We had the pleasure of interviewing Robert Storey and asked the important questions concerning StoreyStudio; an innovative studio based in the heart of east London specialising in set design and housing designers well versed in architecture, interior and graphic design, sculpture and textile design.
What was the driving force behind starting up StoreyStudio?
After graduating from my Fine Art degree in London, I went to NYC to intern for the summer holidays. Initially I went to intern for some artists and then by chance, a set designer working in fashion. The reason for going to NYC was that I wanted to explore a new landscape outside of my home city which would expose me to new people, ideas and opportunities and take me out of my comfort zone. The chance encounter to work with the set designer was just what I needed, I was feeling a little disillusioned by the art world post-graduation and felt at the time perhaps it wasn't the vocation I wanted. Studying at St Martins, I had a lot of friends already working in fashion and through osmosis, had started gaining knowledge about the hot concept stores, designers and collaborations within the industry that I found exciting. I wasn't sure how I could fit into that world until I discovered set design, when I realised that I could apply my artistic training to a much more immediate and accessible medium than simply the white cube space. On returning to London I continued to assist some set designers, working predominantly on sets for fashion shoots and the occasional fashion film. I loved what I was doing but simultaneously felt frustrated that assisting wasn't really allowing me to express my ideas or point of view. I had, and wanted to apply a new style, or way of looking at fashion communication; something more physical or interactive and I was starting to notice time that the 'pop up' concept was becoming popularised amongst fashion brands. I started to think that perhaps there was a new niche for me to explore, a space or 'set' that wasn't only for the models to interact with and explore but the general public too. I took a leap of faith and started up StoreyStudio with no clients and just a few contacts I had made along the way with the hope to try and penetrate a new and engaging spatial practice within the industry.
Your studio has worked with a number of awesome designers and retailers! Which has been your favourite and why?
It's hard to pinpoint a favourite client, but we have really strong relationships with John Lobb and Hermes, also Nike. I love to work with them because they appreciate brand values, identity and craftsmanship/innovation yet not afraid to push boundaries on what retail is or how to communicate in a way which may be unconventional or shocking. I approach every project as an artwork, a place which people can discover and interact with; not just to shop but to feel excited in and hopefully inspired by. Experience is key and I think these brands appreciate that communicating is not just about immediate sales, but developing brand kudos for client longevity.
Architecture seems to be a practice the studio holds very dear, why is that? What is it about the blend of architecture and fashion that fascinates you?
Our team is predominantly made up of architects, I find their approach to design to be so multifaceted and comprehensive so naturally there is an architectural influence within all of our work however on a more creative level we all share an interest and love for shape and form; using simple architectural details to create spaces which may feel more complicated than they really are. Naturally, designing a cohesive and bespoke space to house a collection of products will always be more engaging than launching them in a generic space, we love the challenge to discover and dissect the concept of a garment and apply the same concept or rules to a physical space so they feel interconnected.
Can you possibly tell us of any collaboration’s with other artists/brands on the horizon?
I can't really divulge anything too specific and I wouldn't want to ruin any surprises but I can say that we aren't only interested in spatial design, I see us as a collective of artists who can and will apply our ideas and skills to buildings, products and public spaces!
StoreyStudio has been featured in a number of publications across the globe, which one has been your biggest accomplishment and why?
I think I was simultaneously shocked and humbled when Vogue UK placed me as their youngest name on the Vogue Power List in 2015 at the age of 29 along-side the Business Of Fashion placing me in the top 500 international professionals defining the industry today. To be acknowledged by some of the industry’s leading speakers gave me the confidence to keep working hard and to remain designing with integrity and personality.
Are there any plans to have the studio branch out on an international scale? If ‘yes’, where would you go?
I think a strength of StoreyStudio is that we are a small team and a boutique studio, working on bespoke and special projects for amazing brands. I love what we create and am very proud of how much we achieve as a small team both in our home city of London and across the globe. We currently work on multiple continents and have established relationships with incredible craftsmen, brands and suppliers all over the globe to achieve projects grown from our Hackney studio. We have discussed the possibility of branching out to the US West coast, but I worry that in growing too big, we could lose the beauty and integrity that a small studio has.
Finally, the Versace home collection space really stands out to us, what was the inspiration behind cultivating a space such as this?
The Versace brief was to showcase 3 families within the home collection, one of which was the Tribute; a series of gold and black prints. We felt that we needed to design a modern and neutral space for the different collections to come together harmoniously. It was a nod toward Space Odyseey in it's modernism and in terms of styling, we wanted it to feel somewhat inhabited yet at the same time museum like in order to discover each individual piece like a work of art.
Robert Storey: storeystudio.com