Multidisciplinary design duo George Wu and Sarah Gottlieb, AKA Household, have got creative collaboration down to a fine art, and were also behind the launch of design’s very first Pound Shop. You can find their Talent profile in" Grafik 188":http://www.grafikmag.com/shop, but for the full interview, see below…
Grafik: Describe your work in three words.
Household: Collaborative, playful and curious.
G: What’s been your favourite project so far?
H: The Poundshop. It is the one where we have been responsible for everything from concept to finish, and it reflects the direction we wanted to go with Household when we initially began.
G: Tell us about the Poundshop.
H: The Poundshop is a platform for designers to sell designer goods under the strict brief that the product is to be sold for £1. An idea created with illustrator Sara Melin, the very first pop-up Poundshop had a successful launch in April 2010 with forty-two designers, followed by a second shop during London Design Week with fifty-seven designers. We also curated the third pop-up shop for Christmas at Somerset House.
A reaction to the current economic crisis, the main prerequisite is that all products, despite having a low price to attract customers, should nonethtless allow a profit margin. It also gives the designer a testing site for ideas they possibly could mass-produce and sell. It’s a challenging brief. We are pleased to see previous Poundshoppers now selling their goods in the likes of Magma and the Moderna Museet.
G: What’s the secret to successful collaboration?
H: Our work is predominately multi-disciplinary and with that we have realised that project management is by far the greatest skill. We’ve also learnt the importance of conversation, in terms of developing our ideas with collaborators and finding new perspectives to allow us to re-evaluate our own practice.
G: If you weren’t Household-ers, what would you be?
H: Sarah would be a chef and teach George to love cooked fruit. George would be an accountant like her dad always wanted.
G: What would be your fantasy commission?
H: It is hard to say as we’re still trying such disparate projects. However, one thing we have been thinking about is producing a children’s animated TV series.
G: What’s been the best and worst reaction to your work?
H: Best: We spent nearly a month building The Animatic with Yuri Suzuki, an installation for CraftPunk at the Salone del Mobil at Milan Design Week 2009. The aim of the exhibition was for us to complete the project while visitors came to observe us over the course of a week. Slightly like Big Brother, we ate, worked, slept at the space. Finally, in the afternoon on the last day the Animatic machine was up and running. The cheers we got for the first time it ran were brilliant, although we might have been a little delusional with exhaustion.
Worst: In the Poundshop a vicar and his wife came to visit. The vicar picked up a set of four pencils and asked, “How much is this?” We explained it was a Poundshop, so they were an amazing one pound. He then said, “You know there is that place, what’s it called?” After a few moments he cried “Wilkinson’s! You can get 50 pencils for a pound there, very reasonable.” They then left.
G: What’s playing on the Household stereo?
H: Well, we have a special emergency playlist which tends to be put on during any late nights in the studio. It mainly boasts hits from the likes of R. Kelly, Destiny’s Child, Nelly and Kris Kross… I don’t think you’re ready for this jelly.
G: What’s the best bargain you’ve ever bought?
H: The best bargain is the lunch meal deal at the Turkish on Broadway Market. Starter, main and drink for £7.50. We’ve just moved and we seem to be living off them. No need for dinner in the evening—yum.