What have you been told about collaborative work? What do you think about when someone mentions the word ‘collaboration’ to you? What do the textbooks say? An opportunity to join talents and explore each other skills. An opportunity to share the workload, costs and work space. An opportunity to widen your audience, marketing and sales prospects.
All of the above are true! Really all of these opportunities are created with collaborative work; but what I found amazing, and what this blog is about, is the experience of working with someone else you don’t know much about but admire the little that you’ve seen… their work and their personality!
I first met textile designer Chrissa Amuah of AMWA Designs at Milan Design week in 2015. I remember being immediately taken by her work- specifically the rich colours she worked with and the thoughtful way in which each piece was displayed on her stand. But I was truly impressed by Chrissa’s warm personality that conveyed her enthusiasm and gentility, and her delightful stories about Adinkra symbols and how she transcribed them into her designs. Milan Design Week is such a huge event and Salon del Mobile much bigger than anything we see in the UK so I had met so many inspiring designers and had seen beautiful designs at every step that week- however I couldn’t stop thinking about Chrissa and her designs and knew almost immediately that I would like us to collaborate in some way or another.
This started with a series of meetings conveniently located at a coffee shop in the Tate Modern half way between our studio in North London and Chrissa’s home in South London. An abundance of ideas were thrown about and we each kept coming back with more, every time surpassing each other’s expectations. Discussions about costs, practicalities and everything else imaginable followed… and finally we had a starting point with a pendant shade and lamp design for Chrissa to showcase at Salon de Mobile in Milan this year.
The truth is it doesn’t stop here! Now that we have had one very successful event we are thinking of more- at The Bespoke Boutique we have already thought of new lamp base designs and Chrissa is thinking of new colours and new symbols… and so on.
How lucky it is to have an opportunity to work with someone I admire both personally and professionally, whose designs I find so novel and chic and beautiful! Moreover, that very person likes what I do and sees the opportunity of working together not just beneficial and complementary to both businesses but also inspiring in every way.
I hope this collaboration becomes the most successful project that The Bespoke Boutique and AMWA Designs do this year, but if not… I will still be richer in my soul for meeting an amazing textile designer and a beautiful, genuine person that I now consider a friend.