Interview with textile design collective Puff&Flock
Formed in 2008 after meeting at Central Saint Martins, textile design collective Puff&Flock are all are graduates of the MA Textile Futures course. They debuted to critical acclaim at Interiors UK in January 2009 and have gone on to wow Paris, New York, London and Milan with a variety of ambitious textile installations.
What’s the most important thing to know about you?
We can’t properly meet or do anything really without tea and food supplies. Whilst setting up a show, the first thing we do is to set up the tea and food area. Nothing gets done unless this is sorted.
Describe a really good day and a really bad day in the life of the Puff&Flock.
A really good day is when we remember all the bad days are worth it!
A good day is a productive work day in the studio, with sunshine – we have a massive window overlooking London for daydreaming. That is luxury.
A bad day is when you have to spend the day organising logistics, paperwork, invoices etc instead of being creative.
What inspires your ideas?
Anything from urban art, dance performance, to toys.
Amelie is a bit obsessed with vintage toys, in any form. She has a sort of toy museum growing on a wall at her place.
Elisabeth gets inspiration from extreme and alternative lifestyles; and of course monsters!
Melissa likes concrete, patterns at the V&A and Scandinavian fabrics.
Describe the process you go though to turn your ideas into products.
It’s a bit random and quite spontaneous. We don’t over-think the idea too much until the fun part of planning and making arrives! We need to be very organised as we all have jobs apart from Puff&Flock, so if it is a collective project we meet to put together our action plan. We have got very good at time management and project planning and sometimes we have the precious help of dedicated interns. (We never have enough arms, especially when it comes to stitching and filling sofa arms!) We often work as a team, and try to trigger opportunities and collaborations to realise nice products. The Ercol collaboration came from a commission Designersblock gave us, and after an inspiring meeting and factory visit at Ercol we got on with giving a reinterpretation of some of their iconic pieces.
What advice would you give to an aspiring textiles designer?
Perseverance, patience, hard work and passion. Anything is possible with these thing when you have the talent and the motivation. We sometimes have to remind ourselves that it’s always a learning curve. There is a less glamorous aspect of design which is logistics and planning which takes up far more time than designing when you work as a small studio. It can feel unfair but it is the reality. Speak and meet with people you admire, be open minded and network.
Desert island design; which three items could you not live without?
Amelie – My Apple laptop, my vintage armchair by Ercol, with a hunting scene upholstery fabric. And I bought this hairy cushion in Ikea which looks a bit like Chewbacca hair and I placed it on the seat, this is where I work from when I am at home. Comfort office!
Elisabeth – My Quechua tent from Decathlon, my Bernette sewing machine from Bernina and my Sansa Mp3 player.
Melissa – My Danish dining table and chairs from the 70s. A brilliant hand-me-down from my parents.
What are you most proud of?
Our friendship, they way we compliment each other and the people who follow us after all our adventures of the past four years. We are also proud to have recently won an award for Best Collaboration at the UAL Creative Enterprise Awards. It may sound cheesy but it’s our very own kind of “Oscar” equivalent.
What’s next for you?
We’re answering a few queries regarding the Sofa So Good piece recently exhibited in Paris [at Maison et Objet], probably a busy next few months making and launching a collaborative character furniture pieces in limited edition with Stuart Melrose. And cups of tea and chocolate!
And, finally, what’s your favourite colour?!
Does rainbow count? I think we might get along and agree on many things, but if we have to pick a colour we might never end this debate. Rainbow, because it’s all the colours of the light, and all the powers of the Power Rangers!
Katie Treggiden writes confessions of a design geek, winner of mydeco's Best Interior Design Blog in Great Britain and has recently published Interviews, a collection of eighteen conversations with designers. You can follow her on Twitter @coadg. Read more posts by Katie Treggiden.
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