London Design Fair 2023 _
Narrative matters: how interiors can (and should) tell stories.
London-based 2LG Studio co-founders Jordan Cluroe and Russell Whitehead discuss how they use storytelling in their projects, and why leveraging a narrative, as well as experiences is important to their work and client’s needs.
To start, 2LG are one of our favourite interior design practices for their bold and thought-provoking style. We decided to attend their talk as part of a trip to the London design festival and fair, feeding our creative minds and hearing and seeing some of the best talent in the industry. The designer duo, talked through their creative process and how they work with clients to discover a narrative thread together, inspiring the direction of projects in terms of visual direction and experience.
One of the standout moments that struck a chord with us, was 2LG’s unique approach to the spaces they design — they said for them ‘story comes before function’. This statement is profound because it puts the narrative journey above the functional needs of a space, ensuring that joy and discovery are layered into their spaces even before the functional constraints come into play. As creatives we are often taught that function comes before form, but in a world where permacrisis grips, we crave more, we seek escapism and for things to feed our curiosity.
Some of the most wonderful designs today are built in ways that are more joyful than simply functional. With the rise of ‘hyper-physical stores’ as coined by the future laboratory and digital experiences often offering better functional benefits, unafforded by the limitations of physical spaces, people need a reason to venture out. Physical spaces need to deliver something that is not best served from the comfort of our own home or hand-held devices. This is where narrative comes in, it enlivens spaces to become destinations, it brings drama and emotional experiences that people crave as distraction from the mundane world.
Alongside their talk 2LG brought together interesting and progressive narratives within the spaces they had curated for the fair, supporting the community in an inclusive way, one of which was entitled ‘You CAN sit with us’. Set in the Old Truman Brewery, the pair brought together a group of creatives from a beautifully diverse ethnic, gender, and LGBTQ+ backgrounds. A curated selection of pieces by their friends, with emerging designers invited to pull up a chair to the table and share their unique voice. Each furniture piece set at the table expressed a unique and exciting personality and through their differences managed to create a beautiful sense of cohesion and deep intrigue as we imagined what each creator might have been like or been saying with their piece.
Designers featured within the space included Divine Southgate-Smith, Helen Kirkum, Wilkinson & Rivera, Amechi Mandi, Anna Maria Øfstedal Eng, Pulp Sculptuur, Studio Bence Margyarlaki, Sam Klemick Byard Works, B.C Joshua, Benjamin Motoc, Net Warner and Hot Wire Extensions. The installation’s name and sentiment flip industry gate keeping on its head, starting a conversation around inclusion, community and what it means to uplift each other as creative peers. We absolutely love this sentiment and commend the 2LG team and wider collective of creatives that made this installation so much more than an interior space.
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