Q. How would you describe your work and what you do?
A. ‘My practice is quite material-led and a lot of the projects have been based around communities or craft heritage. WAX Atelier focuses on wax. In the past few years, we've been very experimental, because wax is so versatile – you'll find it in lots of industries, from food to cosmetics. We've explored all areas, but our main products are candles.’
Q. Can you explain the social aspect of your work?
A. ‘We were first based in Barking, east London, where we trained a cohort of local people to make candles. Since then, we've moved to a new space called Poplar Works and we're doing the same thing. The area is changing quite a lot, and skills sharing is a really interesting area for us.’
Q. What are some brands and makers that inspire you?
A. ‘One is Atelier Hop [a makers' collective], run by a Dutch woman named Sanne Hop, who makes gorgeous multicoloured candles. Another is [London lifestyle store] Homework – we met on Instagram and now we stock each others' products. There's STRAW London, which sources beautiful vintage baskets. And we did a collaboration with Vietnamese brand Kilomet109 – we showed them our technique of working with wax, and they showed us their technique of dyeing fabric and making batik.’
Q. What will you make during the Atelier100 programme?
A. ‘A collection of lighting. When fused with fabric or paper, wax gives a translucency, but it also makes it waterproof and lets in light. It'll also be so interesting to use wax waste from our candle production and from our textiles products, too.’
London was chosen as the pilot location for the Atelier100 programme because the capital city is such a strong hub for creativity. Camilla Henriksson, H&M's global brand innovation manager, and Marcus Engman, chief creative officer of Ingka Group, IKEA's largest franchisee, both agreed that London had the ideal conditions necessary for a programme like Atelier100 to really thrive: a surplus of innovative and creative local talent, makers and materials – and something really exciting bubbling under the surface. Plus, the perfect spot for Atelier100's first physical concept shop emerged, nestled between H&M and IKEA stores in the Livat Hammersmith retail, entertainment and community complex in west London.
Ceramic artist Alison Cooke creates objects and installations from clay that's been unearthed from sites of historic and geological interest during mining, engineering or scientific research. Alison's work focuses on the many layers of history that lie beneath a specific location and how they can impact life today. She's exhibited her work at the Institution of Civil Engineers, the British Ceramics Biennial, the Museum of London, the Saatchi Gallery and more.
‘I'm inspired by finding a balance between the use of colour and natural tones, with a Scandinavian approach to design,’ says Elna-Marie Fortune, a textile designer who specialises in handmade wool products. ‘My favourite part about being a creative is watching my ideas come to life – from the very first draft to the finished outcome.’ At Atelier100, Elna-Marie hopes to create textiles that can ‘be passed down for generations to come’.
JOSEF AND FINN
Finn Thomson and Josef Shanley-Jackson are the creative minds behind art and design studio Mitre and Mondays, which is located between Essex Road and Regent's Canal in north London. The studio, which focuses on the playful use of materials and exploring design through making, often works alongside other designers, artists and architects and has recently created a series of furniture, sculpture and lighting called Batch.
‘As part of my final master's project, I have developed a small collection of garments that explore my system of design and making in physical form,’ says Savvas Alexander, a designer and maker who advocates a rethinking of the established systems within the fashion industry and wants to challenge the sector's problem with over-consumption. ‘For Atelier100, I'll be taking a few items from this collection and creating a full look that shows this vision.’
Atelier100's new Hammersmith shop is an open space for collaborating, connecting and, of course, shopping. The space itself was designed by London studios Bibliothèque and Plaid. ‘You have to give people an experience that they weren't expecting,’ says Tim Beard, one of Bibliothèque's founding partners. Sustainability and the reuse of materials were embedded into it – in particular, reusing fixtures from the now-closed Topshop clothing store on London's Oxford Street. ‘There were a lot of interesting fixtures – industrial clothing rails that we've powder-coated, mirrors that were incredibly heavy and large light boxes that were almost too big,’ says Plaid's co-founder Brian Studak. ‘But they're now a “wow” moment when you walk in.’
Unique, semi-transparent doors open up the entire retail environment.
‘The bold use of colour leads to an energetic space,’ says Tim Beard.
The large upcycled light boxes.
London-made products curated by Courier's editors.
A giant display table to sit around and showcase new objects.
Industrial clothing rails upcycled from Oxford Street's Topshop store.
Atelier100 branding created by Bibliothèque and Leon Chew Studio.