JOSEPH MEETS //
ROBERT STOREY

JOSEPH MEETS //
ROBERT STOREY

To Hackney, for an insight into the world of set designer ROBERT STOREY. White walls, clean floors and a smattering of pastel paint for his latest window installation, we spent the morning with Robert discussing his latest projects, East London living and his favourite pieces from the JOSEPH menswear Autumn Winter '15 collection.

Sweat Shirting Sweater in Navy

How did it all start for you?
I studied Fine Art Sculpture at Central Saint Martins and travelled to New York after I graduated. I had no intention of staying there but I got work with a set designer and it opened my eyes to a new commercial medium of making sculpture. I'd always been interesting in designing or making sculptures for an environment rather than just to be put into a gallery space. I moved back to London, assisted the incredibly talented set designer Shona Heath and it went from there - Storey Studio opened in 2010.

What are you working on at the moment?
We're working on some window concepts for Hermes in 2016 and for Stella McCartney at the end of the year. We're also doing a lot of visual communications for Nicholas Kirkwood working on his showrooms and Christmas and January windows. We're working on global projects for Diesel and after that I'll be working on the fashion shows for Feb. Lots on!


It opened my eyes to a new commercial medium of making sculpture


You work with such a range of designers, how do you manage to combine both your design aesthetics whilst remaining true to your own?
I think that the majority of people come to us knowing what we do, so they have an idea of what they think they're going to get. All brands are different, sometimes people think they want my aesthetic but ultimately they have a clear idea in mind which we work towards. I think we're quite lucky because we've established a place in the market where we do lots of retail and showroom spaces but also work on window concepts, photoshoots, campaigns and fashion shows too. It's quite niche; there's not that many set designers that are working across so many disciplines.




London is more of a satellite for me, it's a constant


How would you describe your aesthetic?
It's architectural, contemporary, bold, and graphic. I don't like things to be overly designed or complicated, but I like them to look like they have strong elements of design within them.

Where do you draw your influences from?
I take a lot of my inspiration from architects and artists like Carlo Scarpa, Donald Judd, Anish Kapoor and Josef Albers, but there's always different things that inspire me each season. I went to see the Barbara Hepworth exhibition at the Tate Britain a few months ago and found that massively inspiring, and I'm going to see Calder's 'Performing Sculpture' at the Tate Modern later this week too. I think there's a general foundation of people I look too for inspiration, but it's very reactive, in London particularly there are exhibitions that pop up all the time. I find it inspiring to see where other artists have drawn their influences from and how they work with different materials in new, innovative ways.

Do you have any materials or techniques that you gravitate towards or is still very much experimental from project to project?
I used to gravitate more towards wood because I understand how to use it - it's a relatively easy material to manipulate. But as the studio's grown, I've become more interested in material research and exploring its properties. Recently we've been looking at bricks and building materials; things that you wouldn't expect to use in the context of fashion. Often the unexpected materials prove to be the most interesting, which keeps things relevant and exciting.

Robert's Hackney based studio

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As the studio grows, are you still able to be as hands-on as you were at the beginning?

I'm still very hands on with all of the projects in terms of the designing. The studio is growing and I'm looking to employ a new senior designer who can take on projects and run with them and the team on their own. I'll still creative direct everything but it'll allow me to work on more projects. I have less physical involvement now in regards to the construction and fabrication because we bring in freelancers or use external fabricators to make things for us. I'm definitely not painting as much as I used to be or cutting up wood, but I do a bit here and there!

You work between New York and London, do you have a preference?
I go over to New York every three months or so. I go through phases of which one I like more. Ultimately, I find London more comfortable - I was raised in the UK and have lived in East London for 10 years now. My studio is here, so I suppose London is more of a satellite for me, it's a constant. New York is always a bit more up in the air, but I love its energy and buzz. I'm in the ideal situation where I get to work in America and in England.

In terms of your personal style how does it vary between work and play?
My work style is quite utilitarian, there's definitely practicality in mind, but there's also a more fun and playful element to it too because of the type of work that I do. It's creative and I think that's often reflected in what I wear. I don't like screaming statements - I look for good quality pieces, great tailoring and beautiful tones of colour that aren't the same as everything you see out there. For me there's always a subtle attention to detail.

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For me there's always a subtle attention to detail





Secret spots of London?
I love the Barbican centre, the conservatory on a Sunday is amazing. As you can see by the studio, I love plants and I love that kind of tranquillity they bring especially in the centre of the city. There was a show recently at The White Cube in Bermondsey by Cerith Wyn Evans - where neon sculptures were interspersed with plants on rotating turntables and I'm really looking forward to the Calder exhibition this week. I hang out a lot in East London, I like small cosy places to eat, Floyds on Shacklewell Lane is really good and local pubs like The Royal Oak on Columbia Road.

What's next?
I'm excited to keep working architecturally but also focus on product and furniture. We made a lamp earlier this year for Wallpaper* Handmade which showed at Salone Del Mobile. Kalmar, who we made it with, have asked me to design another lamp with them which will be sold and become part of their collection which is really exciting.

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