“I AM STRIVING TO EXPLORE (AND IMPROVE) PRACTICALITY THROUGH MATERIALS, SHAPES AND CONSTRUCTION, BUT IT IS EQUALLY IMPORTANT TO HAVE A SOLID THEORETICAL BACKGROUND.”
What was the conceptual starting point of your graduate collection?
Materiality and precision are at the core of my design practice. I am interested in how things are composed, so my work is distinguished by clean lines and refined construction. I am carving the link between my passion for interior design and furniture, as well as my fashion accessories background, which brings together industrial, slightly unexpected elements and the elegance and warmth of traditional leatherwork.
The starting point for this collection was the RCA Kensington building itself. It is a fascinating, brutalist piece of architecture: bricks, concrete, pillars and white walls, supporting metal constructions and details, and all the odd shapes and scrap materials found in the workshops – it was working with those shapes and materials and manipulating them, taking them further to the level of luxury objects. At the same time, it was revisiting pattern cutting to find new interesting shapes, considering the impact of colour and refining the techniques.
It was at the RCA Darwin workshops, where I discovered my passion for metal and all things industrial, and for these amazing two years I have been working on how to bring all the elements of my identity together: paper patterns, leather, metal… Hence soft versus supported, cold versus warm and familiar, industrial versus ‘crafty’.
How do you create a visual narrative out of an abstract concept?
I actually wouldn’t say my concept is that abstract. It’s all about materials and construction, so it’s quite ‘real’ at the end of the day. Also, a good commercial awareness allows me to create products that are instantly desirable — bold and tactile. I am striving to explore (and improve) practicality through materials, shapes and construction, but it is equally important to have a solid theoretical background.
Who do you look up to in terms of design?
Discovering the work of Dieter Rams during my undergraduate studies had a really strong impact on me, and I always go back to him. I keep Sophie Lovell’s book next to my bed and often go through the visual archive and theoretical essays. Also, Jean Prouvé’s engineering approach to design is very relevant for my work and I look up to him for ‘technical elegance’. Massimo Vignelli is another great source of wisdom; I recommend everyone to watch him talking about The Art of Timeless Design – he says it all!