Meet Sam, the new studio manager at Material Lab. Responsible for running the day-to-day operations at the Great Titchfield Street studio, Sam joins from a buying role at Wickes, where he specialised in flooring, and then paint. When it comes to colour trends, he’s your man.
With one month at the helm now firmly under his belt, we sat down with Sam to find out more about his experience, top trends and plans for Material Lab going forward. Here’s what he had to say…
Can you briefly talk us through your career to date?
Believe it or not, I actually studied Law and Business at University, and planned on going into the legal profession in some capacity. But, throughout my studies it was apparent I was enjoying the business and marketing orientated side of the degree more than anything else. Particularly developing a keen interest in how businesses approach building customer propositions and developing customer focused ranges.
This led me into an entry level buying role within Wickes, where I began to climb the corporate ladder, conducting range changes and updates on the tiles, flooring and paint. Choosing colour palettes and designing room set schemes really opened the door to creativity. As I found myself spending more time talking about colour psychology and colour schemes, I quickly realised I wanted to immerse myself in a new, more creative career.
Was Material Lab somewhere you visited before taking on the role?
Material Lab was always somewhere that offered a degree of escapism. It provided inspiration and helped us as a commercial team to understand emerging trends across a whole range of materials.
What drew you to the position of studio manager?
The opportunity to think creatively every day. But also, the ability to help architects and designers create spaces that make people feel good while offering the best utilisation of space at the best price.
What are you hoping to achieve in your new role? Any particular ideas?
More than anything else, I want to change the way people look at the spaces we live, work and dine in. The possibilities are endless and Material Lab is all about showing people what can be achieved; opening the door to people’s imaginations. As part of this, I want to introduce new innovative designers that focus on sustainability and materials with a true point of difference. I’m also planning to update the showroom to feature more immersive displays, so people can see the real beauty of the products we showcase.
For anyone that hasn’t visited the studio before, why should they come?
Because I’ll make you coffee and we can have a chat?! In all seriousness, I’m focused wholeheartedly on continuing Material Lab’s legacy as a creative hub for interior design. And a key part of that involves you, the person reading this! Our open door policy means you can come and visit us anytime that suits. Collaborate, explore what other designers are doing and talk about your projects and the materials you’re using. We offer a wide variety of samples from our partners, so there’s always something new and cutting-edge to specify.
What’s your favourite thing about Material Lab?
Apart from the location – we’re slap bang in the middle of London – my favourite thing is when a client comes into Material Lab with only a vague, limited description of the material or scheme they want to achieve, and leaves with a product they didn’t even know existed but is exactly what they’re after!
Do you have a favourite material?
My favourite material is by the trailblazing Smile Plastics, which transforms waste materials into unique decorative panels for the architecture and design sector. I mean, who doesn’t love a bit of upcycling!?
What’s your favourite trend of 2019/20?
Colour. Following some of the pared back, more muted tones we’ve seen filtering through interiors in recent years, I am excited by the emergence of more striking, brighter and lighter tones that signal optimism and hope. I have always been a fan of using colour to evoke positive emotional responses.
Is there one particular up-and-coming designer that people should keep an eye out for?
Atticus Durnell is an up-and-coming designer already making waves in the industry. He is an award-winning industrial designer and maker who is curious by nature and believes difficulties are just ‘unseen opportunities’. He’s passionate about creating remarkable objects that meet our daily needs, focusing on the creation of sustainable materials.
Atticus’s start-up, That’s Caffeine, is inspired by the notion that designers hold some responsibility for the future of our planet, and aims to have a global impact on future energy and waste reduction.
Now you’ve gotten to know Sam a little better, why not pop into the studio and put a face to a name? They’re open Monday to Friday, 9am – 5.30pm with no appointment necessary.