The Craft Issue

Editor's letter

The ‘Craft’ Issue

It's a common misconception that when we talk about craft, we are only talking about objects. In reality, craft is much more than that. It’s a verb; it's something that we practice but it's also a mindset, a value system, a way of life even.

At Universal Design Studio, our projects vary greatly in scope and scale, yet our approach is always rooted in craft. It’s the uncontrolled element that we believe brings soul to an otherwise tightly engineered space; a “squiggly line” that shows a human touch. We are a company that was founded by architecturally-trained product designers, so it's in our nature to be detail-oriented. We place reverence on materials and processes, taking the time to test and explore every element of a space, from how your hand grips a door handle to the way a chair pulls back from the table. We understand that these small but crucial touchpoints affect how someone experiences an interior.

In our Clerkenwell studio, our model-making library and material library have a strong physical presence. From the moment you enter the reception, you’ll be struck by the way that models and mock-ups permeate the whole space. Our 3D printers, CNC machines and bandsaws are in full view and our materials library is in the middle of the studio next to the kitchen where it serves not only as a physical hub but a source of visual inspiration. This transparency is entirely intentional, it is representative of how we work and communicates how making and materials are an integral part of our process. So often, through modelmaking, we have made accidental discoveries about a project that wouldn’t have happened if we were only looking at two-dimensional drawings.

In our latest website issue, we explore how 'Craft', in all senses of the word, manifests through our process, collaborations and work. We revisit some of our most seminal and well-known projects through this lens, unravelling the collaborative creative endeavours that underpinned some of the most pertinent components of each brief and resulting space and the individuals and brands who helped us bring these to life.

Read more on 'Why We Make' in this issue's thought-piece here.

— Sonia Tomic, Creative Director

Each quarter, we focus our website on a broader theme relevant to our work and process. View last quarter’s issue, ‘Archetypes’, here.