Trifle Studio is the UK’s first design studio whose work is made by creatives with learning disabilities

Launched by Intoart, the studio aims to champion high quality design work while challenging notions “of who can and can’t be a designer”.

Date
23 March 2022

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Today (23 March), Peckham-based charity arts organisation Intoart has launched a multi-disciplinary design studio, the first in the UK whose work is created by artists and designers with learning disabilities. Spanning an incredible range of disciplines across product design, illustration, fashion, interiors, textiles, homeware, editorial and advertising, the studio aims to build on award-winning work Intoart already has under its belt for clients such as John Smedley, Lush and the V&A Museum – alongside homeware and design work the organisation has been creating for decades. Through its new direction, Trifle is seeking to tackle the continued underrepresentation of people with disabilities throughout the design sector by improving visibility and firmly establishing its position within the commercial sphere.

“It is great to see diversity within the creative industries becoming an increasingly pertinent topic,” says Tom Dorkin, Trifle studio manager. “Our role is to remind people that there is still a long way to go in the sector – placing the lack of representation of people with learning disabilities at the forefront of our mission.” While Intoart has amassed 22 years of experience working with artists with learning disabilities to be leaders within their creative fields, the goal behind its new venture Trifle is to carve a space for the studio, in the industry and in the public eye, to dive further into commercial work.

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Yoshiko Phillips: Imperial College Healthcare, photography by Josef Konczak (Copyright © Trifle Studio, 2022)

As for the sorts of projects to expect from Trifle, Intoart’s extensive output offers a hint at the future. A project that “really sums up the design studio” is Intoart’s recent collaboration with famed knitwear brand, John Smedley, says Tom. Featuring hand-drawn designs created by Trifle Studio designers; Andre Williams, Ntiense Eno-Amooquaye and Yoshiko Phillips, the limited edition collection comprised of unisex jumpers, dresses, scarves and shawls, making its debut as part of the British Council showcase for Jakarta Fashion Week. Another project which captures the “bold visual language” uniting all of Trifle’s offerings is Room For Doubt by Andre Williams, a full-scale interior space merging type and bespoke furniture design, or the playful Andre Serif, a type created by Andre – and a personal favourite of ours.

As part of the studio launch, a new website has been produced, showcasing the diversity and strength of Trifle’s previous projects while offering insight for clients on the potential avenues for future collaboration.

Tom concludes: “We understand that people who want to work with the studio may have some questions, some that people may feel uncomfortable asking about learning disability and creativity. We want to build lasting relationships with our clients and assure that there are no ‘wrong questions’. We are always open to honest and respectful dialogue about a subject we have decades of experience in advancing.”

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Christian Ovonlen: Bowie (Copyright © Trifle Studio, 2022)

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Andre Williams: Andre Serif (Copyright © Trifle Studio, 2022)

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Andre Williams: Andre Serif (Copyright © Trifle Studio, 2022)

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Andre Williams: John Smedley, photography by by Takahito Sasaki (Copyright © Trifle Studio, 2022)

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Andre Williams, Christian Ovonlen, Clifton Wright, Kevin Jacobs, Lisa Trim and Ntiense Eno-Amooquaye: V&A for London Design Festival, photography by Josef Konczak (Copyright © Trifle Studio, 2022)

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Andre Williams: Andre Serif (Copyright © Trifle Studio, 2022)

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Andre Williams: John Smedley, photography by by Takahito Sasaki (Copyright © Trifle Studio, 2022)

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Andre Williams: Hard Labour (Copyright © Trifle Studio, 2022)

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Andre Williams, Christian Ovonlen, Clifton Wright, Kevin Jacobs, Lisa Trim and Ntiense Eno-Amooquaye: V&A for London Design Festival, photography by Josef Konczak (Copyright © Trifle Studio, 2022)

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Andre Williams: Room for Doubt, photography by Kristy Nobel (Copyright © Trifle Studio, 2022)

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About the Author

Liz Gorny

Liz (she/they) joined It’s Nice That as news writer in December 2021. After graduating in Film from The University of Bristol, she worked freelance, writing for independent publications such as Little White Lies, INDIE magazine and design studio Evermade.

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