Studio Visit - Ali Miller

Ali Miller Blog _ Kirsty Whyte

Being stuck behind a computer screen is all very well but when ever I get the chance to escape to the real world, I jump at it (all be it with smartphone in hand). As well as working on in-house designs at I also get the opportunity to work with talented external designers, which is a great way to keep your ideas fresh.

Visiting a designer’s studio or house is always an amazing insight into their way of working. I’m currently developing a range with the Lovely Ali Miller.

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Ali has quite a magpie approach to her work, gleaning and reappropriating images and patterns from a bygone age. With a hands on approach she initially hand cuts all the images and then digitally reworks the composition; using nostalgic references but then creating a modern look with the unusual juxtaposition and editing of the cut-outs.

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Her studio space is also her home and her work is dotted about each room; her work is about her life and also part of it on a day to day basis.

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You don’t usually get tea and biscuits served like this! Unless you’re Sherlock Homes!

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Keep an eye out for her first collection due for release Xmas 2013 at

Studio Visit – Dare Studio

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Escaping the great British ‘Spring’ wasn’t going to be an option this Easter weekend, so escaping London would have to do.With a trade of accommodation in turn for some help with child entertaining; we made our way to an equally chilly Brighton to spend some 2Ps and visit Dare Studio.

Screen Shot 2013-03-31 at 19.43.31 Dare Studio, is a British Furniture and Lighting Design Brand, who I first met back in 2009 through Hidden Art, they are growing from strength to strength and have recently opened a new showroom at Bush Mews, in Brighton. I recommend a visit, but for those that are not Brighton way here are a few photos.

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Swatches; my favourite (such a furniture geek).

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I’m a big fan of the Bronte Chair.

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I love the copper and Marble displayed together.

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Wrapped up warm on the Hardy Wingback chair.

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The Spline chair which has been awarded the Design Guild Mark.

Studio Visit - Steuart Padwick


I'm frequently abroad with work visiting suppliers and factories and every once and a while I get to venture a little closer to home.

Last week I had the opportunity to catch up with Steuart Padwick in his creative environment - much better for discussing projects that in a sterile meeting room.

Steuart has an established career within furniture design and in 2009 launched his own design studio; as well as selling directly to customer’s he also designs for retailers, one of which is MADE.

Over in Berkshire is Steuarts home/studio/workshop, an amazing mix of home improvement projects, prototypes, scale furniture maquettes and a full size silverback gorilla model (unexpected).

Among the creative chaos are design nuggets; some of which are projects I'm working on with him for MADE including a new upholstery range ... watch this space.

I was left pining for a creative space of my own once more; a luxury my compact London flat can't accommodate. 

Life drawing sketches.

Horse Shoe Chair and scale model.

The Walk Desk which started of the Stroller range.

I want some stairs like this!

It looks retro but this is an 'Amp Lamp' connected to an Ipod.

Steuart contemplating a workshop tidy up! 

On the way back we popped in to the beautifully located Benchmark showroom and workshops (now 35,000 square feet) which area converted farm near the village of Kintbury in West Berkshire. Some highlights in the showroom were Mrs B Dining table by Russell Pinch, CH33 Designed by Hans Wegner and the exquisitely made scale models.

No photos of the busy workshops but it was great to see the highly skilled craftsmen diligently working on varied projects from catalogue products to huge bespoke hotel reception desks. No photos as I'm a 'competitor', but would prefer to be seen as an aspiring designer; with an aim to be one of the first Female designer for the brand, alongside Kay + Stemmer and Tomoko Azumi!


This is the very cool order book; which has every product ever sold by Benchmark and who the designer was; brilliant forward thinking and a 'who's-who' of its design legacy.