October's Ideas for Breakfast saw us meet with Maker and Architect Nick Wood in Dishoom's cosy Conservatory.
On the morning of 30th October, we were treated to the delights of a Dishoom breakfast spread complete with naan and chai, as we gathered in their Conservatory to speak with How About Studio founder Nick Wood. Nick is chief maker and architect at the studio, having founded the practice in 2010. Intersecting art and architecture through his projects, his clients have included a number of leading cultural institutions and brands from Project Ocean at Selfridges and ZSL London Zoo to Southbank Centre. Nick's portfolio is environmentally conscious, playful and endlessly imaginative, translating ideas into memorable physical experiences.
With ten years of training, Nick’s wealth of knowledge about his trade shows through the ingenuity of his practice and the advice that he gave us relating to project management, work relationships and his processes. With residencies, exciting international projects and a self-starter attitude, we loved hearing how Nick has navigated a competitive field with humour and thoughtfulness.
Here's what we learned.
Build in play
When asked if he consciously uses play in his projects, Nick responded that play is vital to both the process and the output for him, and an intrinsic part of his making. Creating something tangible that people can interact with is important to Nick, and even more so is its ability to bring joy and delight as a result. When researching and designing the Netflix-featured Cabin in a Welsh mining community, it was a high priority that it be relatable and useful for the right people in the community, so that the build serves its purpose and garners the intended reaction. This translates neatly into some sage advice that you should only worry about pleasing the majority of people, and forget the rest.
With good relationships comes good opportunities, and Nick emphasised the importance of following up with clients, to push for bigger and better commissions. Focusing on the intense destruction of single-use plastic, his collaboration with Project Ocean and Selfridges initially used 6,000 plastic bottles as an immersive installation experience, but after following up and proposing a grander scale to better reflect plastic’s impact, a second 15,000 bottle-strong installation was commissioned based on the strength of their working relationship. Everyone in the chain should be pushing towards the same place, with growth and flexibility in mind.
Time, materials & good will
Nick spoke about how throughout the early days of his career, he was energised to learn what can be done with the dedication of these three things. As a student at The Bartlett, he and other students transformed empty fields into glowing festivals in a resourceful and innovative way that relied on a positive and hands-on approach. Architecture school drills a high level of drive into students, and Nick recommends taking some time to consciously manage your work/life balance and transition into a regular schedule after studying.
Thanks to Sam Bush for his photographs, Dishoom for their reliably tasty breakfast and to Nick Wood for sharing his insights.