to communicate it became very strong, and becoming a designer was inevitable. For me growing up it was a battle between art and languages – but art won, later becoming visual communication. It allowed me to pull together everything I love from the world around me – colour, pattern, fashion, objects, travel, words.

Where did you study design?
Nelson studied Interior & Furniture Design at Plymouth, and I studied Fashion Promotion & Illustration at the University for the Creative Arts.

What was the first thing you designed?
We each worked independently in our respective disciplines; Nelson mainly in concepts, layout and 3D visualisation for commercial projects, and me specialising in creative, branding, illustration and design for a variety of sectors, gradually leading to hospitality. We’re now pooling our individual influences and experiences and applying them together across product, furniture and accessories, starting with our Chop & Change system.

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Michael Young Answers Despoke’s Questions

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What made you want to become a designer in the first place?
A lack of other options as I was quite unemployable , I guess when I was younger I was just slightly A.D.D and also hated authority , I recently got given an old school report from my mother and it started off with : ” If only Michael had the ability to read and write he could make some progress in class “

So the arts beckoned early on ….

Where did you study design?
Kingston Poly but I went there because I saw a joke on the toilet wall which said
” What happened to Bernard’s personality ?” And later that day I met this fat kid
called Bernard and it clicked and I have been laughing ever since.

What was the first thing you designed?
I guess it was a small woven light which sold very well , I had a few ex girlfriends weaving them , like a sweat shop.

How do you define good design?
Good design is a holistic experience where process , material and economy are combined together well.

What would you be if not a designer?
I quite like mundane tasks like moving boxes or gardening , a gardener would be nice.

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Which design of yours are you most proud of and why?
The new Bramah light for EOQ , because it makes complete sense ..one extrusion can make endless shade forms and it’s giving amazing light , you see all of these lights now where one thinks about the light quality ..this has great light.

Anything in your career you wish you’d done differently?
Oh plenty but I live thru design as an open dialogue so I bare my mistakes well and if you do some good things then you’re entitled to do some bad things , we all learn as we go …

Which designers do you most admire?
I tend to avoid talking about design and the industry, I’ve had most of the conversations you can have for 20 years, for professional reasons I get involved when I need to. I’m looking forward to meeting up with Ross Lovegrove on this trip as we get on well together and it’s fun….

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Which product do you wish you’d designed/do you think is an example of good design?
The E-Type Jag , captured a great moment in time. Also several Hans Wegner chairs , im a big fan .

At 100% Design you will be running a seminar called :
From Shoreditch to Sheung Wan and back’ can you tell us a bit about what this will cover?

When I moved to China I put a logo on my door which said “FROM SHOREDITCH TO SHEUNG WAN ‘ . Before Shoreditch became what it is now I lived in a cellar in Redchurch Street with damp and rats and i’d bump into Michael Marriot , a big smile chipping down the road on a daily basis really , so it was a charming time , we were all skint and any object you found that was useful improved your life , it was great. Sheung Wan in Hong Kong when i arrived was like that , full of locals and now you cant move for coffee shops …so its really about going full circle via design making gentrification …if you know what I mean.

You can see Michael Young at 100% Seminars at 100% Design this September
details here : www.100percentdesign.co.uk

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