Design, Interiors & Lifestyle Blog
Design, Interiors & Lifestyle Blog

Keep London Creative and a peek into Morag Myerscough’s work studio.

I love London as it is such a vibrant city, rich in culture and creativity. There is always a fresh buzz of activity in the art, design and fashion scene.

London brings boundless inspiration and opportunities for creatives, and in return, this network of talents help the city grow its economy, and position itself as one of the world’s top cultural destinations.

The scarcity of studio spaces for work, and soaring costs of rent is putting threat to this working relationship.

Greenwich Peninsula in conjunction with Wallpaper magazine have recognised this issue of a lack of creative space in the capital, and have come together to promote a Keep London Creative #KeepLondonCreative campaign.

As part of the Keep London Creative campaign, Greenwich Peninsula has asked me to interview a renowned London creative in his/her work studio. Keep London Creative Introducing you to Morag Myerscough, one of London’s most colourful and prolific designers.

Morag has worked on a wide range of projects both locally and internationally.

You can find her commissioned work at cafés, hospitals and landmark locations such as the Design museum and Tate Modern.

I first came across Morag’s work at the Love festival in the Southbank.

Morag was definitely a busy artist in demand.

She had perfected the skill of multi-tasking and I saw that in action on the day of the interview.

I was impressed by how she coordinated a shipment to Las Vegas, where she would be painting for the Life is Beautiful Festival, whilst designing a ping pong table (image above), and having her interview with me. Here is an aerial view of Morag working in her brightly lit studio.

Morag lives above her studio and loves having this convenient accessibility. Her studio has good natural lighting and a large enough space to work in.

I have summarised my interview with Morag in the post below. I asked Morag if it was important who her neighbours were when she was at work.

Morag said that she tended to work in solitude, as that was when she was at her most creative.

She also liked quietness, but acknowledged that noise was not easy to escape from in London.

She valued the influence of her local community, with its rich mix of cultures and creative vibe. Next, I asked Morag what she thought the benefits of living in London as an artist were.

She felt that there was a lot to be gained, because London was already an established industry hub, so providing the necessary springboard and platform for creative work opportunities.

With benefits, came challenges for creatives in London too. I asked Morag what was most difficult about life in the city.

She told me she used to live and work in Clerkenwell, and although she liked it, she soon noticed the neighbourhood becoming more ‘money’.

The gentrification of Clerkenwell inflated rental charges and limited the access of affordable studio spaces for creatives.

She did balance her view, by saying that creatives do sell out too, a normal human response to a property boom.

When I asked Morag how she thought the government could ensure that London becomes sustainable for creatives, she mentioned the Eindhoven project.

I’ve since read up about the project, and think it’s a fabulous way of keeping London creative.

The Eindhoven project was a redevelopment of an area of that city previously owned by Phillips, into a creative neighbourhood.

Many of the disused factory buildings were converted into light filled studio spaces. Morag mentioned a few other land regeneration schemes that offered studio spaces to creatives.

It seems to me that this should be the way forward for London too.

Here’s one of Morag’s recent project, a bright and colourful bench. The painting is so precise and I love her colour palette. Hope you have enjoyed the colourful tour and the discussion of a problem facing creatives in London.

Please join us in the #KeepLondonCreative campaign on Instagram, by posting a photograph focusing on your workspace or you in your workspace.

Explain why it’s important for you to work and have your studio in London.

Do include the hashtag #KeepLondonCreative and tag @ThePeninsulist and @wallpapermag before 25th September 2017 for a chance to be featured on wallpaper* online.

(All photography are by and Copyright of Geraldine Tan, editor of Little Big Bell. This is a sponsored collaboration with Greenwich Peninsula ( Keep London Creative). All views and opinions if stated, are my own).

I have just returned from an amazing trip to Milan, with the car brand MINI. I was invited to view their MINI LIVING installation called ‘Breathe’ for Salone del Mobile 2017.

Urbanisation combined with a shortage of space for housing is fast becoming a global issue. To help address this issue, the project is exploring different concepts for shared space living, with an eye on also reducing our carbon footprint.

MINI has always had beautifully designed cars with a low carbon footprint, coming from its compact size and efficient engine. The MINI Living project is a testament to their brand value for a more ‘conscious’ way of living, whilst still embracing design. MINI LIVING was launched in 2016 under the creative direction of architect, Oke Hauser (on right).

This year the project commissioned Brooklyn based architect firm SO-IL, to help them showcase this architectural concept for future urban living. Ilias Papageorgiou (on left) represented SO-IL at the event. Here is the BREATHE installation for MINI LIVING. The theme for the build was ‘Air, Light and Water’.

The installation was pre-fabricated after design, then transported to Milan. This home ‘on the move’ could perhaps be a concept solution to the ever increasing global mobility and migration of society.

The structure comprised of a steel frame with a tough, porous white fabric, that filtered light and purified air. There were no bricks and mortar in sight.
The space is designed to be an interactive experience between the three people who would live there and with their surrounding environment.
Here is the simple but perfectly functional kitchen. The basin in the kitchen with its water sourced from the collected rainwater on the roof. The space is for three people to share.  See how the light filters through.
Does this concept challenge your view on material possessions?  Perhaps we should all be thinking of simplifying our lives with a capsule wardrobe? Bedroom number one. Here is the shower area.

This space really makes me think of how the lines between interaction and privacy becomes blurred.  It truly was a beautiful green space indoors. Here is bedroom number two which could also double up as the living room. Looks pretty cosy doesn’t it? At the top of the installation was an oasis of green. It was a communal space filled with oxygen giving plants, and a place for growing vegetables to encourage self sufficiency.

There was also a rain water collection system that channeled water into the home for usage. Alongside the MINI LIVING installation, were three other related commissions.

The first was a live creative project by Assemble, a collective of architects from London with their project called: ‘A factory as it might be’.

Assemble showcased how collaborative working could lead to the production of beautiful clay plates, using natural resources. The plates were then used at the dinner party that I attended.  Pigment dyes used to colour the clay plates. The second commission was the Conscious Café by Laila Gohar, which demonstrated how sustainable living can be a reality.

Wild mushrooms that grew indoors, later made it to our plates for dinner. The leftover fruits from harvest were dried in the sun to make fruit leathers for dessert.

The last commission was an interactive exhibition in a darkened room, playing with the elements of light, water and air by Zaven ( no photo shown here). Here is the installation by night. Doesn’t it look beautiful?

It was so wonderful to tour and experience the MINI LIVING space. It has definitely given me food for thought. Are those questions now swirling in your head too?

I was interested to read about a recent interview by MINI with Ilias Papageorgiou. He was asked whether he thought this collaboration with MINI LIVING brought the idea of sustainable communal space closer to reality.

In his answer, the designer argued that it had been an important exploration of relationships between people and between people and their environments. It was certainly a great platform for researching new ideas and this small beginning can ultimately have a large impact.

Finally, I would love to know what you think. Do you feel that there may be elements here that are a future vision of our homes? If so, what would you like to take with you?

( All photography are by Geraldine Tan, editor of Little Big Bell. This is a sponsored collaborative post with MINI, but all views and opinions are my own).

camille-walala-in-her-studio-photo-by-little-big-bell This coming week marks the start of London Design Festival. It’s a big day in any design blogger’s diary. It can be very daunting too, as our email inboxes become flooded with hard to choose from previews and party invites.

Last year, I was away overseas during the festival, but managed to capture one or two amazing exhibits when I got home.

One of my highlights last year was photographing the work of graphic designer Camille Walala at Aria, a furniture and homewares shop in London. It was called ‘Walala in Da House’, a beautiful homage to the whole Memphis movement that embraced bright colours of the Art Deco and Pop Art era.

For this year’s London Design festival, I had already made a mental note to see the Trafalgar square Crazy golf project. The project would have included designs by Paul Smith, the late Zaha Hadid, Tom Dixon and Camille Walala. However, my plans were dashed when I heard the whole project had been cancelled following a failed Kickstarter campaign.

Imagine my excitement when Natuzzi, the renowned luxury Italian furniture brand, contacted me for an assignment to support their plans for London Design festival.

Natuzzi had commissioned 3 of UK’s leading pattern designers to customise its iconic Re-vive performance recliner chair. The 3 designers chosen were Camille Walala (photo above), Patternity and Eley Kashimoto.

I was delighted to accept the opportunity to go behind the scenes with Camille Walala, to see how she would customise her version of the Re-vive chair. camille-walalas-studio-in-dalston-photo-by-geraldine-tan-little-big-bell It’s always an honour to be able to peek into the workspace of a talented creative. Tucked away in a bright studio, off the main road, in a side alleyway off Dalston, is Camille Walala’s colourful office.

She shares her space with her equally talented set design and prop stylist Julia Jomaa.  memphis-trend-walala-photo-by-little-big-bell Camille’s workspace definitely spoke her style. She was surrounded by her signature palette of bright primary colours, black and bold geometric shapes. camille-walalas-workspace-photo-by-little-big-bell Such a happy and vibrant space don’t you think? camille-walala-london-design-festival-2016-photo-by-little-big-bell Check out that cool red Lego plant pot holder. camille-walalas-sketch-book-photo-by-little-big-bell So how does Camille Walala come up with her designs?

She showed me her book that she used to sketch and record her ideas in, and the large stack of paint swatch cards that she used for colour decisions.

Camille’s designs are instinctive and being a creative myself, I understood how she couldn’t completely explain in words how the design came about. It’s a culmination of the collective inspiration and ideas that only she can visualise in her mind and transfer onto the canvas without the need to explain.The final design does the talking. walala-project-for-natuzzi-london-design-festival-2016-photo-by-little-big-bell This is the initial computer generated design that Camille created for the Re-vive chair. camille-walala-photographed-by-geraldine-tan-little-big-bell Here’s Camille cutting out geometric vinyl shapes to make a stencil that would be used as template to paint over the chair.

The cut out black vinyl shapes do not go to waste, as they are reused as stickers to go on the chair too. test-painting-walala-photo-by-little-big-bell Camille and Julia had tested the enamel paints on a sample of the Re-vive chair’s white leather prior to commencing. walala-for-natuzzi-2016-photo-by-geraldine-tan-little-big-bell Here’s Camille putting the finishing touches to her Re-vive chair. walala-re-vive-chair-photo-by-geraldine-tan-little-big-bell Here is the completed chair in its entirety. It’s absolutely stunning.

If this was for sale, I would definitely buy it. The chair is super comfortable too.

walala-1-photo-by-geraldine-tan Such a special piece don’t you think? I’m also looking forward to seeing what the other 2 designers come up with.

The 3 commissioned Re-vive chairs will be on show in Natuzzi Italia’s Tottenham Court road flagship store window until September 25th 2016 for London Design festival. Do pop over there to see them in real life. I know I can’t wait to go.

Hope you have enjoyed this behind the scenes report and a big thank you to Camille for letting me invade her personal creative space. camille-walala-zebra-crossing-for-london-design-festival-2016-photo-by-geraldine-tan-little-big-bell Before I sign off, I thought I’d let you know of another project that Camille had created for London Design festival. It’s this super colourful zebra crossing in Southwark Street near Borough market in South East London.

Wishing you all a wonderful week ahead.

(All photography are by me, Geraldine Tan, editor of Little Big Bell. Photos are copyright of Little Big Bell. This is a sponsored collaboration with Natuzzi Italia.)

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