Alice Made This is firmly and proudly rooted in South East London. With our studio based just off Nunhead Green, we have seen the area develop into a leafy, friendly and hugely creative community, thriving in its own space in the capital. Sharing our love for the area, the South East Makers Club, a new design district spanning the 24th and 25th September for the final weekend of the London Design Festival, celebrates the innovative work and pioneering projects coming out of South East London. We caught up with the team behind the collective to learn more about the events on offer and why they felt it was important to showcase our neighbourhood.
We might be biased, but South East London is wonderful. Just far enough from the heart of London to preserve a village vibe, but still close enough to prosper from its energy and forward thinking mentality, our studio operates from between craft beer joy (thank you Beer Shop London) and green open spaces. The Bussey Building is sort after by creatives from all over the capital and Frank’s is one of the most talked about rooftop bars in the city, allowing you to enjoy the best views of London from the warm and inviting hub of the district we call home.
But don’t just take our word for it…
New to the London Design Festival this year, the South East Makers Club was founded by four creatives dedicated to representing the design work being produced in their (and our) local area - Jodi Moss, Helen Osgerby, Lucy James and Benji Roebuck. Jodi is the PR Manager at Zetteler, a creative PR agency headed up by Sabine Zetteler with clients ranging from established independent brands and individuals to innovative start-ups and designers just off the launch pad, all united by the fact that they have ideas worth sharing and products worth shouting about. Helen owns Simple Shape, an online store selling British and Irish handmade, crafted, beautifully designed homewares, and Lucy is the PR and Marketing Manager at SCP, while also organising the Shoreditch Design Triangle. Last but not least, Benji is a Graphic Designer first and foremost, but also art directs the South East London Journal.
Taking place during the last weekend of the festival, the South East Makers Club will be hosting exhibitions, workshops, a makers market, pub quiz and even its very own disco. But why this year - and why the South East?
“Our car broke down on Brockley Road in 1999 and we’ve been here ever since,” Helen tells me. “There are great people here (I’m sure Goldsmiths University has something to do with it - people come to the South East to do creative degree course and then stick around!), there’s a wonderful sense of community and lots of green spaces. I love it.”
“The idea for South East Makers Club came about shortly after I launched Simple Shape a little over a year ago and has been fermenting ever since!” she continues. “I had always intended to source the Simple Shape collection from the UK & Ireland but found that I was finding brilliantly designed, carefully made pieces right on my doorstep in South East London. It really dawned on me what an incredible incubator of design talent this pocket of London is, and yet how under represented it is on the wider design map, and the London Design Festival seemed like the perfect opportunity to begin changing that. It was over lunch, just 4 months ago, with Jodi and Lucy that the idea crystallised into a bonkers ambitious plan. Benji came on board as designer and we were off!”
“I knew I wanted to be involved as soon as Helen planted the seed in my brain”, Jodi adds. “There are so many great studios, makers and designers living and working in South East London and it was just all too frustrating that this particular area wasn't being championed as a destination during LDF. After our first few meetings it became very apparent what we needed to do.”
As is so often the case, an idea over lunch evolves rapidly and becomes so much bigger than its starting point – gaining momentum and developing into something exciting and important. The South East Makers Club has done just that. Sebastian Cox, Yeshen Venema, Jono Smart, Luke Eastop, Eleanor Lakelin, Catarina Riccabona and Leah Jensen are just some of the makers involved, exhibiting their work and sharing an insight into their processes to make this new district a must-see this LDF.
“There is such a strong creative scene in South East London, which until now has been largely overlooked”, Lucy agrees. “I've lived in Forest Hill for six years now and have seen the area evolve massively in this time. When Helen and Jodi proposed the idea to me, I immediately jumped at the chance to get involved. The last few months have been a real eye opener for me. I love discovering these incredibly talented designers and makers who are literally on my doorstep. I moved here just before the Overground line opened and, back then, the whole area was a bit of a hidden gem. I was drawn in by the green space and community feel. I've always felt that Forest Hill is like a village within a city. I love the fact that I know the shop keepers, local business owners and creative type who live here.”
“One of the reasons that Polly and Jessica, the founders of the South East London Journal set the magazine up”, Benji adds, “is because they’d seen a lot of publications that were produced out of, or covered, things going on in East London in particular; yet South East London had relatively few publications, despite the masses of stuff going on here. I think that’s very true of the Makers Club too — there are so many interesting and creative individuals, groups, collectives etc. working in the area, yet it doesn’t have its own representation within London Design Festival. There’s the Shoreditch Design Triangle, Brixton has its own design district — yet the comparatively large SE area doesn’t — at least not formally, which is something we’re working on!”