If you were lucky enough to find yourself at the festival Secret Garden Party earlier on this summer you might well remember an enormous suspended sculpture, composed of hundreds of shard-like fragments of metal which spelt out the words “KEEP MAKING LOVE,” swinging softly in the breeze. Pretty magnificent, wasn’t it? It was the work of Netta Peltola, a London-based designer freshly graduated and full to the brim with exciting ideas for building, designing, and making very cool things. She’s created all kinds of other brillant projects too, from a series of anglepoise lamps and a look book for a London designer, to a giant wooden hut that you can sit in, which she made for Green Man Festival.
We had a chat with Netta about the magical studio she shares with nine other creatives in London’s Hackney Wick, and how she lets play and the people around her shape her ideas. She’s a lovely lass. Read on below!
Where do you work?
I usually work from my studio in Hackney Wick, which I share with nine other creatives. It’s a great mix of sculptors, musicians, photographers, puppeteers and other designers – the space is always full of life and music. The rooms, workshop and studio desks are built by us, often from things we have found. We also have a treehouse and a vegetable garden we are very proud of. The studio is always full of surprises – I don’t think I have ever seen something similar with such a harmony.
How does your working day start?
I’m an early bird and I enjoy a relaxing run in the mornings. It gets your mind flowing and going. I can’t describe an average day because my projects are so varied at the moment; sometimes it starts by drilling and building, or too often I’m working all day on my computer. I try to meet my two creative partners regularly for a cup of coffee and to brainstorm.
How do you work and how has that changed?
I used to try to define which box I should mould into. Over time I understood that it didn’t really matter – what a relief! Now, I try to give ideas the freedom to develop and grow more organically. As long as the idea starts from a good one, the medium, scale or expression will always find its way.
I’ve always had fairly playful approach to my practice; I would describe “play” as drawing over the edges of a piece of paper, or the ability to simply make something out of nothing. Play is also about learning how to fail, as something always goes wrong. For example, building a giant kettle out of an oil drum was a not such a good idea, nor was carrying three chairs on a broken bicycle, or making experimental films in Tube stations during rush hour. But surprisingly, those “failed” attempts become defining moments in the creative process.
I try to have less control over my work and let others interact and change it. I step back to observe and reflect upon it. Regarding materials, I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of using what’s around me, so I often end up up-cycling and repurposing existing materials. This creates natural boundaries that are challenging and at times unpredictable.
Where would we find you when you’re not at work?
I try to leave Hackney Wick as often as I can, but there is always something exciting happening. Sometimes a lovely dinner turns into a spontaneous drumming session or into magical moments around a fire.
Would you intern for yourself?
Yeah, although I wouldn’t take one at this stage as I am a fresh graduate myself. But I genuinely enjoy teaching and advising. At this stage I would rather describe an intern as a collaborator.