DESIGN UNDEFINED: Q&A WITH ADAM BLENCOWE & MARINE DUROSELLE

Design Undefined is a celebration of groundbreaking ideas and unconventional approaches to creating products and concepts. Traditionally, some of the most innovative and intriguing ideas we come across are the product of a collaboration between outstanding creatives. This has never been more apparent than in the joining of brilliant designers Adam Blencowe and Marine Duroselle.

Having met as a result of their mutual attendance at the culture incubator that is RCA, the precedent for creative experimentation and growth had already been set by each of their individual footprints on the industry.

As we look towards The London Design Festival, and the second incarnation of Design Undefined at Clerkenwell London, we are so excited to see the collection of felted rugs and interior textiles the newly-formed duo will be showcasing in our gold-floored fashion room. We spoke to Adam and Marine about their collaboration and the role of convention in design.

We spoke to Adam and Marine about their collaboration and the role of convention in design.

What does innovation and breaking convention mean to you? Why is important to creative industries?
M: For me, innovation means positivity and faith in the future! That’s what makes this industry so fun and motivating to be in.
A: I feel it the duty of the designer to try and seek out frontiers, new edges in the areas he or she works within. These are the zones where we can find new territories to explore, we make hypothesis to test, and often improvise to circumnavigate problems. Not only is this often challenging, but also it is often exciting and highly rewarding when finally all the puzzle pieces “click” into place. In the process of finding these innovations, it is of course important to keep sight of how these can impact the world around us. Methods of digital fabrication are becoming important in many industries and I think textiles is certainly no different.

Rugs are a very traditional home accessory and the history of their manufacture and design is diverse and profound. How has this influenced your digital approach to rug design?
M: I think we just went with the flow of things! Quite naturally we let Adam’s previous experiments, our collaborative tests and our many discussions lead us to these rugs. Always keeping in mind that we are working with a digital machine. We, therefore, had to understand and play with its limitations!
A: Prior to the rugs I had been working with woven wool and had found most success with heavy textiles such as those used for upholstery. That led to the idea of using flat-woven wool rugs. So I started experimenting on my living room rug and had several positive and interesting results from the tests. The fact that the needle punching is digital means you have a lot of control and adjustability. So when Marine and I started working together we looked to find our shared idea of an interesting outcome out of the process of
using the machine. This resulted in lots of colour play and simple grid and block forms to shape the compositions. Much of the designs you see on Tufted or Knotted rugs are born out of the process of their making and our rugs are no different.

Why is Design Undefined at Clerkenwell London the right platform for you to showcase a collaborative project that focuses on using new technology to reinvent a traditional product?
M: This is the first time that we will show what we have come up together. So it’s a bit of an experiment in itself! We are very excited to be able to show the machine that Adam has built next to the final rugs that we have designed together. Design Undefined at Clerkenwell London seemed like the perfect platform to welcome this collaboration: a place where different objects confront each others in a harmonious way.
A: I guess the clue is in the title – Design Undefined. Design should be a field with “fuzzy” edges. I want someone who sees our product to understand it was designed but not be sure how it was. I would like them to ask ‘how is this made?’ and for them to then understand the influence the making process has on the design of the object. To help with this we will be showcasing the making during the exhibition.

Join us on 19 September at Design Undefined #2 LDF2016 Welcome Party with Cointreau – Enjoy music and Cointreau Fizz cocktails as we champion designers and products that challenge conventional thinking. Limited tickets available.

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