Interview with Samuel Wilkinson
The very first collaboration for Ex.t with London based designer Samuel Wilkinson, presents a line of bathroom mirrors inspired by universal space and the force of gravity. Like two planets in Space an opal glass sphere is buoyant along a semicircular marble shelf over the Float mirror whilst the framed double mirrors of Gravity attract each other thanks to a fascinating game of magnifying forces. The designs feature a sophisticated simplicity which makes the mirrors versatile & unique accessories for the bathroom and beyond.
We had a chat with Samuel Wilkinson to find out more about it!
Ex.t: Tell us about Float & Gravity, how did the idea begin?
SW: It was an interesting process. I really like Ex.t’s style so we had to challenge ourselves to find the right designs for the brand.
This is my first time designing for the bathroom so it’s was fun to really look at bathroom rituals, then understand the human needs…to try to find some new insights. That’s kind of my studio philosophy.
Ex.t: What do you mean “humanity of products”?
SW: Often this can mean designing objects that people can have some useful interaction with rather than just being inanimate. I like create things that people can touch to experience the function this makes it more human.
With this in mind for Float we thought of a graphic representation of floating planets on the same mirrorred surface that could include everything from a shelf and to a light, which is an aesthetic reference to classic theatre vanity mirrors.
Ex.t: And for Gravity?
SW: Gravity comes from the same philosophy but maybe in a less obvious way. It’s a mirror to be used in several different ways. The main idea was two reflecting sufaces that could work together in a clean, sculptural shape but then could be separated and used different spaces depending on needs. The design consists of the main body mirror that has a smaller round magnified mirror that can detached or repositioned at any point around the rim. The name derives from a representation of the gravitational pull towards the centre of the earth
Ex.t: How do you usually find inspiration for your work?
SW: I’ve got a background in industrial design so my mindset is mainly logical to get to the final product.
The creative process can change at anytime depending on the design so inspiration can come from many sources, from research or observation or trial and error. I like to take on new challenges all the time, it’s so inspiring going into something I’ve never done before design wise. That sense of unknown is what really pushes one to try to find new and fresh solutions. With Ex.t I was very stimulated by the idea of making a product conceived for a specific setting, like the bathroom, but suitable for many other living spaces with a verstile aesthetic.
Ex.t: What does made in italy mean to you as a product designer?
SW: Italian design and craftmanship has always been a reference for the industry. We are living in a time where more and more manufacturers have moved abroad to cut costs, which can be to the detriment of quality. I think that now it is even more important to value those who have decided to stay, to preserve that manufacturing heritage and accomplishment which is a trademark of the Italian production. For me as a designer it is very important and inspiring to work with manufactures that have clear principles on the quality of the product they want to deliver and will not compromise on that just to save a small amount on cost. This makes a huge difference to me and I hope it does to those who will choose the products as well.