My visit to Ilio studio was born from the “task” that Oscar assigned us to go and visit a studio/designer that represented what we want to do professionally in the future.
I already had in mind to contact
them to propose my candidacy to work in their studio as an intern and
this was a perfect opportunity.
Already from the first email Fabio, one of the two guys working there, gave me his willingness to visit the studio and ask questions in general.
After a first cancelled appointment we scheduled one for the following week.
Friday morning so I went to Tottenham Hale on the opposite side of town with some questions that I prepared.
In the days before I studied the three big projects they have developed, they are all in-depth research of materials and production techniques.
I arrived in the studio in a large shed with several designers who share the space; Fabio welcomed me very kindly and took me to a small room where, with few tools, he produces the “hot wire extensions” product line.
I had studied their processes in great depth and so our talk immediately went into the more technical details of their production and how the management of the studio is.
the studio in 2015 with a colleague of his from the Royal College of
Arts whom I did not have the pleasure of meeting.
After talking about the three main projects they published on their website, I asked him what advice he would give to a student who, like them, wants to start his own studio. Fabio’s vision seemed to me very sincere as he explained to me their initial entuasiasm in creating the study and how his vision has changed over time.
I perceived a desire for a change in his routine and in the way he works.
He explained that the project that sells the most is “hot wire extensions” through some galleries he collaborates with in Switzerland and this gives him a source of income enough to pay his expenses and live on. Often, however, it is other designers who appreciate the production process and the resulting aesthetics, as opposed to the public who can afford to buy their products.
At the end of the “interview” I offered to come and help them produce a bench with this technique that should be sent to China the following week for a trade fair. Fabio immediately told me that it would have been great for him but that he didn’t have the possibility to pay me the working day but only the lunch. Enthusiastic about it, I immediately accepted because I was very interested in doing the whole process myself. So I agreed with him that I would be back there the following Monday at 10 am.
This first meeting opened my mind to various aspects.
First of all, the difficulty of starting your own business and managing the economics of the firm itself. The importance of not being alone, of always having someone with you to motivate each other and also to have more than one point of view on the development of a project.
Another very important thing that I also reconnected with what Oscar told us was that they both started their study starting from a project developed during their MA with another partner who gave them the opportunity to set up their study even before finishing their studies.
The general vision that was proposed to me is certainly darker than I expected but this is just a good thing because it gave me the opportunity to reflect on what may be the choices to make once I finished this master.
this interview I felt motivated to do better and to concentrate even
more on what I am doing and on the importance of experimenting with new
production techniques. This led me to think, however, that probably the
path I will take will not be to open my studio immediately for several
reasons: the fact that I do not have a colleague or another designer
(for now) with whom I feel in complete harmony so much so that I want to
start a path together, the economic availability (I have no money),
having to pay the debt with the British government that should also help
me to find a job more easily given the incentives on taxation by those
who will hire me.
All these things put together have given me an awareness of what my next step could be. This does not mean that I am giving up my business but simply that I need to be aware of the difficulties I may encounter and that gaining experience in another firm can increase my skills and also have a more complete vision of what it entails to start my own studio.
Above: sample of the process for the project “Hot wire extension”
Below: the mix betwenn nylon, collected from wasted material of 3d companies, and construction sand. The white powder that you see on my finger is nylon.
Below: a sample of the project “Colour of hair”, aluminium sheet with a patter created by burned hairs.