Monday, 1 February 2010

Chatting with Stephen and Robin of Show & Tell Design

Today we're chatting with Stephen and Robin of Show & Tell Design.

Established in 2009, British design company Show & Tell is a partnership between Robin Shannon and Stephen Morgan based in London. Stephen’s flair for industrial design and Robin’s talent as a designer-maker means Show & Tell work on a wide range of projects. They are currently selling their own product range, working on bespoke commissions and offering a room planning and layout service to both the public and professionals.

They are also really entertaining and fun to have in the Herd studio!

Tell me a bit about your background – what journey led you to what you are doing now?

Stephen – My journey in a nutshell would be fine art to graphics @ camberwell art college to products @ University of Brighton to industry working @ Mathmos. Then finally starting Show&Tell Design with my business partner and design buddy Robin Shannon. Robin – I studied a really practical workshop based B.A in Furniture Design & Craftsmanship at Buckinghamshire University. It was important for me to learn a trade that meant I could develop an idea from concept through to a finished piece independently. Since graduating I’ve worked for other firms as a designer, maker and draughtsman, the plan now is to channel this experience into projects for Show&Tell.

How would you describe your work?

Playful objects that are thought provoking and conversation starting. Functional products; unconventional in design but which are underpinned by the quality of materials and manufacture.

What does a typical day at work involve for you?

Depends on the projects were working on but definitely begins with hitting snooze button a couple of times followed by a brisk cycle down to the HERD studio. We divide our time between business and design, creative dialogue (arguing with each other) over potential new products and development for existing ones. Wrapping up with an overview of what should be attacked the following day.

Tell me about one of your favorite pieces and why?

Stephen – I have definitely been brainwashed by the Apple brand, but the iconic iMac by Steve Ives is a masterpiece and if only I had changed my surname that could have been me, I guess that is the industrial designer coming out in me. Robin – I’ve loved the Cinderella table by Jeroen Verhoeven since I first stumbled across it a couple of years ago it’s a great example of creativity and cutting edge technology combining to create a beautiful object.

Tea or coffee while you work?
Stephen – Coffee is the primary choice but followed with a tea chaser I like to keep my taste buds guessing. Robin – Tea followed by biscuits for me, preferably chocolate bourbons.

Music or silence while you work?
Definitely music the genre of the day depends on which of us won the argument in the morning.

Where do you find creative inspiration – nature, travel, books, the web etc?
Stephen - I like to have an initial concept that will come predominantly from inside my head (don’t know exactly where from as I am always surprised by the stuff I find in there) I then will use exhibitions, day to day life and of course Google to assist my creative journey. Robin – I like to spend a lot of time day dreaming and try to surround myself with people who won’t settle for second best.

Which other creative people do you admire?

Stephen – “Leonardo Da Vinci, Phillipe Starck, Richard Branson and weird but true department stores and independent design boutiques.” Robin – The legend that is Terence Conran has always been someone I’ve looked up to, also Gareth Neal a London based designer maker who really goes the extra mile with all of his projects.

What are you looking forward to?
The results of all the hard work and late nights that we’ve been putting in down at the studio for the last couple of months.

What/where was the last great meal you ate?

Lunch at Franco Manca in Brixton Market possible the best pizzas we’ve ever had!

What was the last great thing you purchased?
Stephen – The iPhone hands down! Robin – Heaters for studio, the January cold snap could of lead to frostbite in Brixton otherwise!

Which galleries / shops / markets would you recommend in London to see the work of local artists?
Stephen – I think that pop up stores, fairs and restaurants are amazing, they mirror the throwaway society that we live in but in a way that makes you appreciate the value of something, ‘you don’t know what you got ‘till it’s gone’.

Where would we find you on a typical Saturday morning?
Stephen – In bed. Robin – Running late for whatever I had planned to get done that day.

Where would we find you on a typical Sunday afternoon?

Stephen – At Clapham’s Farmer’s Market buying stuff to eat, I like food almost as much as design. Robin – Sunday afternoons are my time off, I like to go for a climb at the Castle Climbing Centre in Manor House followed by a Sunday roast and beers at the local pub.

London’s best kept secret?
Robin - Harrington’s Pie and Mash shop in Tooting Broadway is well off the beaten track but definitely worth a visit for slice of Traditional London.

Saturday, 16 January 2010

The Brief

Obviously everybody in the Herd team is working on their individual projects, but we're also working on a joint project called Decaydence.

... what is Decaydence?

Well, last week James sent out a brief for us to look over, so over the past seven days we've all been thinking about how we might respond to it through our respective creative mediums.

Decaydence is a play on the words decadence - indulgence, debauchery and immorality - and decay - ruin, dilapidation and corrosion - and the brief asks us to question how these things are reflected in Herd's home town of Brixton, both in the past and currently.

In terms of its development, Brixton followed a similar time line to the Decadent movement so it seemed fitting to draw on this. (To find out more about the Decadent movement and read the full brief see the side bar).

In response to the brief Polly and Harriet will be designing a range of T.shirts,
Stephen and Robin will be refurbishing a decaying chair and Suzie will be working on a photographic series about surface.

Each the creatives will be focusing on the local area and how decadence and decay are imbued within it.

Keep checking out the blog or come and visit the shop to see how we're progressing!

Friday, 15 January 2010

Working Away

... and amassing a huge heating bill.

Friday, 8 January 2010

Chatting with ... Polly Wilkinson

We hit off the Herd chit-chat with Polly Wilkinson. Polly is one quarter of fashion design quartet Draw in Light. A Brighton University graduate with big ambition, Polly talks to us about what inspires her and where she's heading. Polly's work is on sale at the Herd in Brixton shop and you're likely to catch her working most days at the studio.

Polly has worked for Dublin based Designer John Rocha as well as London vintage archive studio Eyefix International. She’s worked as a stylist on music videos, has traveled to small villages in India and stayed with gypsies, makes an annual pilgrimage to Sonar festival in Barcelona and believes in the ceremony of tea, with cake, every day. Much of her inspiration is based on lifestyle, culture and the traditions that come along with being British.

Tell me a bit about your background – what journey led you to what you are doing now?

I graduated from the University of Brighton in 2008, showcasing my solo collection at graduate fashion week. From then onwards received orders from the collection through BENGT Fashion Online Boutique. I’ve been designing ever since; collaborating with life long friend and fashion inspiration Harriet Barford. In December 2009 we formed Draw in Light, a creative collective made up of me and Harriet (fashion print designers) Graphic Artist - Aimee Marshal and Web/Product Manager - Kate Bronte-Stewart.

How would you describe your work?

Whimsical print/pattern based design. Drawing inspiration from every country, culture and lifestyle, past and present high-end fashion, urban trends and musical movements.

What does a typical day at work involve for you?

I wake up take a deep breath, make myself a good breakfast and look forward to the day ahead. Designing in our Brixton studio, Herd. This could be toiling a t-shirt, gathering research to design prints or prepping screens and getting my hands dirty.

Tell me about one of your favorite pieces and why?

At present my favorite design piece is a bright red romper suit with bat wings, it’s amazing to dance in and the print is focused on the royal family at a ceremony at Westminster Cathedral.

Tea or coffee while you work?

Tea, I am English after all …

Music or silence while you work?

At present I’ve been listening to Disco! In fact I’m listening to it now.

Where do you find creative inspiration – nature, travel, books, the web etc?

I’m a sensory person; I’m inspired mainly by people, places, funny things that happen to me day to day. I’m always looking at the irony in life and the humor of it all.

Which other creative people do you admire?

Photographer - Tim Walker, Film Maker/Artist - Sam Taylor Wood, Designer/Illustrator - Julie Verhoeven, Set Designer - Tony Hornecker. The designers at Miu Mui I find particularly inspiring presently. So many more! Including a lot of up and coming friends, Sculptor - Robert Storey, Illustrator- Jessica May Underwood, Stylist - Florence Raymond.

What are you looking forward to?

Tomorrow … the future. I’m in a permanent state of excitement. Designing my next collection with Harriet. We’re calling it - Swinging from the Chandeliers!

What/where was the last great meal you ate?

Breakfast… duck eggs on rye bread.

What was the last great thing you purchased?

A quilted leather bomber jacket, diamante encrusted leggings and my i-Phone.

Which galleries / shops / markets would you recommend in London to see the work of local artists?

Herd (where I am work and sell my designs) 67-68 Brixton Village Market, 127 Brick Lane (a great boutique for big and small designers), Wolf & Badger & Salon Gallery (they are always promoting the work of current emerging local artists). Dover Street Market is always an inspiring destination especially when showcasing home grown talent.

Where would we find you on a typical Saturday morning?

In the Herd studio at Brixton Village Market or running my vintage stall at the Truman Brewery!

Where would we find you on a typical Sunday afternoon?

At the Lux in Spitalfields eating a late breakfast of eggs benedict.

London’s best kept secret?

The John Soane Museum.

Monday, 4 January 2010

First Day at Work '10

Cold would be an understatement. Today we were frozen to the bone.

Nevertheless, we are open.

More heaters tomorrow ...

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Opening Night ... Party!

Well ... the work paid off. On Dec 17th we managed to rustle up enough of our nearest and dearest to come and support us on our opening night. The evening was held in conjunction with Space Makers and our new market stall neighbors.

Harriet's Ts and tea towels were a top seller, Robin and Steven garnered interest in their lighting designs (one woman wanted to order over a hundred of their standing light shades ... alas, she didn't have the coin), Jackie and Suzie exhibited their photos and everybody loved Polly's dress designs and Aimee's Christmas jumpers.

But without a doubt the most popular item of the evening was the White Rum Punch, kindly donated and served by our friends at The Dogstar. And what a punch this rum did have, it ensured that Herd was the place to be on the night, with market goers milling about our space in droves. Jackie's H motif-ed Guiness mince pies were another draw card, as was music by Beat Magnetic and The Elevens. Oh, and how could we forget Jackie's alter ego, the crazy lady herself, Penelope ... more of whom features in the video below.

Opening Night ... Set Up

There was loads of work to do before the big night ... here we are in action.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Hay Bales and Epic Journeys

James and Kate are collecting hay bales and journeying from Brighton to Brixton today. Why? All will be revealed at Thursday nights opening...

Monday, 14 December 2009

Making Stuff

Over the weekend Robin and Stephen got working on our new desks - super exciting!

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Opening Night

Next thing you know, we're having an opening night party, with music and mulled wine!

Moving In

This is what the space looked like on day dot.
We put some of our work up to make it look a bit pretty ...

And Then ...

James was inundated with applications from keen young creatives. But in the end, only 8 were chosen.

So Herd consists of 9 of London's finest emerging talent spanning fashion, photography, printmaking, architecture, graphic design and more.

So who are these young guns?

We introduce to you ...

Polly Wilkinson: fashion and textile designer + lover of all things British
Kate Bronte-Stewart: vintage collector + qualified massage therapist (yay for us!)
Jackie King: award winning photographer + Guinness mince pie chef supremo
Harriet Baford: screen printer and fabric designer / maker and illustrator + naturist (no, not like that!)
Suzie Blake: photographer, maker + blogger (a closet geek)
Stephen and Robin of Show & Tell Design: creators of all things both useful and beautiful
Aimee Valentine Marshall: graphic designer across print and digital + soon to be creator of Brixton inspired fashions
James Owen Webster: architect and designer + general motivator and inspirer (basically, he made this thing happen)

You'll have the chance to read about what each of the creatives is up to over the coming weeks. We're going to pluck their brains and find out what fabulous things they're up to, who and what inspires them, and why they love being part of Herd.

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Herd People

James was inundated with responses. Hey, which poor struggling artist wouldn't jump at the chance of 3 months of rent free space?

But there was only room for nine. And James picked the following budding creatives ...

Design duo Robin and Stephen of Show & Tell Design
Fashion designer and stylist Polly Wilkinson
Printmaker and fashion designer Harriet
Fashion Designer and vintage afficiando Kate Bronte Smith
Designer and jack of all trades Aimee Marsh
Two photographers Jackie King and Suzie Blake
and of course, the dude who had the idea in the first place, architect and designer James Owen Webster.

And that's the Herd bunch, in a nutshell.

We'll be following up on this with interviews with each of the Herd team. So watch this space!

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

How It All Began

Herd began to grow when James planted this little seed.