Meet Tim Mutton, the Creative Shepherd of the Blacksheep Studio ⇒ Unique, luxurious and rather rebellious would be the adjectives we’d use to describe Blacksheep’s work. Leading what it is one of the world’s most prominent interior design studios of the moment, Tim sat down with us for a rather unfiltered exclusive interview, in which we spoke a wee bit of about… everything.
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Recognising he was ‘’one of those kids in school that didn’t perform particularly well’’, Tim quickly found a job at the age of 17, working in a kitchen. Starting from loading the dishwasher and ending up behind the bar, he found something he loves: serving people. For the moment, it was everything he wanted to do. Even though Tim was happy, his father wasn’t particularly pleased with his son’s current occupation. Hence, an ultimatum. His father, a former military man, said his son had three choices: going to college, getting an apprenticeship or joining the army. Thinking about his future in bartending, He got himself into art and design and he found his true talent. A professor once even told him that he had the talent, he just needed to focus. Those simple, yet marking words made Tim realize that his future was indeed bright.
“It was the first time anyone said anything kind of remotely positive and I certainly realized I was in a different community, in a creative community. I finished the course in the second year, got a distinction, got the highest mark and it just really went from there.’’
In a way, this was Tim, a true black sheep whose biggest satisfaction was to prove someone wrong. We get it, nothing’s more satisfying than achieving something that someone said it was beyond our reach. Tim characterises the studio with having the rebellious attitude that was imported from his own life. He did give an example of when this attitude was indeed applied, a fashion brand project for some clients famous to be, let’s say, complicated. ”Don’t work for them, they’ll never pay you, your project won’t be a success and it won’t last anything more than three years” were some of the words Tim heard, but he did it anyway. The result? A huge success, he got paid and it lasted over six years.
‘’Blacksheep is a bit like that. I guess most creative people have the sense of having to prove themselves constantly. Most artists are driven by that.’’
For Blacksheep, every project has to be different. For Tim, every project, either it is with a new or returning client, has to be a new book that tells a new tale. A design tale, per se. Tim never repeats himself. Like a true novelist, he doesn’t care for similarities, nor ‘’stylistically sad’’, as he perceives. In his mind, similarities are created to chase after success, thus it represents what one wants to become. But, according to Tim, one should embrace uniqueness. ‘’It’s ok to be different.’’ He concluded.
‘’I spent a lot of time (in his youth) trying to desperately fit in. And I think sometimes design is a bit like that. Sometimes you can try and create similarities because you see something that’s successful and if you get a bit of that, making you look like that, and maybe some of that success will come to you. I don’t want to do that.’’
When we asked him about the process that the studio has for planning a project, Tim answered the easiest way possible: it’s the project that drives itself. It’s a rigorous process that allows the designer to give the client some assurances. Sometimes designers aren’t as clear with their end visions as they should be with their clients. He has a four-step process that he calls the four D’s: Delve, Dream, Draw and Deliver. For Tim, Delve is the most important one, as it makes sure that the designer’s vision gets understood.
“Sometimes designers are not very clear. I have this process, we call it the four ”D’s”, which is Delve, Dream, Draw and Deliver. The most important one is the delve. The delve is making sure that the intelligence behind, the interior designer’s perspective gets understood.”
As for Blacksheep’s identity, Tim has always regarded the studio as special in what it does. In his opinion, they’re always reinventing themselves. They spent time discussing where do they need to go as a studio and what kind of projects suits them best. From a Cinema Club in Kuwait to a Chocolate Wafer brand in Dubai, and even a Cooking library for Hyundai in Seoul. For Tim, the challenge is mandatory. Not falling into the paradigm of the normal, the dull, the already made. A constant reinvention is required ever and ever again. The creation of the new normal.
‘’I like that challenge. Learning how to be a leading brand and not a following up brand. Creating a new normal instead of doing the normal.’’
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