Papersmiths, Shoreditch is officially open! We sat down with Jess, our Interior Architect at B to chat about the design, materials and the bespoke nature of the fit out.
Hello Jess! Tell us how you went about planning the interior of Papersmiths London.
After receiving the floor plans, Sid and I spoke about the type of products Papersmiths would carry to London and planned the space accordingly. With the limited spaces we've got, we wanted to maximise merchandise opportunity but also be clever about how we store stock. The entire design centres around 3 core materials; freckled Jesmonite, pink encaustic tiles and European Douglas timber. We wanted the scheme to be strong but subtle. Everything is bespoke for Papersmiths, from the tiled till area to the Jesmonite display plinths.
Our shop in Shoreditch is in a shipping container therefore there is a considerable size difference between the two sites! Did you face any challenges in designing for a space that is much smaller, and narrower, than Bristol?
Yes and No. Sometimes it's tricky to design an interior with limited space but we kept the layout extremely simple and focused heavily on design details.
What aspects of our Bristol shop did you want to bring to London? What did you want to keep unique?
Papersmiths Bristol is neutral, clean and fresh. It works and the products pop against the light wood and white walls. The same applies for Shoreditch: we have a created a muted dusky backdrop for the products to shine. In Bristol, we've learnt what works and what doesn't in terms of creating a usable and enjoyable shopping experience, so we took the elements that are a success and replicated them in Shoreditch - like the mag wall and card shelves.
How did you go about sourcing the materials? Can you tell us about the bespoke deliverables (pots, shelves, peg wall, surfaces) and why we chose to source handmade materials?
Sourcing is one my favourite parts of project; it's great to speak to new suppliers and learn about new materials. Sourcing the tiles was an extremely long process, I didn’t realise it would be so hard to find pink 10x10cm tiles with a lead time shorter than 8 weeks! Fortunately there’s a brilliant furniture store in Clifton Village whose owner stocks a variety of Moroccan tiles and owns a factory in Marrakech. We specified the colour and size and 8 weeks later, 6600 tiles got delivered to site.
The timber is supplied by a Danish company called Dinesen. They’re the only company I’ve been able to find who produce solid Douglas timber at bespoke lengths and widths. To enhance the structure of the box and grid of tiles, We opted for planks 300mm wide and 2-5m in length. We then finished each plank with a natural Lye oil to bring out the grain and sealed them with a white oil-based soap.
Most of what you see in both Bristol and Shoreditch is handmade and designed for purpose, it keeps everything fresh and original which is important for Papersmiths.
You worked closely with surface designer, Katie Gillies. Tell us about her practice, and what she created for us for the shop.
Katie is a surface designer based in Nottingham and Leeds. We were interested in working with Jesmonite and I was introduced to her Instagram. She creates bespoke surfaces by making wood moulds of each item and casting with Jesmonite. Then each process goes through a long period of setting, drying and sanding. Once we’d decided on our colour palette of white, black and dusky pink, we selected her freckled range and applied it to a variety of bespoke pieces. We had 4 huge wall panels made, 2 display plinths, numerous trays, pots, dishes and dowels for our peg board.
What are you most looking forward to seeing now the shop is up and running? What are your highlight pieces?
I can't wait to see all the shelves full of products! I enjoyed working with Katie to create bespoke display systems, so I’m really looking forward to seeing how the London team curate their displays.
Tell us about the team who worked on the fit out.
We worked with numerous contractors; Fatleaf on the fit-out and build, Blaire, a London-based tiler, Adalec on the electrics and Tom Reed, a furniture maker.
Recommend your top three spots in Shoreditch with ace interiors and good vibes.
The Culpepper, Labour and Wait, Monologue, and Blues Kitchen is a lot of fun! Aesop too - they always create great interiors with good vibes.
If Papersmiths were a person, how would you describe them?
They have great taste!
What was your route into interior architecture?
I studied Interior Design at university and particularly enjoyed the more structural side of things, I then went onto Visual Merchandising. This job brought me to Bristol and commercial interiors, and I love it!
Name an artwork or piece of design that you love. Why do you love it so?
My friend, KFL, painted her own bum and sat on canvas. It's so great.
Or - David Hockney, 'A Bigger Splash’
What’s next for B?
We have a few hospitality projects in the initial phases and are putting together a proposal for what could be our biggest project yet.
And finally, B is for?
Thank you Jess!