MEANDER // Superfolk solo exhibition 22 - 24 September

It is September and in the world of design that means one thing. The London Design Festival.
So, for this LDF and as part of the brilliant South East Makers Club* we are totally proud to welcome the superb Irish design studio Superfolk to the Simple Shape Studio and present:
MEANDER; a solo exhibition by SUPERFOLK.

Meander- Superfolk x Simple Shape (1 of 1).jpg

Occasionally an email arrives and really improves your day doesn't it...? When Gearoid & Jo-Anne suggested we did something together for London Design Festival, it was a glorious moment! I have loved Superfolk's work and their approach for a long time. These guys are calm designers; thoughtful, skilled and careful. The best kind. Inviting them to wend their way to South East London for LDF was a chance too good to miss.

They are are based on the West Coast of Ireland with the stunning County Mayo landscape forming the bedrock and the backdrop to their life and their work. Playing to their strengths and taking their cues from their environment they have developed a series of new pieces allowing the bends and curves of the river to dictate the form.

The Meander Collection includes polished brass and oiled black steel candlestick holders in sinuous curves as well as new printed textiles and block printed washi-paper wall hangings. These will sit alongside Superfolk's iconic trivets and leather stool.

AND, Superfolk’s designers will be giving FREE demonstrations of ink line drawings over the weekend!

Meander: a solo exhibition by Superfolk
Friday 22nd, Saturday 23rd & Sunday 24th September 2017. 10am - 6pm [demos 12 noon to 3pm]
Simple Shape Studio, Ashby Mews, London, SE4 1TE
[all work will be for sale]

151027 superfolk maker profile image.jpg
Meander (2 of 2).jpg

*South East Makers Club - well, I am totally biased! I’ve worked with a tiny group of passionate volunteers to make sure that the second South East Makers Club builds on the success of the first. The programme of events, exhibitions, talks, shows and workshops running throughout the last weekend of the festival is just brilliant! Check out the website and plan your weekend! Biased, yes. I don't care! southeastmakersclub.co.uk

Simple Shape's 'What We Saw' Review: 3. The Japanese House, Barbican Centre, London

Well...there has been a bit of a gap since our last 'What We Saw' journal review (can I claim our own exhibition for Craft Week as part of the reason?!) So, for our belated third review I visited the Japanese House exhibition. I have long been interested in Japanese cultural life (my Dad used to travel to Japan regularly and I loved listening to the stories of his visits) so this has been firmly on my 'must-do' list. Now I just need to get to Japan in real life (that's on a slightly more ambitious 'must-do' list!)

The Japanese House, Architecture and Life after 1945
Barbican Centre, London, Silk Street, London, EC2Y 8DS
until 25th June 2017

A view across the black atrium to the vivid yellow, brilliantly lit, opposite gallery.

A view across the black atrium to the vivid yellow, brilliantly lit, opposite gallery.

Making the absolute most of the Barbican Centre's iconic space this exhibition is designed to lure, challenge and surprise you. Rooms within rooms, vivid colour, near darkness and explorations of 'lightness' all play their part in enticing and tempting you through the show.

A truly terrible photo (I didn't have my tripod) of Takefumi Aida's playful Toy Block House (1978) pin-point lit in the 'Inhabiting the Experimental' gallery, a boundary-pushing reinterpretation of tradition.

A truly terrible photo (I didn't have my tripod) of Takefumi Aida's playful Toy Block House (1978) pin-point lit in the 'Inhabiting the Experimental' gallery, a boundary-pushing reinterpretation of tradition.

With its starting point rooted in post-atomic 1945 the exhibition seeks to explore how the house became almost a symbol of experimentation during this unique period of history, how "...the post-war condition in Japan created a window for the languages of tradition and modernity to fuse". Japanese craft, European architecture, an interesting playfulness, a rejection of the old, acceptance of the new, and an exploration of 'lightness', arguably "Japan's greatest contribution to the global history of architecture" are mapped out across the two floors of the show.

Sou Fujimoto's House NA is the response to the marked return by young people to urban living. The spatial challenge is interpreted here by allowing the user, rather than the architect, to determine the function of the space. Stacked irregular rooms, floors, layers and platforms leave the user free to choose how to use them.

Sou Fujimoto's House NA is the response to the marked return by young people to urban living. The spatial challenge is interpreted here by allowing the user, rather than the architect, to determine the function of the space. Stacked irregular rooms, floors, layers and platforms leave the user free to choose how to use them.

House in Kyodo by Go Hasegawa, an example of 'Lightness' arguably "Japan's greatest contribution to the global history of architecture" and the result of the Japanese environment, "(the)...warm, humid climate and frequent earthquakes...have resulted in lightweight, open and airy structures."

House in Kyodo by Go Hasegawa, an example of 'Lightness' arguably "Japan's greatest contribution to the global history of architecture" and the result of the Japanese environment, "(the)...warm, humid climate and frequent earthquakes...have resulted in lightweight, open and airy structures."

Looking down and through on rooms-within-rooms-within-rooms. Views through the Moriyama House by Ryue Nishizawa which is constructed accurately at 1:1 scale, "where the gallery obstructs the architecture of the house, the structure is sliced open, exposing the domestic interior in section."

Looking down and through on rooms-within-rooms-within-rooms. Views through the Moriyama House by Ryue Nishizawa which is constructed accurately at 1:1 scale, "where the gallery obstructs the architecture of the house, the structure is sliced open, exposing the domestic interior in section."

Set dressing details are carefully considered and chosen by Yasuo Moriyama the client for Nishazawa's architecture.

Set dressing details are carefully considered and chosen by Yasuo Moriyama the client for Nishazawa's architecture.

Set dressing details are carefully considered and chosen by Yasuo Moriyama the client for Nishazawa's architecture.

Set dressing details are carefully considered and chosen by Yasuo Moriyama the client for Nishazawa's architecture.

STAY HOME // an exhibition & dinner in pictures

This is a post that should have gone up a long time ago, but better late than never.
Here is our STAY HOME exhibition for London Craft Week, in pictures. 

First there was the exhibition. A lovely and balanced group of work from four exceptional makers: Sebastian Cox who made the English Elm Table; Florian Gadsby who set the table with his dinner service and accessories including vases, serving dishes and platters; Elliott Denny who created new and bespoke porcelain work and wonderful experimental sawdust fired pieces and Luke Hope how showed a series of wooden vessels and spoons in a tonal range from white rippled sycamore to black walnut.

Laid Up: Florian Gadsby's dinner service rests on the Sebastian Cox table (pic: Florian Gadsby)

Laid Up: Florian Gadsby's dinner service rests on the Sebastian Cox table (pic: Florian Gadsby)

Mix 'n' Match: Florian Gadsby; full dinner service and accessories in three complimentary tones (pic: Florian Gadsby)

Mix 'n' Match: Florian Gadsby; full dinner service and accessories in three complimentary tones (pic: Florian Gadsby)

...just for clarity

...just for clarity

Black Tower: Luke Hope; black walnut vessels and palm bowls (pic: Florian Gadsby)

Black Tower: Luke Hope; black walnut vessels and palm bowls (pic: Florian Gadsby)

Light & Shade: Luke Hope's work taking it's place on the plinths. (pic: Florian Gadsby)

Light & Shade: Luke Hope's work taking it's place on the plinths. (pic: Florian Gadsby)

Private View Hero #1: The sweetest (underage) barmaid...working the bar on opening night was joined by...

Private View Hero #1: The sweetest (underage) barmaid...working the bar on opening night was joined by...

Porcelain Geometry: Elliott Denny; new forms for Stay Home exhibition (pic: Florian Gadsby)

Porcelain Geometry: Elliott Denny; new forms for Stay Home exhibition (pic: Florian Gadsby)

In's and Out's: Sebastian Cox; waney edge English Elm Table (pic: Florian Gadsby)

In's and Out's: Sebastian Cox; waney edge English Elm Table (pic: Florian Gadsby)

Burn Out: Elliott Denny; unique sawdust fired pots

Burn Out: Elliott Denny; unique sawdust fired pots

Private View Hero #2:  ...the loveliest (also underage) barman in old London town.

Private View Hero #2:  ...the loveliest (also underage) barman in old London town.

And then there was the Stay Home Dinner. A five course feast carefully designed created and cooked by Olivia Bennett. Before guests sat down to dinner they each made and pressed a clay pot - a task organised and overseen by Seb Cox. 

Game Makers: guests being briefed on the task in hand (pic: alexandradao.com)

Game Makers: guests being briefed on the task in hand (pic: alexandradao.com)

Name Check: menus handwritten and illustrated by Sophie Balding

Name Check: menus handwritten and illustrated by Sophie Balding

Ready, Set: just need all the guest and the food, that's all...

Ready, Set: just need all the guest and the food, that's all...

Magic Moments: food, fun and new friends. With guest travelling from the West Coast (San Francisco), the West Country (Somerset) and West London (Battersea) to our pocket of town in SE4, it was a special night to remember. (pic: alexandradao.com)

Magic Moments: food, fun and new friends. With guest travelling from the West Coast (San Francisco), the West Country (Somerset) and West London (Battersea) to our pocket of town in SE4, it was a special night to remember. (pic: alexandradao.com)

STAY HOME // Exhibition 3 - 7 May

It is an absolute delight and pleasure to present STAY HOME, an exhibition of work by 4 remarkable Makers.
Sebastian Cox, Luke Hope, Florian Gadsby and Elliott Denny are each presenting new work in celebration of staying at home, of eating-in. The show also celebrates our home-grown talent.
The exhibition is part of London Craft Week.

Stay Home Exhibition
Wednesday 3rd to Sunday 7th May 2017. 
10am - 7pm* 
Simple Shape Studio, Ashby Mews, London, SE4 1TE

Please come and visit us if you can. Any enquiries or questions, as always, please get in touch: hello@simple-shape.com
[*except Friday 5th May exhibition closes at 5pm]

New work by Florian Gadsby

New work by Florian Gadsby

The exhibition is part of the third London Craft Week and it is wonderful to have been chosen by the LCW panel to participate (thank you!). But not only that...it feels like a real privilege to be able to work with such interesting, talented, relentlessly enthusiastic and all round lovely people as the four involved in this show. Thank you guys!

New work by Luke Hope

New work by Luke Hope

Simple Shape's 'What We Saw' Review: 2. Do Ho Suh, Victoria Miro Gallery, London

This is the second of our new 'What We Saw' strand, a minuscule monthly review of the best thing (maybe art, dance, drama, food...?) I've seen over the last month. This time I went to the Victoria Miro Gallery in Wharf Road, a place I've never visited before to see an artist that I knew nothing about.
I went because I've read and seen incredible things and I wanted to see if the hype was valid.

DO HO SUH: PASSAGE/S
Victoria Miro, 16 Wharf Road, London, N1
until 18 March 2017

Detail from Exit Series, 2016; placed in light boxes in the vast upstairs gallery with it's round window and imposing exposed rafters the 8 pieces of Exit Series, ordinary household fixtures and fittings; lightbulbs, switches, entry buzzers, hold the space quietly.

Detail from Exit Series, 2016; placed in light boxes in the vast upstairs gallery with it's round window and imposing exposed rafters the 8 pieces of Exit Series, ordinary household fixtures and fittings; lightbulbs, switches, entry buzzers, hold the space quietly.

It was. Using fabric and stitch to make two-dimensional 'drawings' and architectural works this is one of the most incredible shows I think I've ever seen. Mesmerizing in its detail. Quiet in tone. Breathtaking in scale. And thought provoking, especially in our time of hurry and rush, see and do.

Even in wanting to see Do Ho Suh's Passage/s I was well aware of having fallen at the first hurdle, "We tend to focus on the destination all the time and forget the in-between spaces". In my urgency not to miss out, what did I miss on the way? I've been left wondering.

Images in no particular order. None of these images do the work justice (apologies Do Ho Suh).

Passage/s, 2105; a walk-through configuration of meticulously replicated places that Do Ho Suh has lived and worked. Formed in stainless steel at one-to-one scale in richly coloured polyester fabric, these are transitory, connecting spaces are the mundane "getting from a to b" places that nobody really sees.

Passage/s, 2105; a walk-through configuration of meticulously replicated places that Do Ho Suh has lived and worked. Formed in stainless steel at one-to-one scale in richly coloured polyester fabric, these are transitory, connecting spaces are the mundane "getting from a to b" places that nobody really sees.

Entrance Apartment A, 348 West 22nd Street NY; thread drawing on gelatine sheet (when the gelatine tissue is immersed in water the gelatine dissolves and the skeletal stitched framework is left).

Entrance Apartment A, 348 West 22nd Street NY; thread drawing on gelatine sheet (when the gelatine tissue is immersed in water the gelatine dissolves and the skeletal stitched framework is left).

Detail from Main Entrance, 348 West 22nd Street NY

Detail from Main Entrance, 348 West 22nd Street NY

Door handle detail, polyester fabric stretched over stainless steel.

Door handle detail, polyester fabric stretched over stainless steel.

Exit Series, string on lights.

Exit Series, string on lights.

The round window in the upstairs Gallery at the Victoria Miro, Wharf Road.

The round window in the upstairs Gallery at the Victoria Miro, Wharf Road.


I went with my photographer friend Alex Dao, she took some super pictures, make sure you look at her Instagram for her pictures and thoughts too.