Social Togetherness: Pat O’Leary in Conversation

August 29, 2020 · 0 Comments

How do you balance your ceramics with your graphics projects?

I originally studied ceramics in Ireland and practised as a potter for several years, first working for various other potters and then in my own studio in Mid-Wales. After many years and for various reasons I became disillusioned with ceramics. I gave it up to do a graphic design degree at Central St Martins in London. Since then I have been a full-time graphic designer working mainly in the museum sector.

About six years ago the opening of Turning Earth, a community ceramics studio in east London, coincided with my desire to get my hands into clay again. Since then my time is divided between the two disciplines. I cannot say if I will ever go back to potting full time as I still enjoy my graphics work, especially the access it gives me to a world of intriguing artefacts, stories and places.

Where’s home for you now? 

I have lived in Hackney in east London for nearly 20 years and can honestly say I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. I love how multi-faceted, multi-cultural, and slightly anarchic it is. Of course, over the years it has become much more gentrified like so many parts of London, but there is still enough grit left to keep me here.

How do you approach your designs in clay? Do you sketch before you work with the clay? 

I do sketch. I always have a little notebook where I sketch ideas and insert inspiring images. Pretty standard stuff for a designer. As my graphics work is almost entirely created on the computer making pots is such an antidote to that. Getting my hands dirty. Once I have resolved the design of a pot I keep detailed notes of the clay weight and the thrown dimensions.

My training as a graphic designer was to always push the boundaries and that has definitely influenced the way I approach my ceramics. When designing a new vessel I spend a lot of time thinking about how to push it beyond the obvious. Looking for inspiration in unexpected places… 

You predominantly work on the wheel, does functionality come first, and form develops from this?

I love throwing. I used to be a production thrower and love the energy of a thrown pot.

I lived in Australia for a while and worked in a pottery in Sydney. It was there that I really honed my repeat throwing skills. We used to have races to see who could throw the most mugs in an hour. A mug a minute was the target. Whoever topped 60 had the beers bought for them! After a days throwing in the heat of a Sydney summer, a cold beer was always very welcome. 

I prefer to make pots that have a function and can be used on a daily basis. I like to imagine what the piece will be used for, what sort of food will go into it, how it will be held by the user. To me, a clay pot is an innately human thing. The first vessels represented what humans were doing in their everyday lives. While some were decorated they all had a function, made for cooking, eating, ritual and dying.

Having said all that there is a conflict between my natural inclination for the functional and a desire to make more sculptural pieces. A while back I started playing with thrown forms using textured black clay. Trying not to think too much about the finished article I joined the different pieces together making complex articulated forms from a series of simple thrown shapes. What emerged was the tentative beginnings of a series of candleholders coming full circle back to the functional but in a way I had not worked before. I consider that to be a good thing.    

What’s your favoured clay?

Clay and the materials used in making glazes all come from within the earth and I like the final finish and colour to reflect that. The community studio only fires to higher temperatures (1240º centigrade) this suits me as I prefer to work with stoneware clay. The pieces I make for twentytwentyone are all thrown using Staffordshire stoneware which has a higher iron content giving it a rich warm colour with a slightly textured surface character. Many of my pieces are only glazed on the inside, allowing the colour and finish of the glaze to contrast with the colour and texture of the clay body. Added to the same clay the birdfeeders I make have a very small amount of lava dust that I brought back from a trip to the Azores. This gives a nice random speckle to the finish that reminds me a bit of a bird’s egg.

What’s your approach to glazes?

I rarely apply decoration to the surface of my pieces. For me, it is about the form and the quality of the surface. I tend to use muted earthy glaze colours. Pots are formed from the combined effects of three of the four elements – earth, water and fire. When on holiday I am always drawn to the remotest, most windswept parts of the world. One of my favourite landscapes is the west coast of Scotland and the Hebrides Islands where the connection to those elements is very apparent. The thought of the colours and textures of that landscape makes my heart race… in the same way that a piece of ceramics can.

You work in a community studio, sharing kilns and wheels and this will have been significantly interrupted your making during the pandemic.

How has the enforced sabbatical reflected in your thinking and approach to ceramics?

As my graphics work is mainly in the museum sector most of the projects I was involved with came to a halt as museums and visitor centres closed for lockdown. It was hard when the ceramics studio also closed. Apart from suddenly not being able to make, I really missed the interaction with the other members. I worry that I can be pretty fixed in my working practices but being in a studio with other people opens a world of idea exchanges and different processes. Not all are to my taste but it is constantly inspiring seeing the way others work and how everyone’s approach is so different.

We hear you have been making ‘scrubs’ for the NHS, we’d love to share a picture

At the start of lockdown, I thought I would use the time to work on new ideas and develop some of the ones that were unresolved. I am always questioning my work and my abilities, it is ingrained in my psyche and on the whole I think this is a good thing. Constant questioning is the way to learn and move forward. But too much self-criticism can also be debilitating as I rarely feel I am ‘there’ with a piece. I am working on that …!

Daunted by the expanse of time and with no possibility of being able to try out any of the ideas in the studio, not to mention the whole pandemic situation, I found it really difficult to concentrate. Then a chance encounter led me to one of the many groups organising volunteers to make much-needed scrubs for NHS workers. I have always enjoyed sewing and perhaps it was a form of procrastination, but I got really stuck in and for the first couple of months I sewed scrubs pretty much full time. It satisfied my need to make and was surprisingly creative. The scrubs were mostly made from deconstructed bed linen donated in huge quantities. Playing around with different colours and patterns, and especially making scrubs for paediatric wards using children’s bedding was very satisfying.

Any music or podcasts you would recommend?

I mostly like to work in silence. Unless I am working on something mindlessly repetitive I find listening to the radio or podcasts too distracting, and music can manipulate my mood too much interfering with the thought processes and questions that need be answered during the making. Getting deeply into the zone when I am working is probably the closest I will ever get to actually meditating and that is where I am happiest. I didn’t watch or listen to many of the virtual offerings available during lockdown but I did watch some of the broadcasts from the Goldmark Gallery who started their own lockdown TV station. Goldmark is a gallery based in the town of Uppingham in the East Midlands. As well as a wonderful collection of 20th-century paintings and prints, they house an extensive collection of ceramics. Their TV conversations with artists, commentators and interesting individuals have been inspiring and entertaining.

At times while sewing I listened to Fortunately, a BBC Podcast with Jane Garvey and Fi Glover chatting together in lockdown. At times laugh out loud funny, intelligent, as well as tackling difficult topics head on it is a very female view of the world with no holes barred and definitely no annoying superficial political correctness. Honest and very refreshing.

How is the community studio operating post lockdown?

The studio is open again for members, social distancing measures are in place and we now have to book in advance to ensure the studio doesn’t get congested. Masks or face shields are compulsory. Wearing a face shield while working was a bit strange at first but now I hardly notice it. Other than that it is business as usual and it’s great to be making again.

What are you working on now?

Apart from the range I make for twentytwentyone, I have decided to concentrate on the development of work I had started some time before lockdown. I am interested in combining other natural materials with ceramics, in particular willow. I like the work of some mid-century Danish ceramists, one, in particular, Arne Bang, adds beautiful intricate handles to some of his pieces. I decided to have a go at making my own from buff willow for a new teapot. As well as being a more interesting approach it also meant that each handle would be unique having been made to suit the individual pot.

My first attempts work ok as handles but I decided I needed to learn more about the medium and how to work it effectively. Last year I did a willow weaving course at the City Lit with Anne Marie O’Sullivan who makes beautiful contemporary baskets and sculptures. It was a thoroughly enjoyable experience and although there is still so much to learn I feel I can progress with my handle making with a degree more confidence.

I also want to work more on the candle holder series with a view to producing a small limited edition.

What’s your thoughts on the pandemic and how we might find some positive from the time behind us and what is ahead?

For me, lockdown has not been particularly difficult, and in some ways, I have felt like a bystander to the reality of the pandemic. I am lucky enough to live in a beautiful house designed by my partner who is an architect. There is enough space for us both to work in separate parts of the house. Great neighbours meant even in deepest lockdown we never felt cut off. There are plenty of small independent shops in Hackney where we could get everything we needed without having to travel or queue in supermarkets. It has been inspiring to see how inventive the local pubs and cafes have been, turning into shops to keep themselves and their suppliers going.

I am also lucky enough to have an allotment around the corner and in the early days of lockdown that was a real haven, ideal for social distancing I could lose myself completely in preparing the plot for the growing season. The sight of young seedlings emerging is such a sign of hope. Working there I couldn’t help but reflect on how quickly our planet starts to recover when major pollutants are removed. How the air in London had never smelt and tasted so clean. How remarkably clear the light has been day after day. You could really see the difference.

Like most people over the past months, I have spent a lot of time thinking about Covid and its effect on all of us. How vulnerable we are, not just to catch the virus, but because we are so over-populated and interconnected, to the catastrophic effects it is having on the global economy. I have been ranting a lot about the various cock-ups with the supply of sub-standard PPE equipment from government procurement contracts. I wonder why we can’t revert to smaller makers collectively satisfying these orders instead of the big corporate entities.

Does it make sense to carry on the way we have been after this crisis is over? Should this, could this bring about the end of capitalism as we know it? Surely this is a massive wake up call to make lasting changes that are urgently needed to combat the biggest catastrophe we are facing, that of global warming.

Many thanks to Pat for taking the time to talk to us about her creative processes in the context of the recent events. You can follow Pat on Instagram here.


Social Togetherness: Superfolk in Conversation

August 1, 2020 · 0 Comments

In recent weeks and months, we find ourselves increasingly more engaged with nature and the environment. Joanne and Geroid are the founders and designers of Superfolk and draw inspiration from the land and water of Ireland.

What inspires you and informs your work?

There is so much to be inspired by…the work of our peers in design, folk objects, art, music and the work of vernacular makers. We are always inspired by people who plough their own furrow and push out the boundaries of art, architecture, design and craft. Right now there are some really great things happening in the world of food right now. The way chefs and food producers are re-engaging with the idea of sustainability – exploring lesser-known, local and seasonal produce while staying open and eager to learn across cultures and traditions, in particular, informs us as we work. We spend a lot of time exploring the habitats and environments around us in the west of Ireland and of course, this inevitably inspires our work.  

What are your tips for people who wish to see, engage or find our natural environment?

With most things in life our motto is … “start where you are, use what you have, do what you can”.

Whether you are in a city, small town or countryside aim to move more slowly through your environment, your daily commute or trip to the shop. If you can at all, walk or cycle. When you move more slowly through the same environment daily or weekly you will start to notice subtle changes over time. Watch a tree coming into leaf and then over the summer see the colour of the leaf change. And watch blackberry brambles or elderflower trees as flowers are replaced by fruits.

Give yourself a relaxed and enjoyable reason to be outside as much as you can – for some people it is fishing, or gardening, or mushroom hunting. We have a large energetic dog that we have to bring for walks in large open spaces. He pulls us off the couch and out into wild and natural landscapes, even when it is raining.

You don’t need to spend lots of money but get a good raincoat and if the ground is mucky have a pair of comfortable wellies. If you are interested in food, buy or borrow a foraging guide – something small and cheap like Richard Mabey’s “Food for Free” (a classic and a great starting place). Zoe Devlin’s “Wildflowers of Ireland” is also a really great pocket-sized book for wild plant identification. There are lots of good plant identification apps – but it can be nice to put your phone away and be more in the moment with a pocket guide book.

What are your biggest concerns about design and the environment?

Most of us know already that we need to urgently move away from all forms of disposable culture, cheap food production, fast fashion and our reliance on fossil fuels. And yet, we don’t feel empowered that the small changes we can individually make will make any difference. We need to focus more on helping people to feel the positive benefits of their own behaviour change and choices.

In design, we see that a lot of younger designers have little understanding of materials and manufacturing and so are making poor material and production choices in how they bring a piece of work from a computer programme into a physical product. But don’t blame young designers for this knowledge gap – the problem lies within our education systems.

What small measure could people take?

Buy less. And when you do buy, think of spending your money as a form of voting. Before you buy – ask what is this made from, where is it made, who and what am I supporting with my purchase.

What new projects are you working on that you can share?

We are working on some new large block prints for our forest canopy series. As before these will be hand-printed onto washi or Japanese paper. We are also working on some textile-based products and also close to launching a new incense holder to go alongside our “Meander” candle holder range.

We won’t be travelling to any international shows and design fairs this Autumn so we are also working on the best ways to launch these new products directly through our own website, newsletter and social media.

What positive gains do you see coming from the pandemic?

We hope that this might be a defining moment that helps us all see more clearly. A time when what really matters to us collectively and what needs to change can become sparklingly obvious. In Ireland, we have all now seen that we are capable of massive, collective behaviour change. And we have seen that bureaucratic change that may usually happen over years can happen in days when there is urgency and momentum. We are only ever as strong as the weakest and most vulnerable in our society – while this has always been true it has rarely been so visible.

More and more people understand the benefit of regular or daily walks in nature as well as the benefits of slowing down in their lives. We hope that all this will stand to people and help us all as we must also adapt and see the lifestyle and behaviour change benefits as we face the climate crisis. 

Many thanks to Jo Anne and Geroid for taking the time to discuss their influences and processes as part of our Social Togetherness series. Discover a little more about their story below.


Social Togetherness: Ian McIntyre in Conversation

July 16, 2020 · 0 Comments

Today we discuss the re-engineering of the classic Brown Betty teapot with designer Ian McIntyre.

What is the background to the Re-Engineered Brown Betty design?

I’ve been researching the history of the Brown Betty teapot for years as part of my PhD thesis exploring the value of craft practices within industrial production. Today the Brown Betty teapot is a much loved British design classic. We can trace the first iterations all the way back to the 1700s. It has been slowly evolving ever since then – the hands of numerous makers, rather than one single creator, are responsible for its famous form. Its design is about practicality – from the early employment of the local red Etruria Marl clay that was workable, economical and the first in Stoke-on-Trent to reliably withstand the thermal shock of boiling water, to the deep brown Rockingham glaze – developed to hide tea stains and mask imperfections made by heavy-handed craftsmen on the factory floor. This process has resulted in a utilitarian and unpretentious object that has transcended fashions and trends to become an icon of British design. 

During my research in Stoke-on-Trent, I stumbled across Cauldon Ceramics – the last remaining British manufacturer of the pot. Initially, I was interested in analysing their product and tracing their lineage – the object didn’t strike me as something that should be tampered with. But through archive research, buying up vintage Brown Betties on e-bay and rooting through trade catalogues, I realised that some of the most innovative design details had been lost over the years. So we set about re-instating them along with improving the design, which seemed in keeping with the history of its development. We’ve re-introduced lost and original features, whilst conserving all important characteristics that have been in place since the Brown Betty first emerged. A patented ‘locking lid’ and a ‘non–drip spout’ have been brought back, plus there is a subtle tweak enabling the pot to stack and store efficiently. A loose-leaf tea basket has also been added. It was important to me that the design approach was in keeping with the history of the object – driven by function and shunning style. 

Do you use at home?

We use it if more than one person is having a tea. Since the pandemic, we’ve been in the flat as a family much more and it’s had lots of use which has been nice.

Is a favourite tea or concoction/recipe you can share that makes best use of your design?

I’m very unsophisticated when it comes to tea culture – I just stick a couple of Yorkshire bags in there. I suppose this is in line with the history of the object – throughout its lifetime it’s remained affordable, utilitarian and unpretentious.

What new projects are you working on that you can share?

I’m about to launch a collection of flecked stoneware crockery with a lovely new British brand called Monoware. I’m also currently working on a new collection of objects for Cauldon which again tap into the history and utilise the qualities of the red Etruria Marl clay that they work with.

Many thanks to Ian for taking the time to speak to us, we look forward to seeing the new collections.


Social Togetherness: Inga Sempé in Conversation

July 4, 2020 · 0 Comments

With many still working from home and restaurants slowly reopening we are doing much more preparation of food and drink. We have asked the designer Inga Sempé to share her experiences, with particular reference to her design for UK firm Crane Cookware.

What was your philosophy and objectives when creating the cast iron pan?

I wanted to create an object that doesn’t look directly drawn with the most basic tools from the computer programmes. I mean a curve doesn’t have to be always half a circle or a quarter of a circle. Curves can have some other rules.  An oval is not obliged to be made by two parallel lines joined with a half-circle neither…I looked a lot on Ebay at all the cast irons pan that are available, from the most recent to the oldest from the 19th century. It was the first times I was doing it because I was not really familiar with those kinds of cooking utensils, and I even had never seen a double grid pan… I wanted it to look visually light and not aggressive, more technical. Just friendly, and recognizable with the distinctive stripes in a herringbone pattern… I wanted it to be easy to use with the double pouring spouts for left and right-handed… 

Have you been using it recently and if so, do you have a simple recipe you would share?

Yes, I have used it on fish with the fennel that I grow every year on my windows. I also use it with zucchinis and eggplants and the herringbones that appear on them is very nice. 

What aspects of the pandemic have bought positive gains for you, your work or your family? 

The pandemic was not a hard time for us as we are living in a nice and light place in Paris. But I was thinking a lot about the people living in tiny and dark places. The positive side of it is that all wild herbs have grown on the streets of Paris, every seed had time to grow in the tiny holes of the macadam and walls. It shows that the way we treat vegetal is as stupid as the way we treat animals and hair on women bodies….

Any new designs you would like to share and thoughts for the future?

In Milan that was supposed to happen in April, I was supposed to present a new sofa system and a cast iron candleholder with Hay, some glass containers with Glas Italia, a collection of ceramic tiles with the Italian company Mutina, a wooden stool with the small and qualitative Swedish company, Articles… All those should be released around September and December… My thoughts for the future is that cast iron is a very old material which still has a great future…

Many thanks to Inga for taking the time to talk to us, we can’t wait to see her new designs.


Social Togetherness: Bessie Austin in Conversation

July 2, 2020 · 0 Comments

The family-run business, Austin Austin, is dedicated to producing organic skincare products using the finest natural ingredients. Today we talk to one half of the father-and-daughter founded brand, Bessie Austin, as part of our Social Togetherness series.

What started you on your path to manufacture responsibly and how do you define your company philosophy?

I grew up surrounded by the environmental principles of natural and organic produce. Until quite recently, this was an alternative way of living which hadn’t yet captured the imagination of most. I have never disagreed with the principles underpinning my parents’ more environmentally responsible way of living but growing up I did wish that the products (outside of food) didn’t have to compromise function and aesthetics. As global interest in organic and natural grew, the science and production around organic advanced too. This opened up the possibility of creating a collection that was aesthetically considered, high performing and responsibly manufactured. These are the cornerstones of our company philosophy.

Who assisted in the design?

We worked with artist Christian Newby on the Indian ink drawings you see on our boxes and bottles. 

Any hints on how to use and maximise the benefits of Austin Austin products. 

Hands are taking a lot of wear at the moment. I keep a hand cream on my desk so I can apply regularly and catch my hands when they are completely dry which helps the cream to sink in more easily. You only need a pea-sized amount and I like to give each hand a short massage during the application, particularly around the palm and between the fingers. Our palmarosa & vetiver hand cream helps condition the skin with ingredients such as grape seed, sunflower seed, shea butter and coco butter. While extracts of plants, grasses, seaweed and algae moisturise and protect those well-washed hands.  

What aspects of the pandemic have bought positive gains for you, your work or your family?

I have a daughter who is coming up to a year old. Lockdown has allowed my husband to work from home which has given them the time to grow close. Her changes and developments are almost daily at the moment and it’s incredibly special to witness these together. Today she started pushing herself up to stand for a few moments. 

Any new designs/products you would like to share and thoughts for the future?

We have a second collection in development at the moment. We are working with a new artist and are excited to announce the designs soon. We were hoping to get them on the shelf in time for Christmas but due to covid we are now aiming for the new year. In terms of the future landscape, perhaps as we continue to see the environmental impact that our buying decisions have, making conscious and careful choices like opting for certified Organic products will become ever more important.

Many thanks to Bessie for taking the time to speak to us.


Social Togetherness: Mikiya Kobayashi in Conversation

June 18, 2020 · 0 Comments

As a company, we aim to offer designs that enhance the way we live. Cooking and eating at home focusses our attention towards the stories around functional homewares and we are asking the creators for their insight. Today we are talking to Mikiya Kobayashi in Tokyo.

What is the background to your design for the Tate Otama ladle?

Every design project starts by looking at our daily life. That’s because there are so many design tips in our daily lives that can trigger new interesting ideas.

As you may know, the living space in Tokyo are often very compact, and so are the kitchens. It was keeping this in mind that I came up with the idea of a ladle to stand up by itself and save space.

Do you use it at home?

Of course, I do, we actually use it often at the studio too when we cook lunch all together.

Is there a simple recipe you can share that makes the best use of your design?

Recently, we have started our own YouTube channel. There you will find already a video where we introduce Tate Otama through a dessert recipe. I will be very happy if you could have a look at it here. In addition to that, we are also introducing videos about life in Tokyo and about our products.

What new projects are you working on that you can share?

Among the products, we are designing a wide range of typologies. One of them is a collection of wallpapers presented by Sangetsu, a Japanese building materials manufacturer. The concept was to cut out the beautiful moments hidden in everyday life and express them into the wallpapers. You can find beauty even in elements that may seem negative at first glance if you are able to adapt your perspective. This reflects also our philosophy since we create designs that fit our current lifestyle according to the perception of daily moments. Please also see the movie on the YouTube channel.

What positive gains do you see coming from these times of change?

By spending more time at home with my family, I almost felt like my life was starting again. I have come to think deeply about what I need to enrich and fulfil my everyday life, and as a designer, I want to create what we need in this very specific moment.

Many thanks to Mikiya Kobayashi for his observations and taking the time to talk to us.



Social Togetherness: Sir Kenneth Grange in Conversation

June 4, 2020 · 0 Comments

Portrait by Andy Sewell

twentytwentyone are honoured to work with wonderfully creative designers, makers and manufacturers from all over the world. Today we are talking with Sir Kenneth Grange.

Where’s home for you? 

Smart answer is ‘wherever the heart is’…more prosaically; both Devon and London for very different reasons have been happy homes – apart from the loved one who comes with me – I have a workshop in both…

What are the highlights of your home-working day?

Waking up with as few aches and pains as the aged corpus allows.

What creative pursuits are you doing now that you ordinarily wouldn’t manage?

Attending the to-do 20-30-year-old pile of problems – physical easements, for the host of things to be improved. 

Are you learning a new skill, craft or hobby?

No. I had always a fond hope that when I’d less on the plate I’d go back to playing the trombone – I had some good memories as a boy bandsman in the Sally Army. And a weakness for dancing – I spent hours weekly at the Palais de dance – Hammersmith, showing off. But there’s no denying the realities of old bones…..

What positive change might come from Covid-19 for you, or your wider community, or the world at large?

I do suspect that the ancient practice of working from home will be more common. So, it might make whatever intercourse we had daily at work more valuable when it happens. And, tho’ momentous, it might enforce a longer life from what we have. I really do think that clothes worn only for a day are immoral. They might also dump the monstrous ‘How to spend it….

Any interesting projects, exhibitions or launches for later this year that you can share?

Whatever my next project demands. With Anglepoise I’m very optimistic and I’m very keen on attacking waste – effort as much as stuff. So better storage – with less effort: In this house in the 70’s I made all the lower kit cabs. pull out so that you can see and access stuff at the bottom back. Now with a remake we only have drawers. Again you/we can get at stuff…..

And a slipper regime should be mandatory if you install quality flooring. To install something knowing that you are going to FIU seems both wasteful and disrespectful….The cathedral builders knew a thing or two about designing for use….

Given time to reflect, what would be your wish for a new piece of furniture or lighting? 

One valuable consequence of hitting my to-do pile was exhuming a beautifully made and handsome top end record deck. A Transcriptor. Anyone who knows Hi-Fi will identify with it. And I’ve just set it up after years, so sound quality is a revelation after the crap that comes with all TV now – my favourite hate; TV sound quality! A good example of one step forward and – at least – one back. Others; mobile vs landline – the sound quality and constancy are pathetic.

Any music or podcasts you would recommend? 

Yesterday I enjoyed the MJQ and Quincy Jones and Stan Getz – what talents, unimproved by studio technicians – just sheer skills….And I’ve 2 meters of LP’s to go thru’

Another – really good thing! Is the ‘Live from the Met’ – A truly democratizing intro. to thousands who will never ever wish they’d been able to afford £200 a seat at the Opera – but will be astonished to discover real Musicals… their local ‘pictures’.

Many thanks to Sir Kenneth Grange for taking time out to talk to us as part of our Social Togetherness series.


Social Togetherness: Spandana Gopal in Conversation

May 30, 2020 · 0 Comments

twentytwentyone are honoured to work with wonderfully creative designers, makers and manufacturers and today we are talking to Spandana Gopal founder of Tiipoi, a design studio based between Bangalore and London.

Where’s home for you?

Currently NW8, but moving to Lower Clapton soon.

What are the highlights of your home-working day?

Food has been a highlight and we’ve been eating and experimenting with different ingredients (wild garlic at the moment), usually a glass of wine with lunch after a mat-based workout!

My ‘workday’ usually starts at about 14:00 these days till about 18:00. I keep staring at my literally unsolvable puzzle of white rice (also on the dining table taking up a lot of space) Take breaks to read books that I haven’t read – lots of design history books. The evenings have unfortunately been consumed by Netflix – Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul (which is excellent).

What creative pursuits are you doing now that you ordinarily wouldn’t manage if the world were at its normal pace?

I knitted some slippers and I tried to make objects out of vegetable pulp – that didn’t go too well.

Are you learning a new skill, craft or hobby? 

Refreshed my knitting skills. playing some songs on the piano – I learnt a song by Rhianna last week.

What positive change might come from Covid-19?

The end of capitalism. We will go back to growing vegetables, trading clothes and goods, not travelling by air, but opening borders in new ways – maybe camper vans will be a thing of the future!

Any interesting projects, exhibitions or launches for later this year?

Not sure yet, but we think we will continue developing products and working with interesting materials – maybe thinking up a new type of event where we can engage with our audiences through entirely new ways? 

Given time to reflect, what would be your wish for a new piece of furniture or lighting?

More like a portable food truck-come-shop which we could drive around London. Moving architecture for nice objects, food and people.

Many thanks to Spandana for taking the time to talk to us.



Social Togetherness: Suzy Hoodless in Conversation

May 28, 2020 · 0 Comments

twentytwentyone are honoured to work with wonderfully creative designers, makers and manufacturers and today we are talking to Interior Designer, Suzy Hoodless.

Where’s home for you?

Ladbroke Grove.

What are the highlights of your home-working day?

Sitting around our 10-seater Another Country table. It’s now a desk for us to work and our 3 children to home school. It’s chaotic and challenging but very special at the same time. We have been enjoying ordering food from local artisans and cooking madly. Maths lessons turned in to home economics lesson this morning with Teriyaki mackerel for lunch.

What creative pursuits are you doing now that you ordinarily wouldn’t manage if the world were at its normal pace?

Every weekend we tour a different country. Last week we had Spanish day, we made paella, painted the Spanish flag (a mistake as the emblem is very intricate) watched Flamenco dancing and listened to Spanish music.

Are you learning a new skill, craft or hobby?

I have taken up embroidery with my eldest daughter.

What positive change might come from Covid-19 for you, or your wider community, or the world at large?

To slow down, be more present and more mindful. To go back to basics, buy local, travel less.

Any interesting projects, exhibitions or launches for later this year that you can share?

We have just finished an apartment in Mayfair we have worked on with Thomas Croft architects. We have worked on it for over two years, it’s highly bespoke with collector level Scandinavian furniture.

Given time to reflect, what would be your wish for a new piece of furniture or lighting?

I want a daybed for the garden to seat two.

Any music or podcasts you would recommend?

I am enjoying How to Fail podcast.

A big thank you to Suzy for taking the time to speak to us.

Social Togetherness: Katherine Hoeger in Conversation

May 23, 2020 · 0 Comments

twentytwentyone are honoured to work with wonderfully creative designers, makers and manufacturers and today we are talking to Katherine Hoeger of Nine United.

Where’s home for you?

The answer to that question should be perfectly straight forward but is a little complicated for me to answer at the moment. I have been moving around with work focusing on different markets, but ultimately I feel at home where my family & friends and my work & colleagues are, which is predominantly in London, Berlin and Hamburg. 

During the lockdown period, I am in Berlin, working from our dining table here with a perfect view of the Wrongshop print by Ronan Bouroullec, that I first saw at the twentytwentyone launch in River Street a few years ago, and am really enjoying every day at the moment.

What are the highlights of your home-working day?

After a few weeks in quarantine in our flat, the highlight of the day is a lovely walk along the river with my husband at the end of the day. To have those longer days of sunshine is a treat every year in Spring, but feels extremely special right now. Admittedly a glass of wine afterwards on the doorstep has become a much-valued ritual as well.

What creative pursuits are you doing now that you ordinarily wouldn’t manage if the world were at its normal pace?

I’ve always enjoyed putting together fresh flowers for our flat, but admittedly I am indulging in that a lot more than usual at the moment. Both because I get to enjoy them much more, but also to support a flower shop run by a great Japanese and Dutch duo in the neighbourhood, who have just reopened and are inspiring me to go increasingly overboard with arrangements considering they’re in a domestic setting without guests.

I’ve started to draw some of the flowers, which is quite therapeutic and makes you appreciate them even more. It’ll probably end up a small series of sketches and drawings of those lockdown blooms. 

Are you learning a new skill, craft or hobby?

I’d say it’s mainly the drawing although I am definitely in need of a little more practice (and patience) to get back into it properly and be satisfied with the outcome.

I don’t think it quite counts as a new skill or hobby just yet, but I’ve gone rowing a couple of times and discovered it as a great form of exercise in times of social distancing. 

What positive change might come from Covid-19 for you, or your wider community, or the world at large?

Though I miss seeing a lot of people and places, it has also had positives to stay in one place for a little while. It’s good for focus and concentration and inspiring in a different way than the usual fast-pace. There is also a lot of community spirit and thoughtful acts of kindness among neighbours, and a greater appreciation for things that might have been taken for granted before. As for the world at large, in our company culture where we embrace working across different countries and cultures, we say ‘when meeting remoteness with closeness, we can truly become one world’ -that feels very relevant at the moment and perhaps working through a crisis can bring people together and give the necessary perspective.

Any interesting projects, exhibitions or launches for later this year that you can share?

There are a number of new projects brewing in Nine United at the moment. With &Tradition we are looking forward to bringing new products to market through digital launches and hopefully also presenting them in exhibitions at our showrooms in autumn.

We’re also looking at creating a new collection and brand with a focus on the needs we have seen emerging across the market in Europe and which may become even more relevant.  

Given time to reflect, what would be your wish for a new piece of furniture or lighting? 

I’m not a 100% set on one item specifically, but the next piece of furniture or lighting, I’d be looking for has a long-lasting quality, great colour  – and perhaps some humour or a joyful expression to put a smile on people’s faces.

Please send us a photo from home of something you find inspiring. 

It’s the view from the dining table where I work from across into the living room which I find both relaxing and inspiring thanks to the creative people and good experiences the furniture and lighting reminds me of. 

Many thanks to Katherine for taking the time to talk to us as part of our Social Togetherness series.


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