Tate Date

Although my interests have largely shifted from art to design in the last few years I still have a deep appreciation for art, plus I now only live a stone’s throw away from the Tate Modern so it seemed rude not to visit.

As a follow on from my confession that my head has in fact been turned by design (sorry Mrs Gately) I feel I should talk briefly about the building itself. The gallery is housed in a disused power station that, before being transformed into the Tate by architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron of Herzog & de Meuron in 1995, was teetering on the edge of demolition. The building has since undergone many further developments but all the original industrious charm of the station was kept in tact – thankfully.

Naturally one of my great loves still remains to be photography, so a combination of photography and industrial steel work had me leaning over the rope to get a closer look.

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Needless to say, I had a really amazing day walking around the Tate, almost rekindling my love for art. And on a stroke of luck, I had the best company, a fellow art lover, which meant that not only could we look at but also discuss the art together. It’s a very nice feeling when you say ‘I like that.’ and someone asks you ‘Why?’ because they’re genuinely interested in what you like about it.

It’s a very nice feeling when you say ‘I like that.’ and someone asks you ‘Why?’ because they’re genuinely interested in what you like about whatever it is you liked. I liked it. Why? Because then we really talked about art.

Week One

The first morning felt like a dream, not only because it had been a long time since I’d been up at 6 am but because that was the first day of my career as an interior designer.

Bleary-eyed I got dressed, in an outfit I’d planned the night before, grabbed my bag, which I’d packed the night before, and gathered up the last few bits; wallet, phone, keys, and my lunch, which I’d made the night before. I felt accomplished already by the time I got to the bus stop. There’s something satisfying about walking the streets before most people have even opened their eyes. Dog owners, early morning joggers, and fellow commuters were my company that morning, it was nice. I’d already anticipated the morning commute being the worst part of my week so I was pleasantly surprised when I quite enjoyed it. Saying that coming back is much less enjoyable. Traveling there is easy with all the anticipation of what I’ll be doing that day putting a spring in my step, but an equal anticipation to be home at the end of the day adds a haste to my footsteps on the way back, and brings out an inner intolerance for slow walkers. Also having said that, it’s only been a week.

I walked into the office to see a neatly piled stack of paperwork and a drawing pack, as well as a Pukka Pad, a dates diary, two pens, and a highlighter in front of my computer on my side of the carved wooden desk. I stifled the grin, said good morning to my new colleagues and thought this is fucking it as I lowered myself into my chair. That morning was spent doing new job things like setting up my email, getting shown around the building I would be spending the majority of the next year of my life in, and of course being given some work to do – after all, this is my job now.

As Philip Watts Design is split 50/50 between product design and interior design, Arun explained that it is important for me to have even a basic knowledge of the products the company has on offer, especially as our studio is also a showroom. So I busied myself referring to the product website to find the names of the handles around the showroom. Then lunch, which as I had no stack of work to do this week has been a great chance to explore the area and test out different lunch spots. I found one that I liked on the third day, right in the sun at the top of a set of steps that leads right down to the Thames.

It didn’t take long for me to start working on one of their ongoing projects. I picked up one of the only residential projects Philip Watts works on. My job was to source furniture options, present them in an InDesign file; including image, where it’s from and how much it costs, also any additional information that might be helpful such as dimensions or other colour or material options. This was something I continued to work on for the rest of the week, all the while listening to the comments fly around the room regarding other projects and getting involved where possible.

I had the opportunity to meet the Nottingham team one afternoon early in the week while Arun was on a Skype call with Phil to discuss some changes the clients had come back with. I also managed to meet the teams’ sweetheart and mascot, Hilda, who you can see on the teams Instagram. I know it’s a cliche to say a company is like a family, but it honestly feels like one. What with Arun throwing the phone at me throughout the day to say hello to various team members, much like my mother does with my grandparents. My nerves ebbed away with each friendly welcoming to the team. Also in true family style, my computer is a lovingly cleared out hand me down.

On Friday the long process of training me to produce a complete drawing pack for the new Greggs national roll out, a design the Philip Watts team is responsible for, began. First learning about the different floor finishes and then onto wall finishes, all the while rapidly writing notes on all the AutoCAD tips I’m learning from the guys as I meticulously work through the tasks I’m given. I think the best thing about beginning my adventure in such a friendly environment is the ability to ask questions and, in some cases, be openly be confused. Fortunately, nothing is too much trouble for my new team, even if it is to explain what a bulkhead is for the 10th time.

We finished off the week with a prosecco toast in the office and then when 5 o’clock hit shortly after we left in the direction of another watering hole for one more before it was time for me to begin my commute home.

I walked to the bus stop with the same grin on my face that I had on my first day, this is is it, I did it. And I think I’m going to like it here…

 

 

Follow my Instagram and Twitter to keep up to date with my adventures before my next blog post, which will hopefully be weekly from now on.

 

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Not that I need much of an excuse to travel into London, the home of all things interesting, but the opening of a new Drop Dead store seemed as good a reason as any.

London is the perfect place to see the old and the new rub shoulders. Whether you like classical Palladian inspired architecture or modern structures, London’s splendours will have you looking up.

Unlike my mother, who remains to believe that graffiti makes a place look ‘scruffy’, I think that graffiti brings a place to life in a way nothing else does. It’s honest; it reflect the personality of its occupants, a view into the mind of the city, a collaged diary of gigs, knitting afternoons and the coolest brands, a public post-it note for all those creative types.

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So one good thing about having practicing and passionate lecturers is that they really have their finger on the pulse of the design world, they know all the trade shows and events coming up. It’s becoming ever more apparent that to be successful in this industry you need inspiration coming from all angles, for this reason when my lecturer mentioned in passing this amazing show that displayed current and new trends in surface design I immediately pencilled it in my bullet journal. I had to go.

I am lucky enough to have a handful of amazing friends who always take a keen interest in my degree, as I in turn do with theirs, and my blog. This, much to my pleasure, took over an entire evening with one particular friend. We whiled away the hours talking about the beautiful opposition between brick and glass, and for some time, the photos featured in this post. As soon as she saw the red carpet runners above she was immediately reminded of the warm and eccentric markets of Turkey she had visited some years earlier.

One prominent trend was tactile surfaces. This idea was perfectly encapsulated in the work of University of Huddersfield student Emma Linney. These 3D installations are not only beautiful additions to either an inside or outside space, but also have acoustic properties.

Embedded detailing was also a popular trend at the show, featuring many marbled and metallic surfaces.

Living walls were also high on the agenda. One eye catching display from Innerspace Cheshire boasted the new innovative approach to make the living wall much more practical and affordable. The premise is moss, carefully dried with a focus on keeping the plants soft texture. From there they can dye it a variety of colours and the possibilities are endless.

Naturally the show also presented a vast array of tiles, which was met with no objection from myself, with a heavy focus on geometric patterns, tonal colours and bright block colours.

Trade shows like this one are not only a fantastic opportunity to spark inspiration but also to make contacts (something that I didn’t realise until I got there and was sadly unable to oblige people asking for my business cards due to my lack of having one) and to learn new things. In the afternoon I settled myself on the perfect seat in front of the main stage and listened to a talk on the design of educational facilities, and I only scoffed once.

Wonky Wivenhoe

Moving home for the summer can be exciting but unfortunately you’d be naive to think that your summer there will in any way mirror the previous. You soon learn the hard way that people move on with their lives; people you once called friends are now preoccupied in new relationship, busy working, off travelling or plain disconnected from you now. It can get lonely when you’re sitting on your sofa slowly scrolling through your contacts for what feels like the millionth time, vetoing almost everyone for one reason or another. Thankfully, theres always family to fall back on when social prospects are looking glum.

Thus followed Libby and Mumma’s Adventure to Wivenhoe, a little town not too far away from my home town, for a spot of lunch and a nose around.