Plant & Moss, Classic British Style with An Industrial Edge

by Becky Hoh in Bespoke stories

If you like your design fresh and forward thinking, with a healthy serving of cool but also with its feet on the ground and ultimately very usable; you may have found an interiors soulmate in Plant & Moss.

Based in Birmingham, handmade in Britain and wherever possible using British woods like maple and walnut, their work has a sturdy feel that pays homage to the UK’s furniture history. But it comes with plenty of modern day character and surprising updates, such as the Odd Couples Bench with the twinning of two classic chair styles to make a witty version of an old fashioned Love seat. Or the industrial chic of the Akita Desktop range in cast concrete and spun brass, copper and stove lacquered metal. There is even a whole collection called Heritage which features Tribal Stool with its hand turned Oak legs and the robust Log stool which has prominent natural cracks to show off the beauty of the English Ash.

The Plant & Moss Design Studio was founded in 2009 by James Plant and James Moss, who graduated a year earlier from Buckinghamshire New University, in contemporary product and furniture design. First exhibiting at One Year On, after being selected by Thorsten Van Elton to show at the New Designers show. James Plant first exhibited at 100% Design (Futures) when he was awarded the ‘100% Design Award’ for innovation and design in 2008.

 

‘Design can be very rewarding and I’m sure at times it has been equally frustrating, but when you find the solution you have been aiming for the achievement is so satisfying.’

Their first order arrived from the prestigious Liberty of London after participating at Tom Dixon’s, The Dock, as part of London Design Festival 2009, where they showed a prototype for what is now seen as the signature Plant & Moss product the Original Clamp Lamp. It has an industrial aesthetic, similar to lighting made for a workbench with it’s namesake component available in bespoke colours.

Over time, James Moss became less involved in the day to day running of the studio, and Plant continued to steer the company and a year was spent bringing the first collection together while simultaneously moving into the studio in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter in January 2011. The Plant & Moss debut collection was exhibited at the Tramshed, London in 2011.

Plant and his team of freelance designers and makers now work on both the Plant & Moss Collection along side bespoke commissions from manufacturers, retailers, interior designers and private clients. All pieces from the main product line can come in custom sizes, finishes and they welcome requests for adjustments to the collections for a particular project, in addition to completely bespoke work.

‘Design can be very rewarding and I’m sure at times it has been equally frustrating,’ describes Plant, of the bespoke process ‘but when you find the solution you have been aiming for the achievement is so satisfying. The variety that working with different people brings, their projects and new skills in manufacturing is very interesting to me.’

Embracing the collaborative process has led to some great projects, including a team up with Heals early on in their career, when the high-end high street interiors brand selected them to participate in the Heal’s Discovers initiative in 2012. For this they designed the upholstered range of sofas, entitled Bisley. The cosy and classic woollen fabrics are sourced from a traditional British mill which was founded in the 1830s, and tactile leather envelops the arms.

Vivienne Westwood also asked for a dark blue version of the Odd Couples bench for its Milan store.

There are more rather secret projects in the pipeline with manufacturers and retailers, which we are told cannot be discussed at the moment. Tantilising! But we can tell you about the two new collections, Geometric and Polka Lamps launching in September at 100% Design during the London Design Festival. The former being prism shaped hooks and deskware in mainly quiet, natural colourways but does feature pops of duck egg blue and powder pink! The latter is candy coloured concealed LED lighting in pendant, table or free standing form.

‘The two collections have a quite different feeling to one another but also have inspired each other,’ Plant tells us. ‘Geometrics takes quite simple and ordinary forms, using them to create interesting and carefully considered objects, whereas Polka lamps are much more about fun, anthropomorphic quirky lamps. The introduction of bright colours, something new to us, also ties the two new collections.’

They are perhaps the two angles in which Plant approaches his creations, the soft and unassuming side that sees Plant & Moss’s work slip into everyday chic  and refined interiors around the globe but then a few choice products will stand up and demand to be noticed. ‘I like to do both,’ Plant confirms, ‘designing something subtle that is sensitive to its surroundings and humble in its materials can give long lasting pleasure. However sometimes designing something that is striking with a wow factor can give you a great feeling each time you look at it.’

Plant and Moss – www.plantandmoss.com


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