Oh how I love quirky design that combines fun with practicality. When I first saw this giant HB pencil that was actually a lamp, I knew I had to find out the brains and creative nous behind it: husband-and-wife team Michael and George Gettings who recently returned home to Sydney after several years in London who have joined forces to design their own unique products with a stationery theme.
They launched their debut ‘Stationery Objects’ product range during the London Design Festival in 2014 and their HB Lamp was named as part of Fast Company’s ‘The Best Lighting Design of 2014’.
Soon, they are to launch their smaller, more affordable desk-size HB Mini Lamp (top image) on Kickstarter. As you can see from the pictures, the lamps are formed from such a simple idea yet are ingenious and one of those designs that
makes you think, why didn’t I think of that? Come and meet Michael and George …
As a husband-and-wife design team, how would you describe your areas of specialty?
Both of us have been creative souls ever since we were very young. Michael studied Graphic Design using his skills to become a Graphic Designer and George studied a Bachelor of Creative Arts, later becoming a client/project manager for a design agency working with arts clients, among others. Our natural creativity has meant that we’ve always wanted to work on projects together but having different skills (graphic design and project management) has really helped as both skill sets are needed to get things done.
Tell us about your seven years in London – what took you there, what did you do, how you came to launch your HB design there?
It all started in a graphic design agency in Sydney (Michael a designer, George a client service/project manager). Work place romance followed then we decided to move to London to pursue our design careers and do some travelling. While travelling through South America on our six-month mega honeymoon we felt inspired to pursue our aspirations to venture into 3D product design with our own projects, starting with the Giant HB Lamp which we’d been talking about creating for a couple of years. Upon returning to London, we resolved to stop talking about it and actually make our ‘Stationery Objects’ range which included the HB pencil lamps.
Tell us about your creative process – how do you like to work, who or what inspires you?
We seem to have a million and one ideas in our heads at any one time. The challenge is to filter through these and focus on one at a time. This is what we’ve tried to do with the launch of the Giant HB Lamp and now the HB Mini. We feel really inspired creatively by so many things – everyday objects and reimagining these into practical design objects, Wes Anderson films (amongst others), music, theatre, art, travelling … However the reality of life/having to pay bills can get in the way of acting on all this inspiration! We dream of being able to work on Michael and George fulltime in the not too distant future and this is what we are working towards.
What is or has been the hardest or most challenging part of what you do and setting up and growing your business?
Venturing into 3D product design but coming from a graphic design background has been a steep learning curve and because of this, things have taken a little longer to do at times than we’d hoped (in particular bringing the HB Mini to market). The good thing is that the extra time has meant we’ve not been rushed in our decision making and everything we are doing is very considered, and hopefully this will shine through with our finished products.
My dream project is …? Or have you already done it?
The dream for a few years now has been bringing the Giant HB Lamp and HB Mini to life and through these, making people smile and inspiring light bulb moments around the world. We are well on our way to making this happen.
The Geometry Clock
We’re currently working on …
Bringing the HB Mini Lamp to market. This is our number one focus right now as we gear up to launching a Kickstarter campaign in March. We are trying to scale up to a larger production volume so that the HB Lamp minis are more affordable. The Giant HB Lamps are too much for many people to afford and/or/too big to fit into everyone’s house/office. They are handcrafted and made to order so very expensive and time consuming to create. We’ve had a lot of interest in our HB Mini Lamps so we are hopefully fulfilling a demand and have our fingers crossed that people will support our Kickstarter campaign. The idea is that we will offer rewards for supporting us and pre-sell the lamps, many at below RRP. The earlier people log on to the campaign to buy a lamp, the bigger discount they will receive. We are also offering a chance for people to win an HB Mini by signing up to our mailing list at www.michaelandgeorge.com. Fingers crossed we get lots of support and our dream to make the desks of the world more creative in 2016 will come true!
It’s not very cool, but we really like …
Miffy, the iconic bunny from Dick Bruner’s children’s books. We even have a giant Miffy lamp in our living room – it’s pretty awesome!
The best thing about living in Sydney is …
So many things! It’s great to be back after seven years away. Sydney is such a beautiful city and the weather is amazing (a bit different to London). We love going to the beach/pool for swims whenever we can and simply being back with family and friends again is incredible.
Have you ever had a ‘who’d have thought’ moment?
Yes, both with our business and personally. When we got our first few orders for the Giant HB Lamp we couldn’t quite believe it. We just put it out there to see if anyone was interested and turns out they were. Who’d have thought people would actually want to buy our products? YAY. Also when Anya Hindmarsh ordered 10 Giant HB Lamps to feature in her store window displays internationally. Who’d have thought a successful designer renowned for her creativity and wit would want to use our Giant HB Lamps as part of a campaign to help promote her designer luxury bags and accessories? And she started out in Hackney, London where we were living at the time. Personally, we had a ‘who’d have thought’ moment when we discovered we were having another little boy (due in April) – two boys under two – who’d have thought?
Thanks so much, Michael and George!
If you want to learn more about Michael and George’s work or keep up-to-date with their Kickstarter campaign, which will kick off in March, visit michaelandgeorge.com.
And you can find them on Facebook.