John Lewis and Waitrose: The Book
Who are they? The winners of the 2016 New Designers John Lewis Award for Design and Innovation, Riccardo Centazzo, 23, and Jaxon Pope, 25, met on the 3D design course at Camberwell College of Arts in 2013. With interests in woodwork, textiles and experimental processes, the Selce Studio manifesto was carved out over the summer of 2014.
What does their manifesto say? “Design should be economically and physically available, therefore affordable and accessible,” they say. Or, in other words, Riccardo and Jaxon believe that “design is for all”.
Tell me about their products… The pair are perhaps best known for their bamboo kitchen utensils. But their latest prototypes include an ultra-lightweight backpack, a set of modular gas hobs and a parallel shelving system.
Why bamboo? Because it’s the “perfect alternative” to other more commonly used woods. “The amount of waste normally produced made us rethink the manufacturing process,” says Jaxon. “But we were eager not to lose the habitual feeling of wood in the kitchen.”
They’re not afraid to challenge the status quo then? No. As well as practical work, they emphasise the importance of critical discussion and research. “Design needs to be separated from art if tangible change is to be made,” the pair believe. The discipline has to be redefined to survive, which is why they take “more inspiration from books and people than from other active designers”.
What’s next? While Riccardo and Jaxon feel that they are still early on in their design careers, they don’t think it’s ever really necessary to specialise. “We’re problem solvers,” says Riccardo. “No matter which area of life they belong to.”