It’s the double the fun today, with a second interview – this time with the final Boost mentee, Amy Whitworth. The Boost products all launch in the Southbank Centre Shop on Wednesday evening, so I was keen to get something from all six designers or design teams up on the blog before then. Amy’s product is Qubis, a stylish coffee table that doubles up as a dolls’ house.
Amy, what’s the best advice Mark has given you?
Mark has given me advice that has helped me on various levels, but I think the main thing that I gained from my initial meeting with him was that there is no one way of doing things. Every design has its complications that need to be addressed and every designer, regardless of experience, has to work out how best to create the idea they have conjured up … whether it’s what material to use, how to assemble it, or what finish to use … There is no wrong or right way of doing things.
What’s been the most valuable part of Boost so far?
Confidence. Boost has made me believe in a project that I created primarily for personal use… When the Qubis table won the Boost competition it gave me the confidence to approach manufacturers, buyers and potential customers seriously with the confidence that my project is viable and ‘a good idea’!
What do you hope will happen as a result of taking part?
Being involved in Boost has made my idea real. It will be available for sale as from Thursday [11th October 2012] and has the support of two leading institutions that are influential in the creative world – The Southbank Centre and the Observer. These two things have already enabled me to talk to potential buyers in an area that is hard to open doors into. Over the next six months I hope that the Boost link will open even more doors and secure enough interest to enable me to make Qubis grow as a new toy/furniture brand.
Why did you want to be involved?
I love the process of creative thinking and making – Boost has created an external reference point against which to test my ideas. Also to ask advice from people who know whats it’s really like to work in the design world, to try and find out if my idea was as exciting as it was in my own head, and to gain advice on how to turn it into a viable business opportunity.
What single piece of advice would you give to a new designers in the position you were in before Boost?
Ask questions… as many as you can think of to as many people as you can. As long as they are not infringing on personal design ideas – people are willing to help, from printing companies to manufacturers and established designers.
What’s special about your coffee table / dolls’ house?
The original idea for the Qubis table was for my daughter because I wanted her to have a dolls’ house, but I wasn’t keen on the styles you commonly find in toy shops. I wanted it be be accessible for her to play with at all times – without visually and physically taking up space in the living room. I love modern architecture and started playing around with various styles that would double up as a table and as a dolls’ house.
How will it make people’s lives better?
It is a transformational design that combines fun, form and function. People like to rearrange furniture to create the perfect room – Qubis enables you to create your own furniture, walls and room layouts. Children (and adults) can play all day! – and at the end of the day the table can remain as the centre piece of your living room without it looking like a children’s playroom.
Qubis will be available in the Soutbank Centre shop from Thursday 11th October alongside products from all the Boost mentees.
Further reading for the especially geeky:
Having established confessions of a design geek in 2010, Katie Treggiden has gone on to a career in design journalism, writing for titles such as The Guardian, The Telegraph, Elle Decoration, Stylist, Design Milk and Ideal Home. In 2014, she launched Fiera, an independent magazine dedicated to discovering new talent at the world’s design fairs. Her second book, Makers of East London, was published in 2015.
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