Room39 is a London-based design brand and online shop owned by lingerie designer Petra Grmek-Green, and it brings together an eclectic mix of luxury textiles and artisan furniture and accessories, sourced from around the world. All of which are ‘heirlooms for the future’. The shop will be showing its delightful wares at Tent London in a couple of weeks, but until then, Petra is going to tell us about loving design, the Wizard of Oz and alternative realities…
When did you know that you wanted to design? I have a vague memory of wanting to be a creative from a very early age, not that I was particularly artistic as a child. I didn’t draw or paint much but I did like to fantasise – imagining alternative realities (lies as others would call them) and I did once make quite an elaborate palace out of several cardboard boxes for a stray cat. The cat didn’t like it, though. In short, I was called strange a lot as a child and than I heard artists are strange, so I put two and two together and stuck with it.
What are you most proud of in your work? I never asked myself this question, because I don’t really look back. What I’ve done, whom I’ve been and what I’ve achieved in the past is in my mind never as good as what is yet to come. But saying that, I do feel very proud when someone says they’ve been inspired by my work or that they enjoy working with me.
What kind of material do you think has great possibilities? I’m currently working a lot with wool felt and I’m still excited by it and its variety of applications. I think linen and hemp for their sustainability and centuries-long manufacturing tradition in Europe, are going to be more prominent in our linen cupboards. In more broader terms creating commodities out of waste is the future.
Which product would you redesign if you could? If I could? Imagination knows no limitations. I don’t like the car shape of the moment, they look like eggs on wheels. I crave for a more rectangular shape, more car-like such as a child would draw.
Which designer has inspired your work? Not any designer in particular but rather certain objects, buildings, technologies even, like the womb chair by Eero Saarinen, Centre Pompidou in Paris , the saturated palette of the 1939 Wizard of Oz film, old-fashioned butchers shops to name but the first few that spring to mind. I do however find myself lusting after most of the works from the Bouroullec brothers.
What designers you know should we watch out for? Reinhard Dienes from Germany, Nicola Staubli from Switzerland, Max Frommeld, Supafrank and Jonna Saarinen from London, RIJADA from Latvia, Dokter and Misses from South Africa, Ana Kras from Serbia and my Slovenian compatriot Nika Zupanc.
What are you looking forward to about being at Tent London? Put my self and my work forward and see what happens.
What’s your next grand plan? Relocate into my new studio and get myself organised- harder than it sounds.
What do you get up when not being a brilliant, cutting-edge designer? Describe your perfect day off… Well, my perfect day would be spent being a brilliant cutting-edge designer, with my five-year-old quietly occupied by some instructive activity, my 15-month old serenely playing with something other than a electric apparatus and my husband gently playing his violin in the background.
Tell us a secret… I never stopped imagining alternative realities.