Squint: Lisa Whatmough

Today we’re interviewing Lisa from Squint – the founder of what started as a small boutique on Redchurch Street in Shoreditch, which bodly emerged in 2005.  Since then Squint has grown and are opening in Kensington.  I have had the pleasure of working with Lisa on a couple of projects. She is a true professional with a big passion for design and is a lovely person.  Currently Lisa is working on a range of wallpapers that have been nominated for an Elle Decoration British Design Award. I’m meeting Lisa in Shoreditch at home with her dog Stanley….

 

Tell me a little about your background…

I started Squint 7 years ago, my background is fine art, I studied sculpture and specialized in metal work. When I first started I was on my own. We worked with antique textiles and accessories.

 

 

 

What are the main principles of squint?

 Our guiding principles are excellent manufacture in the UK – that’s our big drive The real enjoyment for me is in the physical creating and manufacturing of the work. I like to be involved in production. The further we go and bed in with our manufacturers, our products just get better and better and that’s a real pleasure to watch develop.

 

The Squint workshop today

 

How do you think the market has changed since you opened?

Constantly. The only way to stay in business is to be light on your feet. Obviously when the recession kicked in, people stopped buying things like sofas. Because we were little, we were able to flip across to designing accessories and they have been very successful for us. We’re now releasing wallpapers and fabrics, things that are really less expensive that are still sure to be a big statement in the home.

 

Who is your favorite furniture designer?

I don’t have a favorite furniture designer particularly – when we first started we were reworking antique pieces, and I think what has always impressed me so much about antiques is the attention to detail and the craftsmanship. I admire the attention to detail, the care, which has not been lost but is a lot less common than it used to be  – it’s just about taking pride in what you create.

 

What’s the most unique commission you ever had?

We wrapped a wall in patchwork at Annex 3 in the west end. I would say that each project has been completely unique though – no two are the same.

 

Le Trois Garcons Annex 3

 

How did your collaboration with TFL come about?

They approached us to see if we would be interested in a collaboration using their Moquette fabrics. We had never worked with anything that was so ‘carpet like’ so the challenge was to take something that is quite an unforgiving textile and apply it to something very luxurious. It was great.

 

 

What’s next for squint?

We’re about to launch our fabric and wallpaper collection in September based on antique designs. We’re launching it at London Design Week and perhaps later at Liberty. We have just been nominated for the Elle décor British Design Awards for one of the prints. Next year off the back of those designs we’re moving into ceramics and glassware! We are hoping to open more shops – ultimately internationally but currently we’re focusing on the market in the UK.

 

Lisa’s stunning designs for Squint’s new wallpaper range – nominated for an Elle Decoration British Design Award. Vote here: http://www.thebritishdesignawards.com/

 

What’s selling like hot cakes at the moment?

I think accessories; people are seduced there and then, especially international clients.

 

What do you like about the East End?

I love the east end. I like the people here, the fact it’s dynamic, every body is interested and curious. I really like being here. People complain it’s loosing it’s edge but it’s just getting cleaner and safer which is only a good thing.

 

Stanley, Lisa’s dog, shared his thoughts with us

 

 Where do you like to dine in Shoreditch?

I love Les Trois Garcons, I like eating at Shoreditch house and I can also be tempted to downstairs to The Boundary from time to time!

 

What’s your favorite dish?

I’m a pasta girl!

 

What’s your favorite toy?

Well if I had a smart car I’d love that. I love cars, so I look forward to the day I have a super-duper Aston Martin.

 

Thank you Lisa!

Visit Squint here