Interview with.....Mini Moderns

We recently launched some fabulous children Wallpapers by Mini Moderns and as usual, we like interviewing the designers we work with to get a feel of who they are, how they work and where they work.
I love this interview of Keith (left below) & Mark (right below), the talented (and very nice) designers behind the fantastic wallpapers and hello mama!!
Look at their studio, wouldn't you want to move in with them?? Their studio looks amazing! Read on and enjoy!

bodie and fou: When did you decide you wanted to be a designer?

Mini Moderns:
Keith: Ever since I can remember - I was artistic as a child - but I never wanted to be an artist, I always wanted to design record covers.
Mark: I left a job in television to become a designer/maker in the 90s. Then I started working in design consultancies as a brand strategist, but I've always yearned to get back to producing and selling something tangible.

bodie and fou: Where do you find inspiration for your work?

Mini Moderns: Everywhere - from vintage toys, print designers like Lucienne Day, Marian Mahler, Alexander Girard, graphic designers like Paul Rand. We find inspiration in the trips that we take in the UK and abroad

bodie and fou: Describe your studio/workplace? Can you show us some pictures?

Mini Moderns: We have a mezzanine which we designed and had built in a double height room - which keeps our computers paperwork, and general mess out of view from the open space downstairs which has a sofa and big meeting table in it. we also are a branding agency with Mini Moderns being our own brand - so the downstairs area is good for client meetings.

bodie and fou: Which aspect of your work gives you the most pleasure

Mini Moderns:
Keith: As mini Moderns - the design part of the job is the most enjoyable - unfortunately it is a fraction of the process - though production can be enjoyable too as we work with great factories and great people who are all UK based.
Mark: I enjoy the variety that comes with running our own business and the diversity of work we do. As well as running Absolute Zero Degrees, our design consultancy, we have written several graphic design books and, of course, designing and producing the Mini Moderns collection.

bodie and fou: Launching your design studio/company was.....?

Mini Moderns: Fairly straightforward really. We left our jobs with the plan to do it - and have never looked back.
bodie and fou: Best piece of advice you were given?

Mini Moderns:
Keith: Keep your overheads down. Which was really good advice especially in the current climate. we bought our live work studio so we don't have increasing studio rents to worry about.
Mark: From my experience as a designer/maker in the 90s I knew all the pitfalls I wanted to avoid - particularly in terms of production issues. We both were both keen to utilize existing skills and labour in the UK.

bodie and fou: When did you get your 'lucky break' ?

Mini Moderns: We're not sure we have yet!

bodie and fou: How often do you end up with a finished product that you don’t want your name attached to?

Mini Moderns: Never. We are designers and we control production and we market our own brand, so if something doesn't work we don't let it see the light of day.

bodie and fou: What is your favourite piece of design?

Mini Moderns:
Keith: The Eames rocker
Mark: The angle-poise lamp

bodie and fou: What advice would you give to aspiring designers?

Mini Moderns:
Keith: Be true to yourself - and if this means having to go it alone then do.
Mark: Be realistic about your goals and timescales - Thomas Edison said: “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”

bodie and fou: What would your dream project be?

Mini Moderns: We'd love to take on a project to bring together all our branding, graphics, interior and product design skills. To overhall a hotel chain would be ideal!

bodie and fou: How do you achieve a good work/life balance?

Mini Moderns:
Keith: Because we enjoy what we do - working weekends and long hours - doesn't seem as hard as working for someone else.
Mark: Even our holidays are usually research projects either for a book we're writing or a new collection we're doing. Sitting on a beach for 2 weeks simply isn't in our mind set.

bodie and fou: Your most precious belongings at home?

Mini Moderns: Lucan the cat

bodie and fou: How would you describe your style at home?

Mini Moderns:
Keith: warm modernism
Mark: with plenty of graphic whimsy thrown in

bodie and fou: If your studio wasn't, describe your ultimate dream workspace?

Mini Moderns: We're lucky because our studio offers us lots of space and the flexibility to zone it into meeting, work and (increasingly important) storage space for all our wallpaper. And it's in a creative community so we can skills-swap with our neighbours. We'd love to pick it up and move it to a more central London location - or even to New York - as long as the neighbours could come too!

bodie and fou: Can you cook and what's your signature dish?

Mini Moderns:
Keith: I can't cook at all
Mark: I love cooking - usually classic british or italian food. I also like cooking curries. We have been known to turn the studio into a giant dinner party venue - 28 for a sit-down dinner was the top. Last year I started growing salad on the terrace. This year I'm planning more home grown stuff.

bodie and fou: Name something you can't resist...

Mini Moderns:
Keith: A Sweet Manhattan (I'm always counting down to international cocktail hour)
Mark: Anything with custard

bodie and fou: What is next on your design journey?

Mini Moderns: More collaborations like our recent one with Clothkits; new products - especially accessories; new prints, including one inspired by our travels.
bodie and fou: And the mantra that keeps you going.......?

Mini Moderns: "We're winning!"

Photos credits: Talbot photography

We've been asked where the cool red rooster comes from on the picture of the Moo Wallpaper... It's a vintage Fisher Price farm set from the 70's - the rooster comes with the farm which moo's when you open the barn door


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