Having studied at Manchester Metropolitan University and working with Innermost for nearly 10 years, James Bartlett has designed multiple products from the Innermost range. Participating in every stage of production, James’ expertise in manufacture allows him to push the boundaries of design, adopting a practice of experimentation with material and process. We caught up with him to find out a little more…
1. Most recently you designed the Brixton lighting range for Innermost. Nice one! It’s a beautiful collection that has a timeless appeal. What inspired you?
I’m obsessed with Geometry. I love edges.
2. Who would you invite to your dream designer dinner party? (Let’s call it your ‘innerparty’..)
My close friends. No matter what your career we are all designers in some way or another. We have all misused an object in an inventive way.
3. What is your favorite piece of architecture?
Right now I’m fascinated by The Lovell Telescope at Jodrell Bank. It was partly made from recycled parts from WWII War Ships (including the rotating gun turrets) and stands out wonderfully on the Cheshire Plain. It’s nice that from brutal killing machines they managed to create such a fantastic scientific tool that isn’t bad to look at either!
4. What would you name as the most useful piece of tech? Or alternatively the most pointless..?
The Lock. Keys and Locks are amazing bits of kit. Or the Shipping Container.
5. If you could take any found object and make it into a lamp, what would it be?
The curved airflow intake from a 1935 Chrysler.
6. What’s your favorite object from childhood?
A huge American Flathead Screwdriver my grandad managed to get hold of from a US Engineer in the War. It’s about a foot and a half long, beautifully made and looks as if it could open anything.
7. What’s the funniest or weirdest thing a client has ever asked for or said in a meeting?
Can we have it finished in Europe in a month?
8. Of course, we‘re all big fans of the Negroni at innermost… is that your favorite cocktail?
Currently, it’s a Sazerac. I like a cocktail that punches me in the face then calls me a taxi home.
9. What’s the last thing you designed?
A 3D Zoetrope for an Art Installation at a Music Festival.
10. If you could choose your teachers at Fantasy College – who would you choose to be taught by?
Hmm, Probably my Grandad, he was an engineer by trade and made me and my brother the most amazing toys in his workshop, sadly I was too young to learn from him when he passed. Hella Jongerius – her use of color is beautiful. Naoto Fukasawa – his subtle references to existing objects are a delight. Jasper Morrison – to find out how he makes chairs so comfortable.
Thanks for answering our 10 questions!