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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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