Thursday, 13 September 2012

Welcome to the Kiosk 3

Today I would like to extend a very warm welcome to  designer Robert Grimshaw. I first saw Robert's furniture at the 3D design Brighton degree show this year. His work really stood out from everything else I saw as considered, beautifully made and witty. It had a maturity that seemed way beyond many of his peers. Robert works very closely with industries and craftspeople to find sustainable and dynamic uses for traditional skills. His furniture has a modernist aesthetic, but employs interesting and ethical construction techniques that lend them warmth and character. I would happily give house room to any of them.

EC  Firstly, for those who may not know your work, how would you describe what you do?
RG  I enjoy working with as many processes I can get stuck into. I'm interested in the heritage certain skills embody, but working these skills in a way that makes them relevant in modern society. 

EC  Collaboration is clearly important to you. What do you mean when you say that design is a facilitative process?
RG  As a designer it can be easy to become restricted by your own tunnel vision, being able to take a step back from the project and allowing others to get involved encourages innovative thinking to flourish. By facilitating a process you never know exactly where a project is headed, and that is exciting.

 EC  Tell me a bit about your work process. Do you start with an idea of the piece you want to make or is informed by a traditional skill you want to explore? 
RG  More often than not it is material or process lead. With the plywood and rush weaved chair project it started from blindly selecting an area on a map, and working with two manufacturing processes readily available within a 10 miles radius of that pin point, its a nice way to work because you are sort of working a conventional design process in reverse.

EC  Personal project or client brief?
RG  Nothing can top the freedom brought on by a personal project, its daunting to begin with, but it's great to see your own original ideas become tangible. Then again, it's really fulfilling to present work to a client and see them really love what you've done.

EC  Is there a particular era or style that inspires you?
RG  I've a lot of admiration for 20th century British modernism. Gordon Russell, Robin Day and others. They honestly believed design could make positive social change, rather than merely give into fashion trends and fleeting styles. I'm inspired by their relentless enthusiasm and determination.

EC  Which traditional skill would you most like to reinvigorate?
RG  I'm not sure how traditional it is, but I'd love to give artexing a go.

EC  Tell me one thing about you that no one would guess from looking at your work.
RG  I can't get my head around crochet.

EC  The Kiosk likes to enjoy the simple things. What is your favourite word, colour, shape, artist and food?
RG  I honestly couldn't pick a word but the rest would have to be, battleship grey, geodesic dome, Konstantin Grcic and poached eggs.

EC  The Kiosk loves a to do list. What is next on your agenda?
RG  So many things. Next is to finish some bits and pieces for two upcoming exhibitions during the London Design Festival. I'll be at 'Tent' exhibiting with a few of my university peers as situated at the Truman Brewery on Brick Lane and '100% Design' at Earls Court, both run from the 19th-23rd of September.

I really recommend that you have a look at Robert's website The stories behind the pieces shown here are fascinating reading. If you don't know what a skep is check it out! You can also catch up with Robert and find out what he's up to on twitter here.

It really cheers me that intelligent conscientious design has a place today. I'm really excited to see what Robert comes up with next.

Please note all images are © Robert Grimshaw 2012


  1. Really interesting work. Thanks for sharing Esther. I'll have a closer look at Tent. Though I have to beg him not to revive's just taken a month to get it all off at our house!

  2. Fab interview his knitted stool!