Cathy Barac makes no bones about it. Glasgow is the place to be if you are a designer. ‘It is a city of movement, of people with new ideas and it's relaxed. You don't need to take fifteen buses or twenty tubes to get across the place,’ she says with a knowing touch of exaggeration.
Barac is one half of the celebrated Glasgow design practice, One Foot Taller. Designers of the all- plastic Chasm leisure chair, One Foot Taller is heralded as a prime example of Glasgow’s good design credentials. Chasm, made from a single rotational mould was recently awarded the Peugeot Design Award and was named ’Best Of Show' at last year's 100% Design in London.
Chasm, along with two further additions to One Foot Taller’s family of chairs, the dining chair Ravine and the armchair Canyon, will be on show in The Glasgow Collection which takes centre-stage in the city's International Festival Of Design. For Barac, these events have helped push the city as a centre of design excellence and assisted designers in linking up with manufacturers.
The Glasgow Collection was conceived by Glasgow 1999’s director, Dejan Sudjic as a means to fanfare the work of emerging designers; but this is no glammed-up trade fair. Glasgow 1999 has proffered both money and practical advice to many of the designs on show, ensuring that it shouts clearly the city’s design achievements.
And importantly for Barac, Glasgow 1999 has brought in the manufacturers. 'In enticing manufacturers, Glasgow 1999 has shown that good contemporary design is worthwhile,’ says Barac. ’The British may not be design-obsessed like the Italians but they are interested.’ And One Foot Taller is a case in point; Glasgow styleshop Nicehouse is manufacturing and selling the chairs.
Barac and Will White set up the company in 1991 and are both graduates of Glasgow School Of Art's product design course, taking their name from the twelve inches that separate their height. Thoughts of relocating to New York have been shelved but in the pipeline is a collaboration with Glasgow design agency Timorous Beasties to reshape The Arches. (Susanna Beaumont)
The Glasgow Collection is at The Lighthouse, Sat 9 Oct—Sun 9 Jan.
They gave us the film titles for Trainspotting and TV ads for Nike and Gordon’s Gin. A sassy London-based communications and mu3ic company, Tomato is in the business of getting a message across — and a well—designed one at that. Founded in 1991, Tomato does not take to the idea of growing into a huge multi- national giant that loses sight of creativity during boardroom battles. Experimentation is the key.
’Tomato came into being as a reaction to the 80s,’ believes Michael Horsham, who is talking at the festival about the agency and their latest book BAREBACK. For Horsham, the Tomato project is about creatiVity and letting everyone do their own thing.
Horsham joined in 1996, having come from a background of working in music and television, and believes too much corporate thinking can be a bad thing. ’We are all individuals who choose to work together, but we don’t work together all of the time — that would be mad.’
As for BAREBACK, he believes that it stands alone. ’It is a collection of images and thoughts and doesn’t fall into any one category.’ (Susanna Beaumont)
Tomato talk at the Briggait Centre on Tue 12 Oct, 6pm, £5 (£2.50).
A song by Paul Weller and memories of wall-screened home-movies prompted Dave Woolard and Paul McGoch to name their business Pictures On The Wall. Formed in 1995, Woolard and McGoch originally intended to pursue a career in product design, which they both studied at Glasgow School Of Art. But new technology got in the way.
’We got the computer kit and were increasingly asked to ’render-up’ images on screen for architects,’ recalls Woolard. ’It was a lot more immediate than product design and we loved it.’ A move into animation and a chance call to Gosh Films saw Pictures On The Wall working in documentary graphics for TV series’ Horizon and Equinox.
The duo, who were joined by Susie Wilson in 1997, feel
no reason to relocate from Glasgow even with half their turnover coming from Stateside business. ’It did have very aspirational views of itself but now Glasgow has a more solid foundation, thanks largely to The Glasgow Collection,’ believes Woolard. As to their training in product design, Woolard considers it has put them in good stead: ’You have a fairly complex idea to get across in less than twenty seconds with graphics but with product design we learnt a new way of looking at the world.’
Pictures On The Wall discuss multi-media design with Red Lemon and Black Information Design on Sun 24 Oct at The Lighthouse, 1.30pm, £5 (£2.50).
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