In our 4th post we met Helen Strevens who works solely from her drawing board and Sue Watkins who’s material based approach led her into her position with Chad Lighting. We also learnt how SpaceInvader was launched by John Williams after experience across multiple sectors and continents.
In the final in our series we meet Suzanne & Chris Carpenter, Partners at Patternistas and we learn how for 34 years Jason Brown, Director of Design & Development at Knightsbridge, has maintained his passion and enthusiasm.
Suzanne & Chris Carpenter: Partners at Patternistas
As children our eyes were opened to exciting, creative cultures. Chris’s RAF family were posted to Singapore and my family emigrated to the copper belt in Zambia. Eyepopping colours and dazzling patterns were imprinted on our brains inspiring us to study graphic design.
When our creative paths crossed we were a pattern obsessed match made in heaven. Chris and a friend started Stills, a successful design and branding agency, whilst I joined the world of freelance illustration. We each worked on a diverse range of projects but whenever an opportunity arose we enjoyed combining our skills and working together.
Stills successfully built a reputation as experts in branding for the office furniture industry, a fascinating design-led sector requiring high quality, creative solutions to communicate to it’s audience. I became one of the directors of the business and our experience and knowledge of the sector grew. In December 2015 we sold Stills in order to realise our dream of working fulltime as a creative partnership. Drawing on our interest in ‘wellbeing in the workplace’ we design uplifting patterns to stimulate the senses and put smiles on faces.
We’re delighted to have collaborated with Ocee Design and Panaz Fabrics to launch our first collection of contract upholstery fabric at Clerkenwell Design Week 2016.
Jason Brown: Director of Design & Development at Knightsbridge
Being the son of an Architect and a catwalk hairdresser it was inevitable I would end up in creative services. A full apprenticeship in Cabinet Making progressing to a Draughtsman and Design Draughtsman gave me a great grounding in method, materials and costs – schooling is important and I studied while employed at Leeds College of Art and Design and Bradford University getting numerous City and Guilds, HND, LCG, CMS and DMS. I believe you’ve got to learn the rules before you break them and in my line of work that’s exactly what we are striving to do.
In mass production we must have a quality of design and build which will inspire customers and invoke pride in our staff, Knightsbridge does this and even after 68yrs we are getting better at it – every day is a school day.
I’ve found there is more human time, effort and skill involved in the elements you don’t see in a product compared to the ones you do, and there’s a knack in seeking pride in this type of work, if you execute a great project, no matter how minor – it’s a great project.
My most proud moment was receiving the first ever Master Furniture Makers Certificate from the Worshipful Company in 2011.
This month sees me entering my 34th year in the industry and my level of enthusiasm or passion for furniture hasn’t changed from the first day of my apprenticeship because in any skill based career you’ve got to be into the subject – it’s not just a job, its emotional, the products you are designing and developing are a part of you and more importantly a reflection of you and your company, so it’s imperative to get it right. I bet there isn’t one person working in design and manufacture who doesn’t get berated by their spouse or partner for turning over chairs in public or feeling tables in restaurants, like Thelonious Monk the Jazz musician once wrote “You’ve got to dig it, to dig it – you dig?”