I know for many people, myself included, the notion of selling your own work yourself is mortifying.
Yes, I’m not interested in that. I want people to have these things, but …
If you build it they will come.
I always believe that if you do something with love, if it’s the right thing to do, and if it’s truly what you want to do, it always works out. It’s a very, very deep thing I have in me. You have to really follow your deep instincts and then it always works out.
Has there been a time when you’ve done that, when something has logically seemed a bit kind of crazy but you’ve gone with it anyway because you’ve really believed in it?
I think us working together is the best example of that [laughs], and the collection we did for Moroso, the first ones, the charpoys. I just went to India and spent a month creating the prototypes based on a gut instinct of wanting to do it and I’ve never been happier than doing that, working that way. I was so completely absorbed in the design, and the doing of it, that the outcome didn’t matter. What was going to happen afterwards just didn’t matter to me.
I put so much energy into it and all the people who made it in the workshop did too. There was so much energy in those pieces that when they were shown in Milan, it (the Moroso stand) was mobbed because it was so fresh and somehow people felt the energy that had gone into the work. I always feel that when I let go and go and do something, it always works. Like with the Wellcome Trust, the presentation we made to them was actually a miniature painting I did. I used to like drawing and painting but I never thought I could use that in my design work. Yet, here we were presenting to this high technology and biomedicine organisation through a painted pop-up book of fictitious objects that didn’t exist; we just went with it because we had a very strong feel for it and … it was a huge success.
Do you feel like you’ve made it? You’ve done some significant projects for very big brands and you’ve also had many of your own designs made – what else is left?
You know what, I don’t think that if you spoke to any creative person in the world, they would ever say, “I’ve made it” because the essence of a creative person is that they’re never happy … with what they’ve done, or the world. There’s this constant need, the creative curse … You have to create. Sometimes as a creative person you move on too quickly from projects. I’ve done it; I’ve given birth, now it’s time to move on, what’s next? We still have to build this beautiful house which uses local materials, and doesn’t need any electricity, and is completely sustainable … Jonathan’s dream is to create this house … There are so many things to do.
Design is one aspect of our life and it’s a very important one, but there are just so many others, like I’m particularly interested in the principles of Ayurveda and that’s something I want to embrace. I’m interested in holistic wellbeing and how that translates into design and our material environment. I still have to design the most fantastic wellbeing spa in the world. That’s something I’ve been thinking about wanting more and more to explore. I want to work more with craftsmen in India and with communities in India to create fabrics and textile products. I’d love to design the costumes for a Hindi film. There’s one aspect to our work which is very much about the physical and the tactile, but there’s also the other aspect to us which is about research and insights and, I don’t want to say ‘intellectual’ because I don’t think that’s the right word, but it’s beyond the thing. I don’t think I can ever say, “This is me” because there are so many aspects to me.
Sometimes I think there’s just too much I want to do and I really want to learn more and more. Now I’m at a stage where I feel like, we’ve been working together for eight to ten years, and I feel like something new is coming. I don’t know what it is – it’s in the air.