When architects Yen Yen Teh and Michael Deeley set up their consultancy together last year, they chose the enigmatic name Emulsion. It is a reference not just to the last coat of paint on a job, but to the way the team hope to work – bringing in collaborators who, when thrown into the mix, create something different, but can afterwards separate out again. Teh ran her own consultancy for the previous three years, designing the Fletcher menswear shop and working on the Space shop at Ladbroke Grove in west London, but wanted to broaden her work to involve more collaborations with other creatives like graphic designers and photographers. Emulsion shares its studio with photography company Dayfornight, which the duo hopes to work with on installations and speculative creative projects. ‘We’ve tried to extract all the good bits of commercial consultancy and merge them with a craft-based background. We try to do unusual things, but nothing too raw. What we do doesn’t look industrial,’ says Teh. One of the themes in Emulsion’s work is transforming materials for unexpected uses – in its design last year for a shared graphics studio for David James Associates and Martin Jacobs Associates, it constructed huge doors from industrial pin boards made of compressed paper and used fibreglass as partitions between the two design companies. Emulsion is now concentrating on a scheme for a chain of nail parlours, planning to work with graphic designers and photographers to achieve a textured, less clinical beauty environment. If it goes ahead, it will be a good test of the new collaborative approach that Emulsion hopes to pursue.
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