Our first in a series of interviews with members of the YCN Professional Awards jury is with A Practice For Everyday Life.
Between now and the deadline for entries on March 28th, we'll hear from some of those on this year's 80 strong jury for the YCN Professional Awards.
We kick off with Emma Thomas and Kirsty Carter, founders of creative design agency A Practice for Everyday Life.
YCN: What is it you enjoy about being designers?
A Practice for Everyday Life: The diversity of our day, and the opportunity to absorb ourselves in a subject we love. We don’t mean design generally, but more the projects we get to work on. Working in the cultural sector allows us to totally immerse ourselves in Bauhaus one day, then spend the next researching a publication about a new contemporary artist. We started our own studio and have been lucky to work this way from the beginning.
YCN: What was the best piece of advice you received when you began working professionally?
APFEL: “Work hard and be nice to people”. Anthony Burrill helped us a lot when we started out, we collaborated together on quite a few projects with FAT architects and the Tate. He was always there to give us advice and more importantly he kept our spirits high in the tough first few years.
YCN: What piece of work are you especially proud of?
APFEL: Probably the Barbican Bauhaus: Art as Life exhibition. It was a real challenge to create something fresh for a subject we know so well as designers. It is well-trodden ground and probably the hardest brief you can ever be given to interpret. We were already so proud of what we did and when we found out the project had been nominated for this year's Design of the Year Award at the Design Museum, it was a great compliment to what we hoped we had achieved.
YCN: You were listed in Monocle's Top 20 collaborators to call on for 2013. What are the challenges and benefits of working collaboratively?
APFEL: We love collaborating, and our work has a real need for us to find partners to work with. It is great to bounce ideas around and work with people whose specialism is quite different from ours, as their knowledge can push the project further. Often our collaborators are stars in their own right, so it is a real honour to be working alongside them and we learn a lot from them.
YCN: What’s the best thing you’ve ever won?
APFEL: The Clerkenwell Green Association (now known as Craft Central) award in 2003. Without this award, we would not be where we are today. We applied for help when we set up our studio as we didn't have any money to invest after scraping ourselves financially through university. We knew we wanted to start the studio, so we could only do this with help from others. The CGA paid for our studio for the first few years, then at a reduced rent for one more. This was invaluable, because as a partnership it was important we had our own space rather than working from one of our bedrooms.
YCN: What’s the most inspiring thing you’ve recently seen?
APFEL: Are we allowed to mention something we have worked on? The works on show at the Linder: Femme/Objet exhibition at Musée d'Art Moderne, Paris are very inspiring. Well actually it is more Linder herself than the exhibition. We have always been huge fans of hers and when we got asked to work with her we were over the moon. She is a real inspiration for any woman working today and closely collaborating with her over eight months was incredible. She is feminist, punk, maverick and ultimately an amazing individual.