In Conversation with Simon Terry

I was lucky enough to chat to Simon Terry, 5th generation and Brand & Innovation Director at Anglepoise. We discussed what he has on his desk and where he draws his inspiration from. 

 Image: Anglepoise

Image: Anglepoise

 

You are 5th generation of the Terry family, the co-founders of Anglepoise alongside George Carwadine. How does it make you feel to be part of a brand that is now recognised as an iconic British brand?

On the one hand it gives you that cosy, being at home feeling, while on the other the responsibility of being a custodian and leaving things in a better state than you found them. I have really enjoyed the last 15 years in the business and gradually seeing the Anglepoise Brand growing in status and recognition once more has been quite exciting. We have also been lucky to live in the age of the celebrity designer and the renaissance of many Design Classics, and we as a business have grown in this environment.   

I really like to step away from the industry and return to a relatively simple family life

I seem to spend all of my time looking at all things interior design, and it’s almost like a creative outlet for me outside of my job. What is it that inspires you and helps you escape?

For me in some ways it’s the opposite. I really like to step away from the industry and return to a relatively simple family life.

I have an Original 1227 Studio Edition on my String Shelf workstation. What does your work space desk look like and how important is it for you to have the right crafted space to work in?

I work in three locations, and have learnt to have a hot desk mind-set where I just setup the laptop and go. Probably the most important part for me is to try and work in front of a window with a view. This allows the sensation of space, and a reminder of the world around us and the changes through the day and the seasons.

How did the studio collection come about?

The Studio really was around having a bit of fun really. Taking our smaller heritage product and making it look more playful, giving it a contemporary twist with the colour selection. We were also able to have fun with the cable colours where they could either compliment the rest of the product or contrast by provide a bright accent with a neon flex for example – totally changing the personality of the product. Like a lot of things we do it was an experiment to see if offering more choices in terms of colour, material and finish was of interest to people, making them feel in some way that they are part of the creation process. It has proved very popular with many people even buying a couple of lights – creating a his and hers set perfect for those bedside tables.  

I also own a Type 75 in black. How did that collection come about?

It was the second design brief that I gave to Sir Kenneth Grange. It was to take the Model 75 as a starting point, which was first made in the 1970’s and had a long fluted shade. But to come up with something that was smarter and more contemporary in design, whilst still embracing the characteristics and DNA of the earlier product. It’s a wonderful example of a simple, relatively affordable light that just does one thing well. Black was and still is my favourite colour, as it just looks timeless against those chrome springs and details.

Anglepoise has collaborated with many designers over the years, more recently Paul Smith and Margaret Howell. How does that collaboration process come about, and how do you chose who to collaborate with?

The whole process of collaboration is a careful choice. I always start off with the mantra that 2 + 2 = 5 … i.e with the two parties coming together you have to come up with something better than simply the sum of the parts. The most important thing is to find people you can really work with and always starting off with the intention of building a long term relationship. Margaret Howell was actually one of the first connections I made back in 2004, through a friend of mine. We have actually been collaborating for over 12 years now, and they are lovely people to work with. (I actually had a cup tea with the team last week in the middle of their lovely Wigmore Street store)

It’s a very bold move to create a lamp like the Giant. It is essentially just a large scale replica of the classics. How did that all come about?

 

The design work was done by my father and it was originally done as a commission for the Roald Dahl Museum to form part of an oversize set based on his writing hut where he always used an Anglepoise. We built three products in total. One was auctioned at Christies for the creative writing fund at the museum and was bought by the film Director Tim Burton. One of my heroes having just left the film industry and I got the pleasure of installing it in his London home next to the Oversize Oompa-Loompa chair from Charlie and the Chocolate factory.  The third piece was exhibited at 100% Design and when the requests kept rolling in for one we just had to go into full production. It just seems to grow in popularity year after year, as the oversize trend seems to roll on and on. The addition of a pendant range and also outdoor versions have really helped to broaden the appeal.

Finally, everytime I visit a new city, I find myself stuck to my camera to ensure that I can capture that feeling of wonder, and I always try to  bring a part of it back to my home. That specifically true with France and Scandinavia. Are there any places that you have visited that you feel that special affinity with?

For me it has to be California and particularly around San Francisco. I have visited a number of times as I have an old friend from the Film industry I used to work with in Visual Effects who has lived there for a number of years. There is a really chilled and friendly atmosphere, with the ability to pursue a number of outdoor activities such as surfing, mountain biking and skiing – often at the same time of year which ticks all the boxes for me as I am starting to move towards my mid-life crisis!