In an increasingly digitally based world it’s easy to rely on computers as our main source of information. But where possible, it’s important to grab the opportunity to get out and gather your knowledge first-hand. Last week I was able to get familiar with two very different materials — Terrazzo and Paper.
Our first excursion took us to the heart of South East London to visit Diespeker & Co. Founded by an Italian entrepreneur; this specialist stone supplier has a well-established London history, not least as one of the first companies to offer Terrazzo to the UK Market.
The visit took us around the showroom before exploring the adjoining factory. Learning along the way the process taken to make the composite and the infinite design outcomes possible in terms of colours, chip sizes, material base and installation options.
The second outing of the week took us to the new permanent showroom of paper specialists G.F. Smith. As an interior designer tagging along with my graphic proficient colleagues, I was a fish out of water, mesmerised by the endless colours on offer. However, the lovely, knowledgeable staff soon got me up to speed by taking us through the paper manufacturing process followed by product examples.
We even took a step back in time exploring their paper archives and trying our hand at embossing our own paper on the 1920’s press. I stepped out on to the streets of Fitzrovia, arms full of colourful specimens and mind full with secrets of paper possibilities.
As designers it is important to keep our child-like curiosity alive and expand beyond our current expertise. These trips beyond the office walls taught me that sometimes there is no greater way to learn than in reality, engaging all five senses. I now have a new found respect for the craft that goes into the products we use.