How would you describe the Craftmobile?
SB: It’s modular in a sense but I see it as a bespoke flatpack solution. I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of glueless and screwless furniture. I think that comes from moving house so many times in my life and needing to get things up and down the stairs! This system can be unpegged and reassembled anywhere, so I’m really excited to apply it to a unique space like the Crafts Council Gallery.
From design to delivery, can you describe the creative process?
SB: The Craftmobile actually started from a system I designed two years ago for a couple of cabinets. It’s a concept I’d never really pushed but a lot of people have pointed at the work in the past and said “Oh wow! That would be great in a school”.
I’m used to working with rigid architectural processes but this felt nice and open. Our initial document included zoomed-in shots of the system, colour studies and quick 3D rendered models to look more true to life. As we moved on the process got looser, more sketches, more line drawings, more co-creation.
Then the digital model gets CNC’d and the cut parts come to me quite rough. I’m rounding corners, oiling, assembling, and creating the pegs with a jig.
Tell us about the co-creation with young people…
NK: We’ve been working in partnership with Islington Council’s Homes and Communities team, and we invited local families to come into the gallery for a series of workshops. Families could experiment with symbols and colour schemes, help us choose a name and preview the set-up.
SB: Yeah, the symbols offer some wayfinding and keep things accessible. I love that moment when a child walks in and recognises their own drawing on the final piece. Like “wow look there’s the magnifying glass I drew last time I visited”. For young people to feel they have agency and that they can interact with a well-known institution, that’s a huge benefit.
NB: Yes, you stand outside and see our building’s big pillars, grand steps and gates…but now families can feel a sense of ownership. And for the kids to work with a professional designer - it makes for a more interesting design but they’ve also learnt about one more career path.