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.