Sunday Star-Times - Sunday Magazine - - NEWS - In­ter­view/ Britt Mann Pho­to­graph/ Ross Gi­b­lin

Joshua, 23, (left) and Sa­muel, 21, Lewis are de­sign­ers work­ing on a large-scale in­stal­la­tion for this year’s LUX Light Fes­ti­val – a show­case of light sculp­tures placed through­out the Welling­ton CBD. The brothers are also flat­mates. SAM / Be­fore I moved out of home, Josh and I didn’t get along. When­ever he’d come home to Christchurch from uni and I just couldn’t deal with it. We grew up and found a com­mon in­ter­est. Be­fore this we didn’t have any­thing. Brothers al­ways kind of an­noy each other.

Josh stud­ied at Massey Uni­ver­sity two years be­fore me. I was study­ing broad­cast­ing down in Christchurch and I de­cided I didn’t like that. I kind of took a year off and Josh was like, “At least come to the open day, have a look at the uni.” So I did. I ended up study­ing in­dus­trial de­sign; he stud­ied spa­tial de­sign.

Josh got a few projects over­seas and there were some prob­lems he couldn’t solve when it came to elec­tri­cal work, which I had done a lot of. I started do­ing this for other projects of his and we de­cided to do LUX to­gether this year. I did it by my­self last year.

Once we found a space we liked, we just sat down one even­ing at uni on the com­put­ers for prob­a­bly six hours, draw­ing, fill­ing white­boards with pic­tures.

We live in an apart­ment at the top of Cuba St. It’s me, my brother and two of his friends. We don’t talk about the project at home. Ev­ery­one’s rea­son­ably well be­haved but I guess it’s me and Jake ver­sus Tom and Josh – they’re the ma­ture ones. We all cook separately. Josh has an an­noy­ing habit of steal­ing other flat­mates’ food.

He’s prob­a­bly the quiet one – un­til you start talk­ing about his in­ter­ests. He’s easy to get along with un­til you start talk­ing about art or de­sign, then he’s quite in­tense.

He likes to dis­ap­pear at 10pm and go into uni un­til 2am, spon­ta­neously. He’ll never come to par­ties and stuff. He’ll go to uni in­stead.

Josh does most of the de­sign, the con­cep­tual stuff. I’m more call­ing places over­seas and find­ing out where we can get dif­fer­ent ma­te­ri­als and do­ing the build­ing.

We had a mas­sive dis­agree­ment over what we would make the in­stal­la­tion out of. We de­cided to go with Josh’s idea – us­ing ply­wood to make the frames – but we talked to some tech­ni­cians and they said my idea – welded steel – was the best way to do it. We’re go­ing with that now.

I’m al­ways con­cerned about how much money we have; Josh just wants to do it. I’m more in­ter­ested in the im­pacts of de­sign – sus­tain­abil­ity and be­ing waste­free. Josh takes it into con­sid­er­a­tion, but if it’s go­ing to af­fect how some­thing looks, it’s not go­ing to stop him.

I think our par­ents are pretty proud we get along. Mum al­ways says, “I think it’s awe­some.” JOSH / We were work­ing on projects along­side each other. LUX came up and we were both think­ing of putting in en­tries, so it made sense that, now we get along a lot bet­ter, that we’d try do­ing it to­gether.

When you help each other it’s fine be­cause you can step away, but with some­thing like this you’re locked in un­til the end. But it seems to be go­ing fine.

As a flat­mate, he’s pretty good. His uni­cy­cle is al­ways around the house. He used to do cir­cus arts and he’s sort of held on to it.

The hard­est thing about work­ing and liv­ing to­gether is when the con­ver­sa­tions come home. You might not want to talk about some­thing at 11pm just be­fore you go to bed. And then one of us will bring up an idea and it’s like, no, I don’t want to talk about it right now.

We had one even­ing to put the pro­posal to­gether for LUX. We looked at all of our projects and how we might be able to take one fur­ther. I was do­ing work with dancers and record­ing the forms they make in com­puter graph­ics. We won­dered what it could be like if this be­came a phys­i­cal piece of work.

We didn’t have a flat for five or so days and we went back home to see fam­ily in Christchurch. We had to work on this de­sign at the same time. We were sit­ting at South li­brary, hav­ing these de­sign con­ver­sa­tions at the same ta­ble as a knit­ting cir­cle. For three days, we sat among them talk­ing about our light-up wire struc­tures while they were knit­ting.

We’re both fairly or­gan­ised. I like to record ev­ery­thing we’re do­ing so the other per­son can re­fer to it. He’ll make de­sign changes and I might not know about them. He’ll get re­ally stuck in, head first.

Sam prob­a­bly takes on more of a tech­ni­cal role but that’s not al­ways the case, be­cause I’m also trained in that area. I do more of the con­cept stuff in the early stages. I don’t know if he en­joys that as much.

Sam’s strength is his crit­i­cal eye; he will be look­ing for how prac­ti­cally an idea might work. I’m more con­cerned about how it will cre­ate at­mos­phere in a space, and those in­tan­gi­ble qual­i­ties.

I was prob­a­bly the quiet one but when it comes to de­sign-re­lated stuff, I will take the charge and he might take a back­seat.

There are three brothers in the fam­ily. When we were grow­ing up, we were al­ways fight­ing, al­ways wind­ing each other up with no holds barred. You’d get to the next day and have for­got­ten about what hap­pened the pre­vi­ous day. Then it would start all over again.

We’re both into pho­tog­ra­phy and train at the gym. Go­ing to the gym to­gether – with my other brother, too – was when we all sort of started get­ting along.

I moved to Welling­ton first and Sam moved here three years af­ter me. He al­ways wanted to build things and was think­ing of do­ing en­gi­neer­ing. I did it for a year be­fore I started do­ing de­sign. I knew in­dus­trial de­sign – what he does now – would be what he was think­ing en­gi­neer­ing would be.

He’s a pretty like­able guy – open and friendly. He prob­a­bly takes in more than I give him credit for. Welling­ton’s LUX Light Fes­ti­val runs May 12-21.

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