HOME - INTERVIEW
Wednesday, October 17, 2018
Jamie Antoniades and Mark Antoniades
HOME - INTERVIEW
by Mehmet Kaplan
Jamie Antoniades and Mark Antoniades have decided to establish their own design studio when they were in their late twenties. j-me Original Design has been designing functional and original products since 2000. Horizontal Shoe Rack, His & Hers Keyholders and Wave Coat Rack are some of the iconic designs that you can easily understand that they are designed by j-me. I asked Jamie Antoniades, Co-Founder and Creative Director of j-me Original Design, about the story of j-me.
Jamie, could you tell us about your educational background and design experiences? Who is Jamie Antoniades?
I studied industrial design at the Central St.Martins School of Art & Design, graduated in 1994. I worked in lighting for 5 years at SKK Lighting & iGuzzini Lighting before setting up j-me in September 2000. I am just a regular guy with an inventive imagination. A loving & caring husband & father.
j-me Original Design - Horizontal Shoe Rack
When did you first decide to become a designer? What or who inspired you?
I don’t consider myself a designer...to be honest I'm old school and don't know any of the design packages...at j-me we’ve always had a small team of designers to help realise my ideas. Being creative just came naturally...both my brothers are creative too...
Could you tell us about your brother Mark? Did you always target the same goal? How did you decide to establish j-me?
My younger brother is Mark and we are both very different. He has a natural passion and flair for finances as well as a meticulous attention to design detail. Two polar opposite areas! established j-me together just through convenience and both leaving our jobs at the same time.
j-me Original Design - Hub Tech Tidy
How could you describe your design approach?
Minimal, clean and trying to provide a storage solution in a clever way.
What do you aim for in your designs? What are j-me's design and production philosophy?
Highly functional, original & witty. We always try to be original design. The original design is part of our logo, setting out like this makes it really hard to keep things fresh and original. We always use factories who share our vision on quality of materials and manufacture.
j-me Original Design - Hex Corc Tray
What is your favorite material to use in your designs?
My favourite material would be concrete but ironically we don't use this, at the moment it is cork.
j-me Original Design - His & Hers Keyholders
Horizontal Shoe Rack and His & Hers Key Holders are your best-known designs. How did you come up with this iconic ideas? What were their stories?
Horizontal shoe rack was an idea from Mark... "How do we store shoes off the floor in an elegant way"... a quick sketch and we were there. Born 2005 and still selling well today.
his and hers was a combination of me and Mark. My idea was to use a key as a key ring to store your keys in a lock and mark came up with the idea to use the classic his & hers symbols which are globally recognised...stroke of genius. Born 2003 and still selling well today.
How do you decide to start a new project and run to the end? Do you make a plan or only expect inspiration? Could you briefly tell us about the steps?
Ideas just come to us randomly & anywhere. If we get excited by an idea we research if it already exists. If not then we start with sketches, quickly going into card/plasticine models, then a rapid prototype, then send to quote for manufacture if we are satisfied it has commercial legs...
Could you tell us about your Studio and your team?
Me and Mark, Rebecca Jameson, Anand Dave, Lionel Correya, and Mels Antoniades, we are always in the j-me studio that is located in famous Oxo Tower in London, if you are around here, say hello to us.
j-me Original Design - Cozy Remote Tidy
What do you think about design competitions and awards? Could you tell us about design awards that you won?
They are good to get you extra publicity, if you need your ego boosted then they are definitely worth it...We don’t! we have one this a few times over the years. https://www.giftoftheyear.co.uk/
What do you think about 3D printers? How did they affect the design culture?
They are good and we have been using them for years just before we go to production. Everybody can be a designer now which is good however 3d printing doesn't teach you about manufacturing techniques and designing products for manufacture.
Do you still use paper and pen for your sketches, or is everything digital now?
100% in the beginning...It then evolves to digital once we are preparing files for the manufacturer.
j-me Original Design - Horizontal Shoe Rack
What type of projects do you prefer and enjoy working on the most?
Simple projects eg the shoe rack...a classic that still sells well 13 years later
What has been changed in the design industry and your vision over the years from 2000 to now?
We have been predominantly in the gift sector, unfortunately this is an area where plagiarism is rife and the consumer demand for cheaper products has grown massively over the last 10 years, consumers seem to have changed a lot where attention span now due to the tech boom and social media is very limited and all the love and soul we put into our products seem to get overlooked as the main driver now is the retail price...is it cheap! Consumers are not spending in the same way they were 10 years ago...
What is the best advice you have ever received, and what advice would you give to young designers?
Never deviate from your objective, stick to your guns and grind it out...as long as you 100% believe in what you are doing.
What is the importance of social media for you? How can our readers follow j-me original design?
We do it mainly on Instagram but to be honest, everybody is on Instagram. There is a lot to be said about going the opposite direction everyone else is going.
How can our readers buy your designs?
What is next for you, Mark and j-me original design?
Next is to try to find the next big winning product which is so much harder today than it has ever been.
Thank you Jamie for this enjoyable interview.