Edition One –The Beauty in Imperfection

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Uniting industrial Designer Jeremy with the artist 'Shackleton 56'


The only thing I know about the artist is what's written on the painting, which is his signature, Shackleton…painted in 1956…he was a Royal Academician…but that's all I know about him.

The sound of footsteps follows swiftly as the bell plays out its last few chimes. The characteristically solid sound of a latch being unhooked is accompanied by the sound of air rushing to meet the air outside as the huge door is opened.

Light surges forward to meet the shade I had found company with in the driveway and as my eyes adjust, the frame of a man finds its form in Jeremy; silver - haired and the right side of unshaven.

Removing his glasses, he shoots me a smile and invites me inside.

Part brick walls frame a custom, all ash and glass staircase, which leads my gaze upwards where I'm struck by the height of the ceiling. White like the walls, it seems to change in colour and intensity in response to the game of chase carried out by the sun and the clouds I see taking place through a large singular floor to ceiling window.

With the front door closed, the ambient noise of the home is in part courtesy of Miles Davis' 'So What' that gently emanates from speakers of which I manage to locate four, sitting flush to various walls.

We head down a mini flight of stairs and I'm invited to take a seat at a large reclaimed oak farm table which sits alongside a series of floor to ceiling glass doors that open out into a manicured garden.

Tea isn't only offered but I'm presented with a selection of first and second cut varieties. Selecting Green, I sit and comment on the view and return my gaze to the table, its weathered appearance prompts Jeremy to share that it was a particular type of beeswax that was used to seal and nourish the wood that clinched the sale some 5 years earlier.

With a career in Industrial Design spanning 20 years, Jeremy has worked in house and has run two separate Consultancies before returning once again to an in-house role as the Creative Director for leading Service Design Consultancy Great Fridays with offices in Manchester, London, San Francisco and New York.

With a slew of influential brands and businesses he can call clients, and a steady stream of work coming from China, his career highlights also include a series of internationally recognised awards which confirm his rightful place amongst an elite few who can claim residency within a highly selective industry.

A 1st Class graduate of the Central Design School London, Jeremy says his work is driven by a desire to create "beautiful sustainable products and experiences that connect with people". His style is that rare mix of function and aesthetic beauty; precise lines and few materials taking on a minimalistic form. The result: breathing apparatus for fire-fighters that wouldn't look out of place at MOMA and the REVO Radio for Monocle of which any self respecting minimalist would be proud.

Top: Revo Radio for Monocle Left: PSS 500 Breathing Apparatus Right: Mission Aero Speaker

Taking inspiration from influential Industrial Design voices such as Professor Luigi Collani and Dieter Rams, Jeremy's work speaks with the same intellectual and aesthetic clarity as the former masters, albeit slightly abbreviated for a more demanding, mass produced, consumer driven climate.

One of four sons to father Jimmy - Co owner of Galt Toys - when Jeremy was born, Galt Toys was already 6 years into a 20 year relationship with the iconic British Graphic Designer Ken Garland and had a flagship store on London's Carnaby Street.

My childhood was tactile and there was always toys from my fathers factory lying around. We were encouraged to play and pick things up…I liked the fact it was made from wood and metal, they'd develop marks, marks we'd left, we'd made…we knew it was ours…you'd create this personal history with something and I liked that aspect then and now.

The notion of a personal history with objects is nothing new. The attachment we seem to have for something can be rational or irrational. Akin to silent siblings, we create a story with an object and this notion of story or provenance is what enables us to trace its roots and its origins back to people, who once like us, were enamoured by its form, its function and its purpose.

As 'owners' of rare, original and unique things, we're very much the custodians for a finite period of time. Where some things will deteriorate, others will outlast us and so it's only ever really on loan for as long as we're around.

"Our obligation seems to be to love, to cherish and to hand down to someone we care for to mark an occasion or to recognise an achievement."

We move into one of the many snugs and we take a seat on his Piero Lissoni settee as Jeremy hands me a vase he found in Japan and turns through pages in a series of pressed leaves from what he believes belonged to a Botanist or a Hobbyist.

Left: Vase found in Japan Right: Petrified tree root from the UK

Holding the vase in my hand, I remark over its lightness and the fragility of it. On the base there is a makers mark neither of us are able to decipher but for some reason it gives us both comfort to see it adorning it's naked base.

On the landing Jeremy hands me a painting of what he refers to as a Marionette.

Signed 'Shackleton 56' and that the artist was once a Royal Academician, Jeremy knows little else about the history of the artist but the personal history of the painting has a story that typifies the importance and role of objects, which occupy the space between us all.

Slightly simplistic in its quality but all the more beautiful in it's naiveté I ask him if he thinks mass production will ever truly replace craftsmanship.

There are objects and things with a soul and there are those without and I think the soul comes from the maker who spent hours making it…hours of time, care, craft and attention. It was willed into life and shaped into existence. It's our duty to ensure that legacy survives by adding pages to their own history which become entwined with ours.