5ml Design Collective is Ilsa Parry, Michael Cloke and Tom Sutton, and their mission is to promote great designers and craftspeople on international platforms. As practising designers and craftspersons themselves, they appreciated the financial and professional struggle creatives endure to promote their designs within the global market. Theirs is a unique cooperative business model where designers club together to consolidate market demand for new, futuristic, socially responsible, concept-led wares. Once market interest is established, the exhibiting designers can choose to meet demand independently, or, where appropriate, are offered licensing opportunities through the 5ml product realisation partner ReThinkthings Ltd. This is leaving Life.Style.etc feeling very frivolous and shallow (nothing new there, then). Anyway, we’ll be seeing them at Pulse, but until then…
Tell us about your studio. We operate from our own individual studios but Ilsa’s ReThinkthings company studio is our collective base of operations. Housed within a charming renovated mill building on the edge of London’s city centre, this provides a perfect central location and being just a five minute walk from Lime Street Station makes it easily accessible to visiting trade buyers.
And, is there such a thing as your average working day? I think I can speak on behalf of the three of us when I say that any day under twelve hours is a short day and they are few and far between. Alongside building on our growing success with 5ml we are all still working on projects relating to our own individual companies. I’m more than happy to be in my workshop for several hours at a time working on furniture or silverware pieces, if you enjoy what you do and use your time productively then you don’t tend to depend on watching the clock.
Julia Jacob‘s Bauhaus bird feeder
Who or what inspired you to become a designer? Personally, I find inspiration from all areas of life. The natural world never ceases to amaze me, after all, evolution demonstrates the strongest examples of design there are. The technological developments within the man-made world are also inspirational, that being said, the human element sometimes demonstrates that we create before we determine whether we actually need. I am enthusiastic about the numbers of designers and craftspersons that manifest an awareness and consideration towards sustainable practice and many of our selected designers within the 5ml collective demonstrate this effectively.
How do you get from idea in your head to finished piece? Sketch, model, analyse, sketch some more, fabricate and finally evaluate. It’s good to have a gut instinct towards the idea in your head, but you’ve got to put in the leg work and perfect your design. If you just jump in and make it then it can just be an expensive idea with little substance. Innovation should always be complemented by perfection.
Tom Sutton‘s Wall Cells shelving system
What are you most proud of? We have come a long way since we first formed a year ago and showed at Pulse. Within that year we have promoted over twenty designers and their products at major international trade events in Europe and here in Britain. In Paris last September, we secured a major order from prestigious lingerie company Princesse Tam Tam alongside gaining orders from a range of independent design boutiques. I feel our strength and success is owed to the high standard of work that we promote and this was confirmed earlier this year with over 50% of our designers products selected by WGSN for its Trendhouse collection, forecasting the hot items for 2012.
How far ahead does your masterplan stretch? We are currently working on extending our services further to support emerging designers and graduates by way of workshops and offering consultancy which will help them prepare for international markets and trade events which we hope to commence in 2012. We are constantly working towards trade shows on the design calender and hope to have a regular presence at selected events.
Sarah Turner‘s Soda lampshade
What do you hope to get out of Pulse this year? Build on the relations we developed with buyers and interested parties last year and attract further interest from visitors who attend this year. We have a strong selection of work from our contributing designers which demonstrate both strong design and manufacturing skills suitable to the retail market. This years selection includes strong design led craft, jewellery and furniture suitable to the independent boutiques alongside some striking and innovative home products suitable to the global design market. Manmade limited editions or design for mass production the 5ml stand will certainly be one to visit.
Other than designing, what makes you happy? Seeing the people around me happy and contented. With the state of the world at the moment we seem to be surrounded by unrest and everyone seems stressed to death, so when I see people getting on with their lives and looking happy I feel happy, too.
How would you spend your perfect weekend? In a quiet part of Cornwall, maybe Bessie’s Cove, on the beach with my family, nice picnic, playing with the kids then dozing with one of the many books that I never get chance to read. Perfect.
Tell us a secret. Nah, it wouldn’t be a secret then would it?