GREG PAPOVE — Interview

Greg Papove, Vancouver-based designer and founder of Studio Medium.

Hello Greg how are you?

Hi! I am well thank you.

Can you introduce yourself?

I am a designer from Vancouver, British Columbia, a city with a reputation for its beautiful scenery and no fun policies. I studied at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in the Netherlands and at Emily Carr University in Vancouver. I am now CEO and designer at Studio Medium.

Where does your interest in design come from?

I have always been interested in making things and solving problems. I also have a strong interest in art, and design is a nice balance between artist creation and problem solving. My interest in design comes from being curious about many different things, from processes and materials to the way things look and function. I am inquisitive in most things I do in general.

I have been skateboarding for most of my life, which has certainly had an impact on how I see the world. I am constantly looking at ways how public venues can be repurposed to suit a different need and I think that has influenced how I look at a lot of things. Sometimes something’s purpose isn’t explicit, but can encourage intuitive use and that is something I like to explore in my work.

How did you come to start up the studio?

I decided to start Studio Medium as a way to work with others and produce work under a different name. I was enjoying working on self-directed projects, but found it weird to produce the work under my own name. I felt more comfortable with the idea of a studio to produce work under, and I think that working as a studio lends itself to more versatility in terms of the work I do.

I founded Studio Medium and as things unfold, my girlfriend Claire became a partner in the studio. I have always found it helpful to work with a partner, someone to bounce ideas off is very valuable and since Claire was essentially providing that role it seemed fitting to make it official. Formally trained as a graphic designer, she takes care of everything 2D and much of our “PR” related stuff, while also being a collaborator in the design process.

The studio also provides a platform for collaboration. I look forward to work with other artists and designers to produce products and objects under Studio Medium. The studio is now the umbrella that allows us to explore a variety of different projects.

Can you tell us more about your Halo project?

The Halo lamp was a formal exploration, it doesn’t really have a conceptual element like most of my other work. The project started with a trip to the metal recycler. I had some free time and went looking for materials to work with. I found some interesting pieces and played around with them until I found a form I liked, then refined the proportions and sourced new similar materials that could be used in production. There was no initial sketch or idea, just sculptural exploration.

What are the key features of your design?

This question is a bit trickier for me as I’m obviously not an objective viewer of my own work, and each project is such a different experience… but I guess the overarching feature of my work is that it evokes a sense of fun and lightheartedness. I hope that is what people take from it.

What was the idea behind the ABK Table?

There were a few different ideas flying around with this project, but the main idea came about because Claire and I needed a coffee table. Being a somewhat messy person, I decided to create a table which would help me to keep our living room tidy and in-turn to keep Claire – a somewhat tidy person – happy. I was introduced to a form of organization called Knolling, which consequently leads to the ABK table. Knolling is the process of arranging related objects in parallel or 90 degree angles as a method of organization. The coffee table encourages the user to take care in the placement of objects. The nesting corner allows the user to tuck books, magazines and other objects in a tidy stack in-line with the right-angular form of the table, creating the basis for other items to be organized in this style. The table has also a slot where less aesthetically pleasing items such as remotes or less attractive publications can be accessible without adding any visual clutter, which follows another principal of Knolling in which items that are not frequently required do not need to be out on the surface.

Is there any designer you appreciate a lot?

There are many of course, but I really appreciate the work of Matthew Sullivan of AQQ. His work is beautiful and uniquely familiar. He also maintains a tumblr that provides an amazing resource of mostly scanned imagery which is refreshing as so many design blogs are focused on showing projects that are brand new.

I also really appreciate the work of Bertjan Pot. His work is very unique and often begins with simple curiosity which results in something technical and beautiful, but always fun. His work shows a quality that I interpret as a reflection of his enjoyment in the process of creating the work. He seems to be exploring and enjoying, which I think is very important and something I hope to achieve in my work.

I also appreciate the work of Harmen de Hoop. His simple interventions in public spaces are really nice.

Which books are on your bedside table?

Tim and Eric’s Zone Theory.
How to Talk to Your Cat: And Get Them to do What You Want.

The last word…

Don’t force the party.




Interview: Dennis Moya & Tiffany Baehler — 08.15

Images ©Greg Papove.