James Briley, Co-founder, Depiction Lab
James Briley regards a career highlight as doing his design idol Tom Dixon’s filing. ’I was so lucky, because in my first year I had the opportunity to work in his studio – I knew I would never actually get to work on any of his stuff, so doing his filing was fine,’ he says.
Briley runs interiors consultancy Depiction Lab with fellow Ravensbourne graduate Matt Fyvie. Together they are currently working on retail concept The Home Quarter, a 5575 m2 store in Liverpool One shopping centre that brings together 15 furniture and homeware retailers including Bo Concept and Calligan’s.
Before Depiction Lab, which was set up just 18 months ago, Briley spent time as a product and interior designer at Fitch and product designer at Native Design, before going to Above Consultancy. This gave him a broad experience in designing interiors for museums, airport lounges and one-off retail stores.
Briley counts the Royal Singapore Navy Museum as one of Depiction Lab’s biggest achievements, ’because it gives a great account of what the country’s navy really does and what it has achieved in only 40 years of service’, he says.
As the leader of a small consultancy, Briley feels that the design industry needs to recognise new and emerging designers more than it currently does. ’It feels like the same few big names get all the awards every year, and every product or furniture manufacturer wants a big established name,’ he says. ’We need more coverage, more exposure and more of a pat on the back.’
2004 Ravensbourne BA Product and Furniture Design
2004 Fitch Joined as a product and interior designer
2009 Depiction Lab Co-founded the consultancy with Matt Fyvie
Layton Reid, Head of interior design, Ravensbourne
’Quietly impressive is how I would describe Jim Briley’s work at Depiction Lab, which he founded with fellow Ravensbourne graduate Matt Fyvie. Briley applies the same effortless dynamism to all his projects, whether it be museum or retail. His creative direction comes from reworked visions of the everyday writ large and laced with a touch of irony, and he is already working all over the world, from Singapore to Dubai. This polymath of a designer is a future innovator.’
Philip Cooper, Freelance
Philip Cooper was just 14 when he decorated his parents’ garden shed in Neo-classical style – unusual teenage behaviour which landed him in upmarket glossy title The World of Interiors. ’My mum used to drag me round stately homes a lot, and one day I decided I wanted to recreate their style, so my parents gave me the garden shed to do it in,’ he says. Spotted first by the BBC and then The World of Interiors, Cooper had an early taste of interior design fame.
Now firmly committed to interiors, it has taken him some years to come back round to the discipline, after a hiatus in branding and graphics. The height of his non-interiors career was designing the Paralympics 2012 logo during his time at Wolff Olins in 2007. But he names a pop-up restaurant created for Selfridges in 2009 as the job that rekindled his love of interiors.
’I was just in the right place at the right time, but it was such a great job as Selfridges really encourages imaginative work and the team of people that I worked with was so good,’ says Cooper.
He is now back at college, studying for a Graduate Diploma in Interior Design at Chelsea College of Art & Design, ’so that I can learn how to do interior design properly’, he says.
Cooper’s dream is to hold on to his freedom by freelancing as an interior designer, creating experiential branded interiors ’that tell a story’. ’I am really keen to explore how branding and interiors can merge, creating a platform for brands,’ he says. ’
1997 Appears in The World of Interiors after decorating his parents’ garden shed
2004 University of the Arts London BA Product Design
2006 University of the Arts London MA Creative Practice for Narrative Environments
Ab Rogers, Ab Rogers Design, Design Week Rising Star 2008
Phil Cooper’s work has a rare sensibility, displaying an understanding of the beauty of fantasy and Surrealism, and how they can be used to enlighten and enliven a commercial space. His work has a broad-brush emotion which is both aesthetically and poetically pleasing, and creates sensitive environments filled with intrigue and surprise. His work is a hybrid of theatre, retail and brand design, and he intricately weaves narrative throughout his designs. I am excited to see how his work will progress and develop.’
Mark Irlam, Partner, Something From Us
Within three years of graduating from University College Falmouth, Mark Irlam had set up his own interiors, products and graphics consultancy, Something From Us, with business partner Tom Tobia.
Irlam pinpoints a key moment in 2007 when he took a lamp and a chair that he had designed to Milan furniture fair. ’That gave me the confidence and the contacts to go forward and know that I could sell my stuff,’ says Irlam.
Since then, Something From Us has been taking on bigger interiors projects, including Mexican fast-food restaurant Poncho No 8 and Harry’s Bar. ’These were our best moments so far really, as a company, because once we had them under our belt we felt a lot more confident,’ says Irlam.
The consultancy is currently hard at work creating a touring pop-up shop that will sell local produce and crafts, as part of this year’s Dott Cornwall event. The experience of working with Dott is helping to enthuse Irlam with an ever-greater interest in social responsibility.
’I think what motivates me to design is the opportunity to apply creative knowledge and processes to a lot of different things,’ says Irlam. ’We like to take on interesting projects that are maybe more community-based, as that is where design could really be useful at the moment.
’You can come up with really fun ideas that are not always the prescribed solutions.’
Irlam imagines keeping Something From Us ’relatively small’, while building up a solid name in the industry. He adds that he wouldn’t say no to designing a boutique hotel. ’Mark Irlam exemplifies how passion and desire can drive you to realise your dreams fast. Forming Something From Us just two years ago, he has juggled furniture, interiors and graphic design projects with his business partner Tom Tobia. Not many start-ups can work with major brands like Dolce & Gabbana, Sony Ericsson and Dott so soon after opening. I’m sure this is only the start.’
2005 University College Falmouth BA 3D Design for Sustainability
2007 Milan furniture fair Exhibitor
2008 Something From Us Co-founded consultancy with Tom Tobia
Louisa Pacifico Sales manager New Designers
’Mark Irlam exemplifies how passion and desire can drive you to realise your dreams fast. Forming Something From Us just two years ago, he has juggled furniture, interiors and graphic design projects with his business partner Tom Tobia. Not many start-ups can work with major brands like Dolce & Gabbana, Sony Ericsson and Dott so soon after opening. I’m sure this is only the start.’