From the sanded plywood tables to the endless stacks of multi-coloured paper, 99.9% of the objects at GF Smith’s Beauty in the Making exhibition are easy on the eye. We were particularly enraptured by the glossy red stools filling the coffee bar area, which instantly brought back memories of classrooms, bunsen burners and graph paper. Luckily for us, the incredibly talented and friendly stool-maker, David Irwin, was about for a chat…
Hi David, tell us about your lovely red stools…
My lovely red stools, well, they are the Working Girl stools and I have designed them exclusively for British manufacturer Deadgood. We have quite a close relationship with Deadgood as we both went through the Designers in Residence program at Northumbria University so I’ve known the guys for quite a while. The stools actually started life as a commission for the university for the workshops. So straight away they had to be quite simple and immediately functional – they had to work. I sold them on to Deadgood who now manufacture and distribute them and, as I said, it’s a very simple, functioning product that is just a basic reference to existing workshop stools which we are all familiar with an have probably all sat upon in physics labs here and there.
Why are they named Working Girl?
(Laughs) Um…bit of a joke that kind of stuck, I think it was Dan from Deadgood, it’s a little bit tongue-in-cheek, their brand is all about implementing an element of fun and character to what they do, which in a way sets them apart from other brands and manufacturers.
So what other projects have you got lined up at the moment?
At the moment I’m working on a range of lighting for a company called Juniper design and they are a start-up company based in Brooklyn, so people will be able to go and see the launch in September, and I’m actually doing my own solo show in London in September for the design festival.
I would quite like to move to London, as I said I kind of started out at the Designers in Residence program which offers two years of free access to the workshop so it’s been a good place to start a business but it will hopefully grow and expand and I’ll come down to bigger and better things in London .