Where They Create: Jasper Morrison

  • In the first of a new series of collaborations with interiors photographer Paul Barbera of Where They Create, we go inside the studio of British industrial designer Jasper Morrison
    Interview Betty Wood
    Photography Paul Barbera,
    Where They Create

    Having worked with Olivetti, Alessi, Cappellini, Flos, Muji and SCP amongst others, designer Jasper Morrison is a powerhouse of British design, with recent commissions including furniture for the Tate Modern, the ATM desk for Vitra and a range of pots&pans for Alessi. From office plants to window views, we get the skinny on the day-to-day running of Morrison’s studios in Paris, Tokyo and here in London.

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    How many people work in your London studio?

    There are three in our London studio, two in Paris and one in Tokyo, excluding myself.

    Describe an average day at Jasper Morrison’s?

    There isn’t one: it’s very erratic, and depends on location, work situation and weather.There’s never seems to be much time in London because I’m not there very often, so we rarely go out for lunch. I’m quite often on the road, visiting manufacturers and looking at prototypes or discussing new projects, so there is no routine at all which I prefer. I just turn up and we go through the various projects which are on the table. Design ideas are like leprechauns: if you look for them you won’t find any, so there are some tricks I use to catch them, like pretending I’m not interested, or switching projects when it isn’t going anywhere. Sometimes I read cookery books to give me more of an appetite. When I’m hungry I like solve problems quickly so I can have lunch.

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    What 5 things can you see from your window?

    In Tokyo I see rooftops and a river lined with cherry trees. In Paris, our studio is surrounded by old buildings, including one in which Mozart lived and his mother died. In London we have skylights, and a big window which looks out onto a small courtyard where there are some trees and a pile of logs.Where do you have your ‘water cooler’ moments?

    Our ‘water cooler moments’ happen anywhere – we mostly discuss projects, everyday practicalities of various solutions, but it could be that we talk about an exhibition, a new building, a restaurant, a book, a website, an app, a recipe, a tree, a pair of shoes…

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    Without looking, what colour toilet paper do you have in your bathroom?

    White of course!

    You’re in London: where do you go for an after work drink?

    Either Leila’s Café in Shoreditch, the Canteen or Eyres Brothers for Tapas.Studio ‘no-no’s’ – list them.

    No speeches; no long meetings; no boxes of tissue paper; no water coolers; no smoking…

    Do you have a studio pet or plant?

    It’s a tree, a rhus typhina or staghorn sumac which grows in a hole in the concrete of our courtyard outside the shop.

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    What always surprises people when the visit your studio for the first time?

    How quiet it is: we are located behind the houses on Kingsland Road, so we don’t have any of the street noise. It’s very peaceful.

    What’s the one book on your shelf that people would never expect to find?

    The biography of Enzo Ferrari.Describe the smell of your studio.

    Sharp minds and green tea.

    What’s the best time of day in your studio?

    Early mornings with the first cup of tea, or the moments when we have good ideas.