Giles Miller Surface Design: Using Texture and Reflection as a Means of Illustration
London-based design practice, Giles Miller Studio, has built a reputation for creating innovative surface, interior and retail design projects that are both playful and experimental. The studio prides itself on the ability to deliver a diverse range of solutions that marry architecture with beautiful interior finish by way of original and inspiring surface development. Here at Freshome we were intrigued by the beautiful surface designs that are characteristic of the Giles Miller Studio and we wanted to know more. Luckily we were able to catch up with Miller himself and he agreed to let us put our questions to him.
You specialise in the development of innovative surfaces for interior and retail design projects. How did you start out in design?
GM. I was originally studying a business course, but having dropped out of university, I decided to start again strictly on a course that I knew above all I would enjoy. I studied furniture design, and after a year or two the course became more of a passion than an academic stepping-stone. Having graduated, I then moved on to study a Masters at the Royal College of Art in London.
Your studio is located in Spitalfields, in the heart of London’s creative East End. How long have you had your own studio and how has the business progressed since you first started out?
GM. It has been a slow progression, as these things are, but I managed to get some press coverage that led on to commissions during my studies. I was lucky enough to produce the first collaboration for Stella McCartney whilst still at university, so that was a great step and an important help in terms of showing the industry I could work with the high-end clients I aspired to.
As well as Stella McCartney, your recent clients include the Ritz-Carlton Hotels, The World Architecture Festival, Selfridges and London Design Museum. Why do you think these organisations chose to work with you?
GM. Over the past few years we have been developing surface solutions that demonstrate a very innovative approach to feature walls, and the aim has been to ensure each new project is pushing our own boundaries. This has resulted in some great outcomes and for each successful client project we create, we then have greater chances of more people seeing the work and consequently commissioning. It is a great honour to have worked with these kinds of highly reputable clients internationally.
Many of your surface products are created using texture and reflection as a means of illustration. Can you explain this?
GM. We specialise in playing around with materials and manipulating them so that we can use their surface to show different shades of light. This allows us to effectively create pixelated versions of drawn images, and these can be client logos, patterns or pictures. The effect of creating these images using only texture and reflection is much more subtle than classic shades of colour, and this subtlety is what separates us from other options as far as the client is concerned.
What are the main materials that you work with to create your innovative surface designs?
GM. My work began with an investigation into corrugated cardboard during my BA, and we have continued to try to show its potential as an unexpected material ever since. More recently, We have also begun working with etched metals, fabrics, and now we have just introduced a ceramic surface product to the range.
You are probably most well-known for the work that you have done with corrugated cardboard. This is an unusual choice of material, so what attracted you to work with it?
GM. As I mentioned, my work with cardboard began during my BA. It stemmed from a project in which I looked at issues surrounding homelessness, and the obvious material of choice was cardboard for its abundance as discarded packaging. However, with further investigation I saw the beauty in the material both structurally and aesthetically, and have been interested in it ever since.
Where do you get your inspiration for all your new surface designs?
GM. Our surface products are very much a series of developments from each other. The concept is fairly strong and generic in each, but we try pushing it each time with new materials and in new ways. There is no real inspiration, but instead perhaps the discovery of a new material, the interest in pushing a previous product or maybe just applying our concept to standard manufacturing processes. Processes of production have become the nucleus for many of our projects of late.
Are your surface products suitable for use in residential interiors?
GM. Absolutely. They are adaptable in scale and finish and therefore can be applied to any interior context where they would sit appropriately. The concept we have is entirely adaptable, and we encourage designers and architects to request new versions of our products or to challenge us to create specific products for their application.
What exciting projects do you have coming up?
GM. We are currently working on a project with a very talented group of interior designers called Shed Design. The project is a large-scale retail venture in Dubai, and will be the largest shoe store in the world. We are contributing a number of feature surfaces and it’s a very exciting project for us.
Freshome would like to thanks Giles Miller for taking the time out of his busy schedule to talk to us. To find out more about his innovative surface designs and exciting projects head on over to Giles Miller Studio.