Amelia’s Magazine | Introducing Up Side Up: an interview with founder Angharad Lewis

Up Side Up logo
Up Side Up is a brand new design website that comes to you courtesy of the wonderful Angharad Lewis, formerly of the much missed Grafik magazine (as well as many other superb design projects). Up Side Up is an innovative platform to help graphic designers create goods beyond the standard fare: where they are helped by future buyers to develop and make interesting objects that are then sold exclusively on the website. Think Kickstarter, created exclusively for the graphic design community. The beautiful first limited editions include:

PELLICCI TRAY by A Practice for Everyday Life

Up Side Up APFEL_Pelliccitray
Inspired by famous Bethnal Green eatery Pellicci’s, Emma Thomas and Kirsty Carter of APFEL have designed a handmade serving tray, with a trompe l’oeil marquetry top depicting drink spills and cup-rings.

Up Side Up APFEL_Pelliccitray close up
APFEL’s studio is situated in a converted marquetry factory in the heart of Bethnal Green, East London, which was a centre for cabinet-making and marquetry in the early twentieth century. The local cafe Pellicci’s (est 1900) has a remarkable interior of walls clad floor to ceiling in marquetry. Inspired by the history of their studio and the local area’s links with the art of marquetry, APFEL’s Pellicci Tray will be made in an edition of twenty-five, with the body of the tray handmade by London-based cabinet maker Daniel Bradley; and the marquetry surface laser-cut and hand assembled by ACE Marquetry, Wiltshire.

Watch a video of Emma and Kirsty discussing their Pellici Tray here.

STACKED BOWLS by Ben Branagan and Laura Carlin

Up Side Up three bowls prototypes
A collaboration between designer Ben Branagan and illustrator/ceramicist Laura Carlin, Stacked Bowls is a set of three interlocking earthenware vessels. Each bowl is designed with a particular function in mind, defined by its shape, size and construction.

Up Side Up-AM Bowls
The bowls will be made in an edition of 40 by a traditional ‘potworks’ in Stoke-On-Trent, the heartland of pottery manufacture in England since the seventeenth century. Each bowl is hand-glazed in different colour and finish. The three bowls have been designed to fit together in a stack that forms a totemic, anthropomorphic shape. This is the first set in a wider collection of bowls that will be released in coming months via Up Side Up.

Watch a video of Ben and Laura discussing their Stacked Bowls here.

I caught up with Angharad Lewis to find out more about Up Side Up:

What prompted the inspiration for this idea?
Through ten years’ experience working as a journalist and editor in the graphic design world I’d been lucky enough to see the amazing depth of research that the best designers put into their work. Lots of graphic designers are making and selling printed products these days but I wanted to create an opportunity for them to push the ideas and experience from their client work to a new level in a self-initiated project – leave the tea towels and tote bags for dust.

Up Side Up APFEL Emma And Kirsty
Emma And Kirsty discuss their design.

How do you find designers and makers to collaborate with?
I’ve approached people who I admire and think I would enjoy working with – designers who I feel will embrace the challenge and who I know will think in an interesting way. Their response has, without exception, gone beyond my expectations – every idea so far has excited and surprised me. I feel very lucky to be a part of these collaborations.

Who do you hope your customers will be and why should people shop with you?
It’s not all about the designers, in fact the customers are the most important people in this equation. They are the catalyst to turning ideas and prototypes into fully-fledged editions. Without the buyers these objects will not get made: we document the development of the products online and ask the audience to pre-order them – the customers’ funding allows us to take the final leap and put the editions into production. Each and every buyer is a key player in the story of the objects.

The success of each object stands or falls on it’s qualities – the idea and the execution have to be so brilliant that enough people want to invest in making it come to life. I hope that Up Side Up a place people can visit regularly to discover the most thoughtful, new, inventive products. The aim is to make really special, unique objects that are affordable, to make collecting amazing design accessible.

Up Side Up Ben and Laura in their studio
Ben and Laura in their studio.

What has been the most exciting part of the process so far?
Seeing the finished prototypes in the flesh for the first time. After all the conversations, sketches, samples and mock-ups nothing beats seeing all that hard work emerge in a three-dimensional form. Another bonus is that meetings have become universally brilliant! Every time I visit one of the designers who has a work in progress for Up Side Up I come out feeling uplifted.

How often to you hope to launch new collections, and any sneak ideas about what you hope to make?
The next two products will be launched in January, they are well under way – I’ll give you a few clues. Crispin Finn are doing something beautiful by screen-printing on glass and The Entente have made the most ingenious small storage solution I’ve seen. After that there will be two products launched every two months. I’m very excited about objects already underway by Anthony Burrill and Michael Marriott and Astrid Stavro.

Categories ,A Practice for Everyday Life, ,Angharad Lewis, ,Anthony Burrill, ,APFEL, ,Astrid Stavro, ,Ben Branagan, ,Crispin Finn, ,Emma Thomas, ,Grafik, ,Kirsty Carter, ,Laura Carlin, ,Michael Marriott, ,Pellicci Tray, ,Pellicci’s, ,Stacked Bowls, ,Stoke-on-Trent, ,The Entente, ,Up Side Up

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Amelia’s Magazine | Exhibition: The Art Of Conversation

Photo: © Guy Archard

Whilst The Art Of Conversation has now sadly closed at the Idea Generation Gallery, London. The good news for those swinging by Berlin this summer, is that the exhibition has relocated to the Program Gallery and will be opening on the 12th June.

The Art of Conversation was devised by design studios: Inventory, London and Bank,Berlin, it showcased new work from designers based in both London and Berlin. The work was developed after each studio participated in a skype chat in which a work/idea was presented, the receiving studio then had three days to respond and present their work/idea to the next studio. The choice to record these discussions provided an interesting insight into how different studios (whether in London or Berlin) reacted to the brief.

The following ten Studios and designers from each capital were invited to participate:

London: Alexandre Bettler, Anthony Burrill, APFEL, DanHasPotential, Eat Sleep/Work Play, Hudson-Powell, Multistorey, Oscar & Ewan, Simon Elvins and Value and Service.

Berlin: 123buero, blotto, Heimann und Schwantes, Hort, Jung+Weing, Kekiretta, Manuel Raeder, Node, Siggi Eggertsson and Slang.

Multistorey, Hand cranked low techno machine built from camping and cooking utensils: Photo: © Guy Archard

The seesaws: Oscar & Ewan Photo: © Guy Archard

The work included within the exhibition developed from the participants game of Chinese whispers, within the gallery the work was number to help the viewer ‘follow’ the varying interpretations of the ideas discussed, this process recording the basic and most important starting point of graphic design; the ability to examine and converse an idea to a vast amount of people with an economical design.

Large colour photo with rubber band ball suspended above, Anthony Burrill: Photo: © Guy Archard

The skype conversations are (brilliantly) available to watch online and are worth each of the 3 – 4 minute conversation as each design companies presents their decision whether to speak, perform or write to the next and what information to pass on and what information became lost as the discussions progressed. A favourite being Oscar & Ewan’s decision to time the time delay by the presence of Piccadilly, the rain, a walk and the presence of an umbrella. Manifesting itself in the exhibition as a Seasaw perhaps the time it took to move represented the time delay in the online conversations?

One designer chose to reference the experience of discussing design ideas via Skype in the work created for the Ideas Generation Gallery and Program Gallery, Berlin, in the form of a heavily pixilated video noting the difficulty in undertaking a conversation about design when subjected to time delays and language barriers. The versatility of design to enhance the limits of verbal language becomes apparent. As does the audiences reliance (or perhaps just my own) on the Skype conversations to provide an access point to the work in the gallery space.

Collection of artefacts made in felt, clay and papier-mace displayed on a hand built table, Dan Has Potential: Photo: © Guy Archard

As to be expected from Graphic Design practitioners the presentation of the show was sublime, namely the perfect leading between vinyl letters pressed onto the wall. Some of the work was very tongue in cheek, as displayed by the printing of emails from the 100’s of intern requests one of the studios have received, each letter practicing their unique form of begging, flattering and showcasing their own work. To accompany the physical work each design studio has also produced a limited edition screen print:

Headpieces housing a webcam, screen and interface with custom made software that changes the users perception, Hudson-Powell: Photo: © Guy Archard

This exhibition celebrates the breadth and versatility of ideas between 20 studios based in London and Berlin. It is an exciting and dynamic insight into the process behind the finished work, (of which each was a response to a previous piece, the show traces the endless connections between the work and the talks) which was to some extent more enjoyable and grasable than the work that came to inhabit the gallery space and in some ways felt as if it were the ‘real’ work. If you are in Berlin from the 12th June, this exhibition is a must see. If not take the time to watch the conversations online…

Categories ,123buero, ,Alexandre Bettler, ,Anthony Burrill, ,APFEL, ,Bank, ,berlin, ,blotto, ,danhaspotential, ,Eat Sleep/Work Play, ,Elvins, ,Heimann und Schwantes, ,Hort, ,Hudson-Powell, ,Ideas Generation Gallery, ,Inventory, ,Jung+Weing, ,Kekiretta, ,london, ,Manuel Raeder, ,Multistorey, ,Node, ,Oscar&Ewan, ,Siggi Eggertsson, ,Slang., ,The Art Of Conversation, ,Value and Service

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