Peter & Paul’s creative director, Lee Davies, takes us on a tour of the studio’s Sheffield factory space
Creative director Lee Davies on how history and location contribute to Peter & Paul's creative ethos
Our studio is in an area of Sheffield called Kelham Island. Recently Kelham won a Best Neighbourhood award, and you could say it’s the closest thing Sheffield has to an independent arts/food quarter.
Part of the reason for the award was the natural way the area has developed – no massive injection of cash, no turfing out of residents or businesses. That's why it felt good to us. It feels like we're at the start of something, and we can help define the future of it too. The studio space we have here is massively personal to us. We worked on it with our architecture partner and client Teatum+Teatum, and the whole process sent us on a year-long rediscovery of who we are and why we make what we make. We were ‘client side' for part of the process – as they unpicked what we were about, the history of the area, the future of it and how we might contribute. We were also designers in the process too: naming the studio (Testone Factory, after a seminal record made in Sheffield), creating an identity for it and designing some of the objects in the space.
Part of the design was a massive monolithic black desk (1), which we all sit around. This desk, as well as being an object of beauty, actually contributes to our process. Everyone is involved in all projects. Nothing is siloed. There are no departments, just a collection of people making the best work we can.
The boat (2), or rather, the space in which the boat sits, represents half of the studio, which is opened up for anything
we want to place there, be it an event or an exhibition. This makes the studio a place for creative work and play and is an important part of blurring the boundaries between our jobs and our passions.
Too often the work we make ends up in a storage container or online somewhere. We wanted the opportunity to show some of the work we've done in a purpose-built space, to celebrate it and remind ourselves what we're best at, so this micro gallery is what greets you at the front door and it's open to ideas.
'Turning water into wine since 2005' was partly a joke about what we'd all been doing since the company set up, but the more we thought about it the more it felt like a mantra. So we placed it as a concrete floor plate (4) at the front of the building for us to walk over daily.
The River Don (5) powered much of the traditional industry around here and our studio looks directly on to it. That connection to openness, when you work in a city, is a huge bonus and something Yorkshire does offer you as a location.
Peter & Paul is a design communications studio specialising in ideas-led branding for a range of industries, such as art, food, music and more.