Residents: Inside the Iconic Barbican Estate.

Anton Rodriquez is a London-based photographer specialising in fashion, architecture and portraiture work. Born in Germany but raised in Liverpool, Rodriquez' clients have included Folk Clothing, Cereal Magazine and Several, however his latest project is perhaps his most intriguing to date. 

'Residents: Inside the Iconic Barbican Estate' gives us an alternative view into one of the most extensively documented housing projects in the world. The focus here lies on the residents: their stories, backgrounds and opinions sit alongside a striking collection of photographs highlighting the brutalist interior design quirks that give each apartment its own sense of individuality (not to mention the resident's impressive anthology of classic furniture).

The success of the imagery doesn't simply lie in the subject matter. A resident himself, Rodriquez' framing and exclusive use of natural light - the availability of which is testament to the architectural integrity of the apartments - play important roles, as does the layout design undertaken by EACH London.

Describing the foundations of the project, Rodriquez explains, "I wanted to allow the public to get a rare glimpse of what goes on within the Barbican Estate, as you don’t often get to see it from the inside. The best part was meeting my neighbours! I’ve made so many friends from photographing other residents and it’s been a great way to meet like minded people. Also getting to see all the different layout of flats, there are supposedly over 100 different flat types."

Purchase the book here.


Bern based Zimoun utilises simple, functional, industrial (and often everyday) components to produce large scale sound installations with an architectural edge. The use of cardboard, paper bags, and styrofoam have all featured heavily in previous works. It is perhaps the artist's prevalent use of DC motors that has perhaps become his trademark however - all spinning at alternative times to create both visual and audible impact. Repetition is key to the work and provides for an immersive experience. 

Self taught, Zimoun has exhibited comprehensively throughout the world and has undertaken briefs for companies such as Sennheiser.

Mujo NYC

MUJO NYC is a Brooklyn-based contemporary jewellery brand by Simon J Zhang. Frustrated with cheap, mass-produced jewellery and gaudy designer pieces, MUJO was founded in 2015 as a minimal, material-led alternative.  

Guided by clean and balanced design and inspired by the industrial character of New York, MUJO pieces are handcrafted in either brass or sterling silver. Zhang says, “We create essential pieces that are made to wear handsomely with age and last a lifetime.”

Instrmnt are particularly fond of the 003-X1 ring with its clean lines and simple form, and the stylised geometry of the 003-X2 Signet Cuff Bracelet. All pieces are designed and manufactured by hand in MUJO’s design studio. Their most recent look book ‘003 Annex’ - shown below - gives an insight into the emphasis placed on aesthetic in both the MUJO brand and art direction.

Kovac Family - L25 Lamp

Stockholm-based multidisciplinary studio Kovac Family was formed in 2012 with sustainability at its core. Their design and manufacture is based in Sweden using the most eco-friendly materials and methods available. 

Taking inspiration from nature’s forms, the L25 lamp from Kovac Family is made from twenty-five pieces of FSC sustainable oak,ash or birch and comes flat packed for the user to assemble.  

Believing that “it’s time to learn from nature’s well-adapted strategies to create a more sustainable human approach to lighting”, all proceeds from the lamp will go towards their biomimicry-related project which aims to “produce light in a wallpaper thin, flexible material using a biomimetic method” with no electricity involved.

The Arrivals

The Arrivals are a New York based brand specialising in the design and production of androgynous minded outerwear. Originally launched by architect Jeff Johnson, he connected with Kai Vepuri (an angel investor whose previous includes Warby Parker and Artsy) through a mutual friend in 2007 and the pair came together to push the brand forward. 

While neither have a background in fashion per se, the combination seems to be working. Johnson has said that transferring the skills from buildings to jackets has not been as great a leap as you might imagine: “I was very lucky to find myself in an architecture practice that was so cross-disciplinary, that touched on so many different elements of design,” Johnson says, “It was such a nice place to realise the underlying principles of making good design better... it’s the very simple things that you’re taught: what is the starting function, what is the material that you’re going to work with, what is the silhouette, what is the construction going to take, what are the elements involved, what is the hardware like. Really, those elements transcend between any designing, it’s how we approach everything we do, whether that’s web design, the packaging, the product.”

One of the main goals for The Arrivals is about balance says Vepuri: creating beautiful design at a reasonable price, with their designs range from $200 - $700.

The Arrivals recently undertook their first collaboration, pairing up with famed architecture and design firm Snarkitecture, whose previous work includes spaces for Kith, Cos and Beats. The collaborative piece takes the form of a monochromatic poncho and features laser cut, heat welded inner detailing with a minimal and sculptural exterior.


“We are attempting to create the first well-designed consumer objects of the third industrial revolution” is how Joe Doucet describes Othr, his venture alongside Dean Disimone and Evan Clabots. 

Launched during Milan Design Week earlier this year, Othr follows a host of designers who are taking both production and retail into their own hands.  The debut collection features twelve small products which are 3D printed using a range of materials including steel and porcelain and designed by names such as Claesson Koivisto Rune, Sebastian Bergne and Philippe Malouin.

Believing that 3D printing can be used to create desirable objects that people actually want to have in their homes, Othr follows three key principles.  Objects must be useful, aesthetic and unique.  Othr launches new products every fortnight, a process which is enabled by the fast development times which are possible with the technology used.  The objects do not physically exist until the customer places an order and each is embedded with a unique number which reflects the customers participation in its creation.

Studio Kyss

Working as Studio Kyss, Kenny Yong-soo Son is an object-designer and maker from South Korea, now based in Sydney, Australia.  He graduated in 2010 with a BA (Hons) in Visual Arts from The Sydney College of Arts with a major in Metal & Object, followed by a Masters in Design at The University of Technology in Sydney where he majored in Object & Accessories. Studio Kyss was launched in 2013.

Originally setting out to be a jeweller, Yong-soo Son discovered that he was drawn to creating objects that belonged on desks or tables rather than being worn on the body.  Making small scale pieces from concrete, copper and brass, with a subtle nod to works by Futagami but with a delicate style of their own, his work is not only concerned with the aesthetic of the object but also with the connection with the user, ideally creating the same level of intimacy that he has whilst crafting them. He draws inspiration from everyday encounters and the value of travel.

Depending on how the each piece is meant to work, Yong-Soo decides upon whether the process should be undertaken through industrial means or on the work bench. In either case, all work is finished by hand and thus he is never detached from the beginning to the end.  Work is divided into three distinct categories: Limited Edition, Exhibition and Batch Production.  This allows for freedom of working with smaller quantities or even one-offs.

Euphrosyne Andrews

Euphrosyne Andrews is a graduate of The Royal Drawing School and Glasgow School of Art. Her works have been exhibited at the RSA New Contemporaries, the VAS Annual Exhibition and many other institutions over the past four years.

Andrews works in printmaking, paying careful attention to the role of the decorative within fine art. Applying a historical view, her work is a testament to production and technique. During her time at The Royal Drawing School she spent time practicing observational drawing as well as drawing from memory, using colours or motifs as inspiration. By working in this way she has explored form, composition, space and the colours of the everyday.

Andrew’s work blurs the boundaries between applied and fine arts. During her ‘Private Abode’ exhibition, pieces printed on both paper and fabric were displayed together, creating a conversation between them and exploring the way in which galleries use textile pieces as a vehicle for paintings. This pairing also brings to attention the relationship between traditional processes and modern digital methods that allow artists’ multiples to be created.

Formerly Yes

Formerly Yes is a minimal home store run by husband and wife team Brad and Jenna Holdgrafer.  Located on Broadway in Downtown Los Angeles opposite the Ace Hotel, the store offers items for the space-conscious. Using the idea of “buy less, but better” their web store evolved into a bricks and mortar retail space which opened in July 2015.  

The space is light, minimal and refreshingly simple, pairing custom made oak tables with large green planters. Items such as books, magazines and stationery are paired with a clean note on white paper that informs customers of the background of the item as well as the price. Highlights among the inventory include a beautifully simple bottle opener by Takenobu Igarashi and a concrete and glass vase by Menu.

Trying to answer the question: “How can we find a way to not just balance work and life, but blend them into its own simple lifestyle?” Brad and Jenna thought about what products they wanted to carry, eventually coming to the conclusion of only stocking items that they would want in their own home. Products not only have a function but are designed with the end user in mind.


Derek Wilson

Derek Wilson is a Belfast based ceramicist who focuses on making a diverse range of contemporary objects from the functional to the sculptural.  Although his practice always starts with his predominant tool of the potter’s wheel, his work is never fixed, with a mix of contemporary ceramics and conceptual art.

Blending abstraction with the familiar, the pieces reference restraint, containment and minimalism.  His search for simplicity draws inspiration from diverse subjects such as mid-century British Constructivism to the history of ceramics in Asia.  Using celadon glazed porcelain and stoneware, his pieces tend to placard in groupings - an attempt to evoke ideas of community and sociability.

Keeping the fundamental idea that his work is made to be used in everyday life his aim is to push the boundaries of traditional practice and art forms by playing with aesthetics, material and process.

Elisa Strozyk

Berlin born designer Elisa Strozyk’s ‘Ceramic-Surface-Reflections’ is a selection of objects featuring ceramic surfaces merged with items that serve a function, such as mirrors and wooden shelves. They take the form of both wall mounted and free standing objects. 

Using metal oxides and powdered minerals which are kiln fired to produce various glass-like finishes, Strozyk developed a specific process in which to apply the glaze to clay: by rotating the surface and applying a blowing technique, liquid glazes pool and mix together to leave traces of movement, creating smoke-like patterns that also give the surface the appearance of marble.

Strozyk studied a Masters course in Future Textile Design at Central Saint Martins in London after her Diploma in Textile and Surface Design at KHB in Berlin.  She was awarded the first prize in the Salone Satellite Award in 2011 and was part of the SIMPLE-die neue Einfachheit exhibition of new simplistic design at the designforum in Wien last year.

Maissi Bench - Wesley Walters & Salla Luhtasela

The Maissi Bench is a functional and minimalist piece of furniture by Wesley Walters and Salla Luhtasela.  Made from oak, the piece was created for an exhibition of Finnish design that took place in Mexico.  Drawing inspiration from the handrails, metal bed frames and machinery of Helsinki, Walters and Luhtasela have designed a piece that combines both Mexican culture and the simplicity of Nordic furniture.  Although challenging to build it is structurally robust and nods to the past without being overly sentimental.

The removable seating pad made by textile designer Kajsa Hytönen resembles the form and texture of blue corn, which has culinary and mythological significance in Mexican culture.

Walters and Luhtasela began working together during their studies at the Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture.  Luhtasela is currently on an ceramics exchange in London and Wesley is finishing an MA in furniture design.  The duo are working on a ceramic container with a well-sealing lid based on a utilitarian form.   

Photos: Chikako Harada

22 [tu:tu]

22 (tu:tu: , or two-two) is a wonderfully simplistic hybrid tube amplifier from Japanese designer Koichi Futatsumata, founder of Case-Real. Released by Japanese company Elekit, the 22 is made from aluminium with minimal controls and ports, just two control dials for volume and tone, a single pair of RCA jacks for input and four binder-posts for connecting speakers. The two valves that are nestled on top provide a warm, full sound.

Futatsumata has carried out numerous design activities with a main focus on spatial design. His work also included furniture and product design as well as architecture and landscape. Born in Kagoshima, Japan, he started Case-Real in 2000 after graduating from the Department of Engineering and Architecture at Kyushu Industrial University. Case-Real provides design solutions for space, architecture and furniture. In 2013 Futatsumata set up Koichi Futatsumata Studio which is a development into product design. His architectural works include Aesop’s Stellar Place shop in Sapporo and a renovation of an abandoned house which acts as a dorm for nearby restaurant Il Vento (pictured).

Katie Paterson - Future Library

Berlin based artist Katie Paterson’s new project Future Library is a 100-year long adventure into the realms of publishing, longevity and trust.  The idea is relatively simple, for one hundred years a writer will contribute a text which will stay secret until 2114.  Visitors to a purpose built room within Oslo’s New Public Deichmanske Library will be able to see the author’s manuscripts, read the authors names and the titles but never the full text, a test of both patience and trust.

In an area of the Nordmarka Forest outside of Olso, one thousand trees were planted which will grow to supply the paper on which the books will printed onto.  Every year from 2014 to 2114 a writer will be commissioned to contribute a new text.  An eight-person trust will guide the project into the future.

Paterson has previously worked with specialists from a range of fields including astronomy and nanotechnology to create works that are poetic and philosophical.  Her work deals with both the tangible and intangible objects that have existed for longer than mankind, making us consider our place on Earth in the context of geological time and change.  Previous projects have included a map of all of the dead stars in the universe, a broadcast of a melting glacier live to a visitor on a mobile phone in an art gallery and a custom-made light bulb to simulate moonlight.

Mamnick: In depth with founder Thom Barnett

An article by Calum Gordon


The task of explaining what Mamnick is exactly is not an easy one. For all intents and purposes, it is a clothing brand, sort of. But more accurately, it is a vehicle for Thom Barnett to make whatever he feels like making on any given day – and that could be a Japanese-made shirt, a cycling jersey that pays homage to the Tour de France, or a stainless steel chippie fork. All of these have been products released by Mamnick since its launch in 2012. Unconventional? Perhaps, but never dull.

Mamnick Chip Fork

Mamnick Chip Fork

“I studied fine art and played in a band, but none of it was really generating much of income, so I thought: ‘right I’ll do something creative that’s going to keep me interested as well as make ends meet,’” explains Barnett on what led him to start his Sheffield-based brand. It started out with a simple mantra: “One thing at a time, as beautiful as possible.” It is something which very much remains at Mamnick’s core today, as seasonal collections are eschewed for a steady release of product throughout the year.

Sat in his Sheffield studio, there is a frankness to Barnett that is hard not to find refreshing –and it translates into Mamnick. For all its refined, brushed Japanese cotton or vegetable tanned leather, the label carries a distinctly northern, no-bullshit sensibility – what you see is generally what you get. “I didn’t just want to pull any old brand out me arse,” he chimes. “I wanted to do something that was close to what I was interested in. I suppose it is maybe an overused phrase – growing things organically – but it literally has grown from designing things like a money clip, a tie slide and a shirt.”

Fiercely proud of his hometown of Sheffield, Barnett’s output has regularly utilised stainless steal (Sheffield’s main export), while working with select British and Japanese manufacturers to produce his clothing. Throw in his love of cycling and former life as a vintage clothes dealer, and it makes for a heady aesthetic mix. “At the minute, I’m designing a 3 piece woman’s jewellery collection, which is probably going to throw a lot of people off considering I’ve been doing menswear the past few years,” he admits. “But a lot of it is just trusting my own instinct. That collection came about through a conversation with a close friend. She’s been designing jewellery and I said maybe we should do something.” 

In the past year, he has worked with Clark Originals and ultra-stylish Rapha on bespoke steel pieces, bringing together his love of British manufacturing and cycling. Barnett’s collaborative efforts typically stem shared ideals and a simple conversation. The same can be said for the brand’s collaborative watch with Glasgow-based Instrmnt later this week. 

"Kings of Pain" bottle opener in collaboration with Rapha

"Kings of Pain" bottle opener in collaboration with Rapha

“I saw the synergy between us being new start-ups and the sleekness to what they do,” he says. “I did a talk regarding Mamnick in Sheffield – something to do with the arts council. After, people stuck around and we went to the pub for a few drinks with these students who were product designers. They were talking to me about Kickstarter and someone mentioned Instrmnt. I made a note of it in my phone and about a week later noticed the note and went on their website. I thought it was great, so I reached out to them. It all went really smoothly.”

The watch itself riffs on a classic Instrmnt style and a navigation theme, owing to Barnett’s love of cycling and the outdoors. A brass second hand gives a subtle compass reference, while a pointed minute hand is a nod to the Peak District mountains from which the Mamnick logo is derived. In terms of collaborations, it is wonderfully subtle and fittingly minimal. It is not your typical collaboration, but neither is your typical British brand. 

INSTRMNT Mamnick 1 SM.jpg
Instrmnt 01-MNK

Instrmnt 01-MNK

Part of the appeal of Mamnick has always been that it feels unencumbered by the whims of fashion or the suffocating pressures of a place like London – Barnett very much moves at his own pace. But even more impressive is how he has managed to turn this passion project into a successful business in such a short space of time, launching a flagship store in Tokyo last year, as well has producing a premium Black Label collection in Japan. 

“That started right at the beginning when I was dealing in vintage,” he explains. “I had some private clients who were coming round to my house. I know it sounds a bit daft, I was literally just living in a flat with my girlfriend but people knew I could get my hands on interesting gear. I met these two Japanese guys and I was selling bits of UK vintage to them. So when I started Mamnick I said to them, ‘I’ve got this brand, all manufactured in the UK, do you think there’s an audience for it in Japan?’” 

He would ship them half of the shirts he first produced to their shop in Shibuya, with them selling out in a matter of weeks. “After that, they asked me to do some more. So we rolled it out like that – every time I did a production, I’d send some out there,” he says. “In Shibuya there’s loads of vintage, but it got to the point they were selling more of the new Mamnick stuff,” he explains. “So they then approached me and said why don’t we do a Mamnick store out here?”

Again, it was not a conventional first step for a fledgling brand, to set up a retail outlet on the other side of the globe, but it the world of Mamnick, you begin to expect the unexpected. And it seems to be working. 

Mamnick's Tokyo Store

Mamnick's Tokyo Store

“It’s just instincts really, and dialogue,” he says modestly. This afternoon, Barnett is going to visit a manufacturer to enquire about producing a Mamnick knife, he tells me. Tomorrow, he’ll probably wake up with a new idea and begin work on that. It could be anything, but it will be distinctly Mamnick. 

Instrmnt 01-MNK is available from the week commencing the 23rd of November. Strictly limited to 150 units it is available directly from Instrmnt or via Mamnick

About the author.

Calum Gordon is a UK-based writer who specialises in fashion and contemporary culture. As well as co-authoring the book Contemporary Menswear, he has contributed to the likes of Hypebeast Magazine, Highsnobiety, The Rig Out, Breaks Magazine and FHM.  Since 2013, he has also been acting as Editor in Chief of The Reference Council.

Mast Brothers

It was 2006 when brothers Rick and Michael Mast first started experimenting with chocolate in their Williamsburg apartment, long before the neighbourhood’s foodie reputation had fully taken hold. Nearly a decade later, the Mast brothers are synonymous with both quality artisanal chocolate making and - perhaps more surprisingly - a relentless focus on design.

The wrappers enfolding each bar they produce range from geometric minimalism (Milk, Maple) to more organic, kinetic patterns (Smoke, Mint). All are immediately enticing, with strong, flat colours printed onto tactile papers and overlaid with the san-serif MAST logo. As creative director Nathan Warkentin explained in a recent interview, “I wanted the new designs to read less as static patterns and more like paintings with movement. They all have a funky, soulful quality.” Not content to stop at packaging, the striking interior architecture of their new Brooklyn and London stores cements Mast Brothers position as a food brand who want to do things differently, and points potentially to an Aesop-esque architectural portfolio. Los Angeles opens soon.

Design alone, however, will only get a chocolate maker to a certain point. Mast Brothers distinct and celebrated flavour is born from a founding principle: From Bean to Bar. “We had to come up with how everything is done every step of the way because there was no such thing as small-batch chocolate makers,” Rick says. “To really reach the full flavour potential of chocolate that a cacao bean has, it really has to be done small – there’s no magic to it. If you get the best beans, you’re going to get the best product.” 

Quality ingredients and exploration are key: no additives such as vegetable oil or vanilla are used, and the brand constantly look to the origins of their beans to work out ways to improve or change flavour and texture. Their obsession with getting involved in every step of the process is extensive: the brothers previously embarked on a fifteen day voyage from the Dominican Republic to Brooklyn, using only wind power and bringing with them 20 tonnes of organic cacao beans. Their ship, the Black Seal, was the first commercial sailboat to unload cargo in a New York port since 1939.

Freddie Grubb

An article by Calum Gordon


“It’s one of the few times a watch really is useful, because most people rely on their phones to look at the time, but when you’re cycling, you can just flick your wrist,” says Malcolm Harding, co-founder of fledgling London bicycle company Freddie Grubb, as he talks me through his brand’s latest collaboration with Glaswegian watchmakers Instrmnt. As someone who usually opts for the train-option during my morning commute, it’s something that’s never occurred to me. But that’s the thing about good design – you never really notice it until you need it. And in a world of ill-conceived collaborations and contrived co-branded products, this is one meeting of minds that seems to make sense, with both parties bringing their own brand of stripped-back minimalism to the table.

The Walbrook in Ashby Ink, alongside a Lambert et Fils floor lamp also available in the Freddie Grubb store.

The Walbrook in Ashby Ink, alongside a Lambert et Fils floor lamp also available in the Freddie Grubb store.

Sat in the brand’s charmingly-designed Islington shop, Harding explains what initially attracted him and his business partner, Jack Pattison, to resurrecting the Freddie Grubb brand name: “We were very keen to make a connection with British cycling, so we started looking for cyclists involved in the early days of cycling. Freddie Grubb became the obvious choice for us”.

Grubb had been a celebrity of sorts within British road racing, setting a multitude of records on his single speed bike at the start of the 20th century. The Londoner would hurtle along roads that have little resemblance to their smooth modern-day equivalents, weaving through streets with no breaks and a devil-may-care attitude. “More than anything, we liked Freddie the man. He was very much a maverick of British cycling,” says Harding. “We loved his name and every time we mentioned it to people it seemed to have a resonance. It was a name that we thought sounded pretty distinct and British, so we fell in love with it.”

Born in 1887, Frederick Henry Grubb rose to prominence at the age of 23, breaking the British record for a 100-mile time trial, riding the distance in less than five hours. A year later, Grubb would once again underline his credentials as a steely, determined rider, completing a gruelling 12 hours on the bike in Liverpool’s Anerley event, in a ride that forced organisers to extend the route to accommodate the his desire to go further and further. “He seemed a bit of a character and embodied this pioneering spirit that so many Brits are renowned for,” Harding chimes.

Grubb went on to become the first Brit to enter the Giro d’Italia – “which many consider harder than the Tour de France,” adds Harding – before returning home disillusioned with professional cycling. However, in a cruel twist of fate, his decision to go professional meant that he was banned from returning to competitive amateur racing, and so Grubb turned his focus to making bicycles instead of riding them, working in London over the following decades.

The Walbrook in Amwell Green. 

The Walbrook in Amwell Green. 

Today, the spirit of Grubb lives on through Harding and Pattison‘s sleek, minimal bicycles. Having launched their first two frames earlier this year – which take inspiration from the type of geometry typically found on 1950s town bikes – Freddie Grubb are aiming to harness their founders’ keen eye for design and translate this into creating a collection of stylish bicycles. But for now, just two will do.

“We applied for the trademark in 2011 and were granted it about a year and a half later,” says Harding, explaining the arduous process of turning a passion project into a functioning business. Both Harding and Pattison’s background lies in the furniture business, where they operate a successful professional bolt-on company, supplying pieces to architects and interior designers. “Having spent several years working with other manufacturers and other products, it’s quite nice to actually work with your own product and get involved with the actual design process,” he says.

But what makes good design, I ask? “Consideration and attention to detail” according to Harding. “Most designers will start with a blank piece of paper, free to design every element. With a bicycle this is very difficult. Certain components need to be brought in to retain their function – it becomes a very costly process if you design the whole thing from scratch. What we have done is carefully consider our components and incorporate these into our design, adding detail and colour. In the realm of what’s available, you can create something very nice. I think that’s what we’ve come up with.”

The Freddie Grubb Store, 63 Amwell Street, London.

The Freddie Grubb Store, 63 Amwell Street, London.

From Bradley Wiggin’s enigmatic 2012 Tour de France winning performance, to the rise of the Shoreditch-dwelling creative, cycling has seen something of a renaissance in recent years at all levels. And the market for the increasingly popular fixie style, which Grubb specialise in, is one that, on the surface at least, is heavily populated. So, where does Freddie Grubb fit in? For a brand who takes its name after a fixie-riding, vegetarian – the original 1900s hipster, if you will – it would be easy to play on a clichéd heritage aesthetic, but Harding and Pattison are trying to take the much-loved style and elevate it.

“I wouldn’t say the bicycle market is entirely saturated, but it is at some levels – certainly at the mid to low levels,” he says in a measured tone. “ So what we decided to do was to move up a level and by doing that we thought we could offer a handmade frame with better quality components.”

Freddie Grubb's latest project: a 2-Speed city bike, built in collaboration with Instrmnt.

Freddie Grubb's latest project: a 2-Speed city bike, built in collaboration with Instrmnt.

Talk soon turns to the future and the forthcoming collaboration release with the Glasgow-based watch designers at London Design Festival: “It’s a limited edition of 10, and depending on the response, we will decide whether it becomes a full time production thing,” he says. “We’re keen for more collabs because I think there are a lot of people working on stuff out there that have some connection with us. But rather than rushing into any of this, I think we’re quite keen to get our product into the market and get people cycling on it.” I suspect Freddie would have thought the same.


The 2-Speed City Bike - designed in collaboration with Instrmnt - officially launches at 'Freddie Grubb + Friends', part of London Design Festival.

Thursday 24th September, 6pm - 9pm.

Freddie Grubb Store
63 Amwell Street, London, EC1R 1UR

About the author.

Calum Gordon is a UK-based writer who specialises in fashion and contemporary culture. As well as co-authoring the book Contemporary Menswear, he has contributed to the likes of Hypebeast Magazine, Highsnobiety, The Rig Out, Breaks Magazine and FHM.  Since 2013, he has also been acting as Editor in Chief of The Reference Council.

Calum will be featuring sporadically guest writing articles for us. For his first piece, he focuses on Freddie Grubb and our recent collaboration with them that will be shown at London Design Festival. 


Ouur is a collection of seasonal apparel and homewares with a focus on simplicity and utility. The emphasis is on creating classic silhouettes with neutral colour palates to create wardrobe staples that can be worn year after year.

Conceived by the same team behind Kinfolk, a “slow lifestyle magazine” that “explores ways for readers to simplify their lives and cultivate community.” It has developed into arguably one of the most important contemporary magazines available today, with strong aesthetic ideals.

These aesthetic considerations often documented by the publication can be seen to translate into their new clothing line. For their latest shoot they enlisted the help of London based production company We Are Up, and model Lizzy Rankin, both whom we know well from our latest campaign. 

Here is a little information about their A/W 15 collection: 

“Each season, we strive to create pieces that will be appreciated and worn year after year: We do this through the use of comfortable materials, high-quality construction and a focus on understated styles. For this season, we also drew inspiration from the Central Andes—the high elevation and dramatic mountains led us to design warm chunky knits, oversize coats, textured patterns and fibres unique to the region.”


Ajoto - an abbreviation of the words ‘A Journey To..’ - are small design studio based in Manchester. 

Their flagship product is The Pen. Available in a select range of finishes, The Pen is a beautifully minimal rollerball, machined from a solid block of metal and consisting of only five parts. Ajoto’s objective was to create the perfect pen: the weight, balance and craftsmanship of the end product all contribute to convincing us that they may have done so (along with admiring articles from the Telegraph, Minimally Minimal and many more).

Ajoto also produce an Italian leather pen pouch and ink refills as accessories to the pen, along with a simple leather credit card wallet. Their ink refills are based on the Schmidt P8127, which is seen by many as the finest rollerball cartridge on the market.

While the core Ajoto team consists of just founder Chris Holden and designer Brittany Wilson, one of the most interesting aspects of the studio is their wider pool of manufacturers, suppliers and collaborators who they work with on a one-to-one basis. Their obsession with process and quality has allowed the studio to build close relationships with colleagues in a number of industries, and has given them unrivalled access to each individual stage within their manufacturing chain. 

The quality of craftsmanship throughout their products proves how successful this way of working can be, and it has also allowed Ajoto to go a step further than their competitors in terms of packaging. At Instrmnt we often talk about creating a positive experience for the customer, particularly at the unboxing stage. Ajoto have set a precedent in this regard. We thoroughly recommend you purchase one of their pens to appreciate it for yourself...

Alice Made This

Alice Made This launched in 2012 when Alice and her husband Ed couldn't find suitable cufflinks for their upcoming wedding. Spotting a gap in the market, Alice, whom had previously worked under Tom Dixon (a period which helped pique her always strong interest in industrial processes) decided to launch Alice Made This. Ed soon followed after quitting his job in the city. 

Aiming to “refine industry” they work solely with British based manufacturing partners with each collection being manufactured using a different industrial technique.

Alice Made This have found the cufflink to be the ideal starting point, a wardrobe staple that could be used as a basis to portray the various manufacturing processes to the consumer. Each range that is crafted provides its own distinct intricacies - all fulfilling the same function but manufactured differently and each aesthetically unique. Despite being the original focus, cufflinks are now just one of a number of products on offer, with lapel pins and shirt studs also now available. 

The studio works with a range of manufacturers - each a specialist in their process. This includes a factory that specialises in aerospace engineering, an engineered ceramics company whose day-to-day use is in medical innovation, a company who work in the field of Formula one and military vehicle cladding, a casting company that hold the royal warrant for household casting, and a rope maker.

Currently expanding their range into other products, the ethos of the company still rings true with new processes and products to be added over the next few seasons.