Date
4 January 2016
Reading Time
2 minute read
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Ones to Watch 2016: Set designers Isabel + Helen

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Date
4 January 2016
Reading Time
2 minute read

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Nice as pie and with the work to match, Isabel and Helen have been making solidly brilliant set design for the last couple of years. Far from being just pretty shapes, bright colours and aesthetically pleasing geometry, the pair’s work is always underpinned with a conceptual twist. Back in 2013 they were commissioned by the V&A to create an interactive Constructivist playground based on the Russian design movement, and since then their works have continued to mix high-brow ideas with simple pleasures.

Their biggest project this year has been creating three windows for Selfridge’s department store in London, and it sounds like 2016 is already set to be a busy one. “We’ve been prototyping some chairs, which are an extension of our No Diving exhibition back in 2014,” explains Isabel. “We’ve been really enjoying the product design side of things recently, and we’re looking to venture into more furniture design.”

<div class="rich-text"><p>Isabel + Helen: Selfridges</p></div>
<div class="rich-text"><p>Isabel + Helen: Selfridges</p></div>
Above

Isabel + Helen: Selfridges

Above

Isabel + Helen: Selfridges

Taking on more projects like this to add to their already impressive set design portfolio, the pair has been asked by New York Magazine to test out the possibilities of making a sellable product from the Constructivist swing created for 2015’s London Design Festival.

Isabel explains: “We’re looking at how to sell it, probably as more of an art piece than a commercial piece in a very limited run.” Helen adds: “Logistically it makes more sense to create it as a bespoke, handmade art piece. It was never intended as a kids’ thing you’d see in everyone’s back garden, it was always more for adults.”

Above

Isabel + Helen: Selfridges

Isabel and Helen are also keen to expand on the work in fashion they’ve been getting into recently, having worked with ASOS. “A lot of our installations suit the fashion aesthetic, for things like fashion week presentations or press days,” says Isobel.

Having moved to a large shared studio with a built in workshop in South Bermondsey, London, earlier this year, plans are also underway to “make our studio a really nice place to be, and make it how we really want it,” they say.

With so many exciting new routes and disciplines on the horizon, we reckon 2016 will be less swings and roundabouts, and more a brilliant rollercoaster for the girls.

Above

Isabel + Helen: Constructivist swing created for 2015’s London Design Festival

<div class="rich-text"><p>Isabel + Helen: Noodle Chair</p></div>
<div class="rich-text"><p>Isabel + Helen: Noodle Chair</p></div>
Above

Isabel + Helen: Noodle Chair

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About the Author

Emily Gosling

Emily joined It’s Nice That as Online Editor in the summer of 2014 after four years at Design Week. She is particularly interested in graphic design, branding and music. After working It's Nice That as both Online Editor and Deputy Editor, Emily left the company in 2016.

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