Get to know the amazing work of Giles Miller Studio as Composer of materials
Giles Miller Studio attended Maison et Objet Paris the past January as a British Rising Talent together with other 5 talented young designers and gladly we at My Design Agenda were there to experience and get to know their work philosophy and innovative mind a little better.
If you don’t know about Giles Miller Studio you should definitely do some research, the London-based studio is specialized in the development of truly unique surface, sculptural and architectural works, focusing on small yet important components of design such as light, reflection and texture.
Giles Miller is a “Composer of materials”, he believes that spaces are defined by surfaces that frame them and thrives to master the manipulation of elements to create elegant and functional artworks.
All of the studio’s projects are designed in-house and the majority are completed by hand in a practice that combines technically advanced design and hand-crafted techniques. Gilles Miller Studio has created acclaimed award-winning work for some of the world’s most successful brands, and every project they make contributes to the charity Cancer Research.
How have you decided to embrace your profession?
My approach to the profession of design is actually to keep quite closed to the outside world of design, wherever possible. We have a particular process that is very developmental, and each concept and project is a part of a larger process of investigation into surfaces, sculpture or architecture. My colleagues keep very informed of the wider design world which helps us, but personally I have to work to keep our designs internal and prevent influence from the more trend-based design world.
Who inspired to grow, personally and professionally?
I had a particularly inspiring set of teachers throughout school and university, but I have also been enormously influenced by friends and colleagues who I studied and worked with. My studio is now made up of a group of young designers and artists, and we work together to create the best work we can. We all influence each other and help to push the collective studio forward as a team, which is a wonderful way of working.
What is your philosophy on work and life?
Balance. I feel that the weight of work and external life should be harmonious, and with a young family I will not allow myself to work so much that I do not experience my kids growing up and loving their young lives. We work very hard in the studio, but we rarely work more than our planned hours, and I have time in the week to be with my kids. I think the world is increasingly able to be fluid about work, and in the creative world we can merge our personal lives with work wherever possible for mutual advantage.
If you could be an object, which one would you be?
I think I’d be an aeroplane. I am a little anxious about heights, so I could confront that fear and see the world in all it’s beauty every day.
Is there anything exciting that you are working on at the moment that you can tell us about? Any new projects?
We will be installing a temporary building in, London this coming weekend. It will showcase a louvred facade system that we have been developing in our newest work that enables the ‘skin’ or a building to control the light inside the space. It’s a wonderful experimental approach, and hopefully we’ll build larger more permanent versions in the near future.
Can you talk about one of your favourite projects that you have developed?
We build a pavilion in the Surrey Hills for walker sand bikers. The project started as a brief to create seating, but we went much further and created a piece of sculptural architecture. The structure is made up of many cedar shingles, which have messages from locals, family and friends etched onto them. it’s very personal, and quite overwhelming to red all the amazing contributions. The structure looks out over a beautiful vista in the Surrey Hills, so is a very special project for us.
Besides Maison et Objet Paris, which major international events do you attend/follow to get all the latest novelties?
As I said, we tend not to take too much from the wider design world, but we have been to many shows including in London, Paris, New York, Dubai, Mumbai and as far as Tokyo.
Which professionals do you admire, in the design and architecture world?
There are so many people doing wonderful work. We recently had the pleasure of a talk in our studio from Seetal Solanki who founded Ma-tt-er. Seetal is an inspirational creative who takes a research-based approach to design problems to realise much more holistic solutions that end up reaching far beyond the initial problem. She’s doing wonderful things.
What are your favorite materials to work with?
Without meaning to give a trick-answer, our favourite materials are light, shadow and reflection. Our surface work is all about using a wide variety of materials to manipulate light in such a way as to create new and beautiful effects. These mediums are there for the taking, and whatever materialistic tools we use, it’s all about celebrating the forces of nature and the surroundings of a piece of work in an honest and innovative way.
How would you describe your style? Do you have a signature touch?
We tend to create work that is made up of many many components… maybe this is our trick. Thousands of parts, painstakingly assembled by hand to create an intriguing and creatively progressive effect. The work that goes into our pieces is always apparent, and it’s something that brings us together as a studio in that we spend so much time making the final pieces. We use technology increasingly, but we’ll always take pride in the hand-assembled aspects of our work.
See also: A Small Conversation with Marcin Rusak