Inspired by Design 03: Giles Miller
London-based designer Giles Miller specialises in the development of truly innovative surface, material and sculptural artworks. He and his ever-growing team are interested in light, reflection, texture and the manipulation of all three of these elements to create subtle and functional artworks.
Giles Miller Studio has not only attained extensive international press coverage but has also created acclaimed and award-winning work for some of the world’s most prestigious brand-names across a variety of industries.
The studio is located in the heart of London’s creative East end where all projects are designed in-house, the vast majority being manufactured in the United Kingdom and completed by hand.
As a designer I spent much of my education experimenting with processes and techniques, and finally came to accept that my particular style of working was based on the simple manipulation and innovative composition of materials. Having previously designed furniture, (including an extensive range of corrugated cardboard pieces) I was eventually commissioned by Stella McCartney to produce a wall-piece, and then came the realisation that surfaces were the perfect application of my creative interest.
Who is your biggest influence?
I suppose I always have a favourite designer at any particular time, but often the interest is not just in their work, but also the way they have managed to grow their creativity into business or scale up which is down to their individual ambition. Right now Thomas Heatherwick is of huge interest to many of us because of how he is smashing the barriers of creative process and allowing his ideas to lead the way in such a strong business.
Which surface, installation or sculpture are you most proud of if you had to pick one and why?
I think I am most excited about a current project. A pavilion we're building which will sit atop the Surrey Hills near Cranleigh. Most of our projects are commercial commissions overseas but this is an ambitious piece of sculptural architecture, situated close to my home and heart. It'll be a lovely stamp of our progress and will be in a truly beautiful part of the UK.
When hiring staff for GMS what is the one thing they simply must have?
Our staff all have an interest in our progress, and that is the mandatory aspect of working at GMS. We are fledgling designers who believe we're onto something big, and in order to deal with the pressures of the workload they should all have that same belief that we will succeed and it will benefit the whole team.
Where do you go to relax when the city gets too much?
My family and I are slowly edging our way out of London in a south-easterly direction, so home is becoming our new solace! When I'm not sitting in our little garden with ivy towering around me for privacy, I love to walk along the banks of the Thames by our studio when the tide is low. The river is a true break from it all.
What area in the creative industries would you like to explore further?
Unlike many creatives I am interested in not just the art but the business of art, and I am keen to experiment with new applications of our creative work that can be accessible in new and alternative formats. For example technology can enable a viewer to swipe their hands across a screen and see their drawing appear in our surfaces on a building above them - that will happen, and I can't wait!
What do you think we'll look back on in 50 years and see as truly ground breaking in the design industry?
I think potentially the general area of technological production, which is shaping so much of what we are able to produce, will be the marker for our generation. As lasers and 3d printers carve new production capabilities it enables designers to respond in kind with new applications of their creative work for increasingly varied consumption. The rate of progress in intriguing and we aim to ride that wave whilst also balancing the hand-made element to our work finely.
If you weren't running GMS what would you have probably ended up doing?
I have a truly boring obsession with property and development, so that may have been the next port of call. I guess its related to an interest in building as well as hidden opportunity, but I'm glad GMS prevents me from sinking into that cliche too much!
Any new concepts / businesses in the pipeline?
As I mentioned we are working on some new formats currently including sculptural architecture, which I believe will be a game changer for our studio. We are working on the first version of what could be called a small scale building now, and I hope that this will arm us for larger more ambitious versions of the same in the future. The wider responsibility of artists vs architects to consider their work is a real contrast in itself and I'm fascinated by how we can walk that line as a young creative studio as we grow.
Favourite film quote?
Will Ferrel: "Maxim Magazine, last issue, 'Chazz Michael Michaels IS figure skating!"
Most listened to song of the last month?
Joaquin Phoenix, Cocaine Blues
Favourite London restaurant?
Currently - Fourzawin in Peckham
Style of daily carry?
Backpack for the scooter
Selection of work from Giles Miller Studio pictured below. For more information and to view their other projects visit their website
Thank you to Giles Miller and the studio for agreeing to be interviewed