• Miranda_detail
  • Miranda_wall
  • Stella_paris2
  • Stella_store
  • Stella_paris
  • Vases
  • Brass_wall
  • Lighthouse_installation
  • Lighthouse-gallery-installation-by-giles-miller
  • Bombay
  • Rose_napkin_rings
Product Design

Giles Miller

Posted by Alex Bec,

Giles Miller is a self-confessed fidget. Having skipped from Business management to Furniture Design as a student he’s always been happiest when playing materials, working out how to make sure his products feel resolved and complete. This genuine passion for his tangible tools leaves him with a free-source mentality, and encourages others to find their own uses and applications for his creations. We took Giles to one side to get to the bottom of what is a very intriguing practice.

Hey Giles, you’ve got a really interesting body of work, can you tell us where you started and how you got to designing products?

I grew up on the south coast and from a young age was always interested in boats and particularly the bigger ones with their efficiently designed interior spaces, but it did take a little while for me to realise that this interest would end up the basis for a career.

I finally moved from an awful business management course in Nottingham to studying Furniture Design in Loughborough and my interest was further enthused by a fantastic group of colleagues who slowly persuaded me to give up the student lifestyle and begin a life of all day and night, every day and night, studio existence.

Why do you think you’re so fascinated by materials?

I suppose individuals have their own methods ingrained, and I have always been a fidget. I think playing with materials and in particular trying to exploit their properties has been a growing interest for me, and now I realise that material development leaves space for others to apply my work in their own chosen format.

Designing materials and surfaces always leads to resolved products, because as these materials develop clear ways of using them, or even showing them off, become apparent. I like the idea that someone will take a material I’ve worked in and put their own pattern into it, or use it to elaborate on their own creations.

You studied on the Design Products course at the Royal College of Art, headed up by Ron Arad. The course has produced so many fantastic alumni – who on the course really stood out for you while you were studying?

I remember calling Max Lamb out of the blue not long after he had graduated, and we ended up meeting in a pub in Clerkenwell where I grilled him on his work and his RCA experience for hours (this was pre-application for me). It’s not hard to chat to Max for hours, and you don’t have to do much chatting yourself, but he’s a delightful guy and I have always loved the way he creates his own processes. That for me is a higher level of design, and process is a fascination for me, especially when designers can develop their own production systems.

I suppose it’s easier for me to mention alumni with whom I’m familiar, but I do find Studio Glithero’s work intriguing for the same reasons. Tim and Sarah’s work centres around processes that they create and the result is always beautiful as well as totally original. It’s nice now to be at least touching the boundaries of Max and Glithero’s work through Gallery Fumi, who have worked with us all.

You’re also part of Farm – can you tell us a little about how that works?

My collective, Farm was the result of efforts by myself and 3 colleagues from Loughborough to maintain momentum in the jump from design student to design professional. It’s a great way for us to show work together and we have had collective commissions from the likes of the Design Museum, where we recently built a factory under their stairs as well as a stand for their show during Clerkenwell Design Week.

The Farmers are a group of very individual designers who are disparate in terms of their design direction, but we have a totally paralleled appreciation of design and are consistently involved in the critiquing and development of each others work, however individual the project. The diversity of our work has always had intriguing results when we’ve come together for shows and projects and we will continue to do so, but currently I am working hard on the development of my own areas of interest.

What can we expect to see next from Giles?

I’m currently working on projects with Selfridges, Stella McCartney and Bombay Sapphire for whom I’m creating some pulp Martini glasses and a cardboard bar for the V&A lates next month. It’s a scary and exciting project! I’m also developing new products with the Italian brand Skitsch and Lebanese duo Bokja.

As time goes on I think I will be concentrating on my surfaces and materials, and hopefully I’ll be staging a launch for that side of the work as a separate element during London Design Week in September. Hmmm… fingers crossed!

Ab-300

Posted by Alex Bec

Alex is one of the directors of It’s Nice That who now oversees our sister creative agency INT Works. For several years he oversaw the Monday Morning Music Video feature until it came to an end in 2014.

Most Recent: Art View Archive

  1. Michaelcraig-martin-onbeinganartist-istnicethat-list

    In some circumstances, calling a book On Being An Artist would seem pretentious and pompous, but if anyone knows about being an artist, it’s Michael Craig-Martin. Over his extraordinary career he has studied with Chuck Close and Richard Serra, met the likes of Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns, John Cage and Charles Saatchi, had work shown at Tate Modern, the Pompidou Centre and MoMA, and taught some of the YBAs’ leading lights including Damien Hirst and Sarah Lucas.

  2. Ricco_maresca_mexican_pulp_art_its_nice_that_list_2

    Ballsy, bizarre and a little bit racy, these Mexican pulp fiction book covers are fantastic fun and epitomise our need for a bit of weird naughtiness. The kitsch-factor is overwhelming as scantily clad women run away in terror, a man in purple spandex is surrounded by adoring cats and giant robots menacingly pick up shiny red cars.

    As part of an exhibition at New York gallery Ricco Maresca held earlier this year, the collection is a celebration of pulp paperbacks released in Mexico during the 60s and 70s. Many of the artists remain unidentified which is a shame as some of these are absolute gems. Without book titles, there’s no context for the artwork and we’re left with the ordinary and extraordinary crashing into each other in glorious fashion. According to Ricco Maresca, there’s a key difference between Mexican pulp art and the American pulp art coming out at the same time. As well as the drama and sauciness, much of Mexican pulp art prominently featured violence, sci-fi, psychedelia, and crime, making it all the more outrageous.

  3. Yayoi-kusama-itsnicethat-list

    Yayoi Kusama is one of few artists who is seems to be without comparison. Her new exhibition, Give Me Love takes place at New York’s David Zwirner gallery, and features a collection of her enormous brightly coloured canvases. Their sunny dispositions are undercut with titles which reveal a more disquieting undertone for example I Who Cry in the Flowering Season, or I Am Dying Now There the Death Is. In another room a series of her bulging Pumpkin sculptures, reminiscent of decaying fruit in spite of their metallic sheen and polka dot finish, reinforces the juxtaposition of the joyous and the sinister.

  4. Brest_history_and_chips_it's_nice_that_list

    Imagine a John Stezaker collage let loose in the kitchen and you’ve got the History and Chips series from Brest Brest Brest. With a portfolio that includes a poster of Elvis Presley’s face emerging from a melting ice cream, the graphic design studio based in the south of France couldn’t fail to pique our interest. For their playful History and Chips collages, Rémy Poncet and Arnaud Jarsaillon have raided the fridge and dressed up classic movie stills and vintage portraits with everything from smoked salmon and mustard, to ham and pineapple. A testament to the fact that food makes everything better, these old pictures are given a new lease of life thanks to a little bubblegum and a wry sense of humour.

  5. Olafur_eliasson_the_weather_project_it's_nice_that

    This week the most visited modern and contemporary art museum in the world celebrates its 15 year anniversary. After its transformation from derelict power station to beloved beacon of British culture, Tate Modern has defined a generation and helped open art to the everyman. Here, we look at some of the top moments over the last decade and a half at Britain’s leading arts institution.

  6. Kings-cross-pond-ooze-architects-its-nice-that-list

    I’ve slid down an art installation before thanks to Carsten Höller, and I’ve frolicked about in a room full of balloons thanks to Martin Creed, but never before had I literally swum in art until this morning. Bright and early, there I was shivering in art, thanks to a bathing pond art installation in a building site in London’s King’s Cross. The piece, formally known as Of Soil and Water: the King’s Cross Pond Club , was created by Ooze Architects (Eva Pfannes and Sylvain Hartenberg) and artist Marjetica Potrč, and takes the form of a natural, chemical-free pool, complete with plants and bushes. And who knows what else – I didn’t dare think what one day could be lurking in there after the maggoty old python Hampstead Heath ponds story of a few years back. 

  7. List

    They wowed us in 2010 with their pop-up cinema in an old petrol station in Clerkenwell, The Cineroleum, and the following year they won us over with Folly for a Flyover in Hackney Wick. Now, after 15 years of transforming unusual spaces, the east London collective Assemble has been shortlisted for the 2015 Turner Prize for the revival of a cluster of derelict terraced houses in Liverpool, Granby Four Streets. Borne out of the DIY-culture and the flurry of pop-ups like Bold Tendencies that took London by storm a few years ago, the collective of 18 designers and architects is an exciting choice, and a first for the often sensational art prize.

  8. List-erik-kessels-unfinished-father_002-its-nice-that

    Kesselskramer co-founder Erik Kessels’ side projects usually seem light-hearted: take his book Attack of the Giant Fingers, for instance. His latest project, though, has a decidedly more serious slant, having been borne of his father suffering a stroke. For the project, named Unfinished Father, Erik looked to his pa’s passion for restoring Fiat 500 (Topolino) cars. Prior to his stroke, Kessels senior was halfway through completing his fifth of such restorations, but it was left unfinished since the attack left him barely able to move or speak.

  9. List-jeremy-deller-vinyl-factory-venice-biennale-its-nice-that

    All-round superdude Jeremy Deller has created a jukebox for the Venice Biennale. But instead of Fleetwood Mac’s Go Your Own Way or other pub staples like Russ Abbott’s Atmosphere, it plays only the sounds of factories. Cleverly named Factory Records, the piece contains 40 seven-inch records, each of which features the ambient sound of a different factory. Visitors to the piece can put on whichever they fancy, and if they really like it, they will be able to buy the sounds as a limited-edition box set designed by Deller with Fraser Muggeridge and released by The Vinyl Factory. The work continues Deller’s ongoing investigations into English working-class concerns, and links to his Venice Biennale performative piece, which uses archive materials to look at factory working conditions from the 19th Century to the present day.

  10. Robertnicol-itsnicethat-list

    It’s been a few years now since we posted the work of artist, illustrator and Camberwell tutor Robert Nicol, but our tardiness only means there’s a heap of new work for us to enjoy in his portfolio. From paintings to book covers, editorial illustrations to ceramic sculptures, Rob’s able to turn his versatile talents to a number of different ends. It’s interesting to look at his work together and see how he can amplify or refine certain traits depending on the job in hand. So we have his wonderful paintings where bold colours and surreal characters are given free rein, contrasted with his stylish book covers where hints of narrative achieve a lot in a quieter context.

  11. List--itsnicethat-ppic0035_picasso

    It’s always great to see another side of the biggest names in art, and in this selection of posters from artists including Picasso, Henri Matisse, Yves Klein and Le Corbusier, our curiosity is amply satisfied. These masters’ works have been drawn together for a London exhibition showcasing lithographic posters from the archive of Galerie Mourlot, which originated in Paris but now calls New York its home. Each of the posters is lithograph printed, and all are fascinating; many showing a looser style to the ones we’re so familiar with from these big names.

  12. Christophniemann-esgibtnichtgutes-itsnicethat-list

    My colleague Emily Gosling wrote a great piece for the latest issue of our Printed Pages magazine in which she called out the patent nudity of the emperor by saying that in reality, the creative process can be pretty dull to witness. Obviously that’s not to say that we want to see slick creative work with all traces of the artist removed; in fact in our digitally-defined age we delight in being able to see the spirit of the image-maker writ large.

  13. Kristoffersonsanpablo-itsnicethat-list

    If you like Eric Yahnker – and let’s face it, who doesn’t? – then you’re really going to enjoy the work of Kristofferson San Pablo, a Filipino artist now based in Los Angeles. His work takes an ironic look at popular culture, lampooning it for its absurdity, but also acknowledging its utter infectiousness. Kristofferson’s strange pencil drawings and luxurious paintings eroticise Simpsons characters, destroy our lust for celebrities and ridicule the stars of reality television, making sure that when surveying the modern world our tongues are kept firmly in cheek.