Australian-born designer Marc is the main man behind Slowdown Studio, the LA based label that creates limited edition woven cotton blankets.
The studio champions the creative endeavours of artists the world over. Painters, illustrators, design studios - Marc collaborates with those making work that he finds fresh, original and eye-catching. He sets no specific brief, allowing the artist to create unique, one-off designs true to their individual style. Atelier Bingo, Jonathan Niclaus, Marleigh Culver and Chaz Bear (of Toro y Moi and Company Studio) are some of our favourites, to but name a few.
We’re suckers for a bold print and playful pattern, so naturally we love the sunny colour palette, organic shapes, foliage and cut-out collage aesthetic to the collections. The hand-drawn style, with the little imperfections, mirror the nature of their creation - each is carefully woven in North Carolina with 100% cotton.
They’re oh so soft, and also incredibly versatile. Take along on a seaside stroll, a countryside picnic, or hang on your wall. Having recently launched towels and art prints, rugs and ceramics are on the cards soon. Just imagine a whole room decorated in Slowdown style! Well, we may be in for a treat. Let’s get cosy and find out all about Marc’s dream collaborations, his love of pink and his Japanese stationery recommendations.
Hello Marc. Tell us all about how Slowdown Studio came to be.
I’d worked in clothing for years, but as my age started ticking well into my thirties I started getting really interested in homewares. I’d worked with dozens of artists over the years on various projects and labels, so one day I reached out to a few people I knew to design some blankets for us. Slowdown was born from there.
Is there anything in particular you look out for when discovering new artists, illustrators or designers to collaborate with? How do you go about briefing them?
I think we have a fairly recognisable aesthetic, even though everything we produce is designed by a different artist. I guess the main characteristic of our artist’s work is that everything is pretty loose with a hand-drawn or cut-out feel, so I’d say that’s something I seek out when looking for new artists. But beyond that I try to curate collections with a variety of styles, colour and subject matter. Working with new artists that push the boundaries of what we’ve done before is really exciting. As for briefing them, generally I just select a few of my favourite works of theirs and just say ‘something like this!’.
This year, you’re doing things slightly differently and releasing 12 one-off designs from a competition you launched last year. Did you get any eccentric or surprising entries? How did you decide on the winning entries, and do you have any personal favourites?
I think the most surprising thing was that there were so many entries. We originally intended on having one winner, but when we received over 3000 entries we decided to choose 12 winners, which we’re releasing one by one each month over the year. I made a shortlist of about 100 entries, then painstakingly whittled them down to 20. And then from there it was all about making sure there was plenty of variety in the winning 12 as a collection. I love so many of the entries and the winning artworks, but the one that’s currently featured on my couch is Andrea Gomez’s winning entry (our March Throw). It’s such a simple but classic graphic. And the pink is perfect.
What’s your dream collaboration?
I’d love to work with some boutique hotels, curating the art and textiles for their interiors. Right now we just add a little splash to a room, but I’d love to see a whole space in the Slowdown style.
Your studio looks like such a fresh space to work in. Tell us about it’s renovation. What are your favourite objects in here? (We spy Group Partner!)
It was a garage that the previous owner used as his welding studio. It’s very old, there was a prohibition sign from the 1920s that was being used as part of the roof structure! It was a mess but with some beautiful structure, including these wooden roof beams and old steel casement windows. So we kept all the charm but cleaned it up with white walls and ceiling with a new concrete floor.
Some of my favourite objects are a little step light by The Granite, an Eike Koenig print, a Daniel Fletcher screen print, some OM Ceramics pots and yes of course everyone has to own a Group Partner boob pot.
It’s pretty nippy over here in the UK (pardon the pun). What’s the ideal scenario for enjoying a Slowdown throw? Set the scene for us…
I love seeing people using them as wall hangings, but you can’t beat curling up on the couch next to the fire or heater snuggled underneath a Slowdown blanket.
You recently took a trip to Japan. What were your highlights of the trip? Can you share some must-see spots for our stationery / design loving readers?
Tokyo is my favourite city in the world, so there’s plenty of highlights. I ate four meals a day over there, so most of them involve food, but in terms of stationery and design, your first stop should be to pick up the Hello Sandwich Tokyo Guide - http://www.hellosandwich.jp/hello-sandwich-tokyo-guide/ Tokyo is a stationery wonderland, so be sure to check out Tokyu Hands or Sekaido for all kinds of art supplies. Daikanyama T-site is one of the best book stores in the world, not to mention a beautiful building. And while you’re in Daikanyama wander down the river at Nakameguro and check out Cow Books, they have some really great rare art books. But above all, I just loved hopping on a bicycle and exploring all the neighbourhoods mentioned in the Hello Sandwich guide. You can take in so much design inspiration just from getting lost in all the back streets.
Thank you Marc.