designjunction ✕ O.W. London
O.W. London is a luxury British homeware brand with a focus on bold, graphic design and vibrant colour. We caught up with founder Olivia Weinberg to discuss challenges the industry faces, what motivates her and more.
- Why O.W. London?
It’s tough choosing a brand name and for me, it took months of deliberation. I knew I didn’t want to use my full name but I’ve always been interested in typography and the way letters look and feel on a page. I was after something simple, but bold and my two initials side-by-side just seemed to work. It wasn’t until we started playing around with the branding and design that everything fell into place.
- What does design mean to you?
Design to me is about creativity and innovation. It’s about bringing ideas to life in whatever way that might be – it’s about making things tangible, it’s about problem solving, it’s about collaboration. If you can find that dissection between creativity and innovation…you’re onto something!
- Where do you work the best?
I’m a traditionalist – I like to work at my desk in total silence…though usually I find myself surrounded by a mess of paperwork, samples, colour swatches, odd bits of fabrics, you name it…
- What motivates you?
Creating functional, beautiful products that I know people can use everyday is what really motivates me. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing designs on paper come to life, taking on a whole new persona before they reach the consumer and hopefully put a smile on their face. That never gets old.
- What does O.W. London bring to the design world that other brands don’t?
O.W. London is not about breaking boundaries or making the world a better place. It’s about bold, simple design. We strive to make everyday tableware a little more interesting…and a little more colourful – but we try not to take ourselves too seriously. We love pattern and print, we love clean lines and we love to make products that last.
- What is the biggest challenge facing the design industry?
I think we need to continue to push British made products. It’s something we’re passionate about at O.W. London but it comes with challenges and makes us less competitive with our pricing, which is tough in such a saturated industry. It’s becoming increasingly important to support our homegrown manufacturers particularly in the heart of the potteries where families have been producing fine bone china for generations. If we don’t invest in them, the craft will quite simply die out.
- What’s the most important lesson you’ve learnt so far in your career?
I’ve learnt that nothing worth pursuing is easy – and nothing happens overnight. If you really want to achieve something, and be the very best you can…it’s a long term game. I’m impatient and desperate for things to happen quickly but it just doesn’t work like that. Relationships take time to build, products take time to develop and brands need space to evolve. What’s important, is to keep up the momentum and stay positive – you never know what’s around the corner.
- What’s the one piece of advice you would give to someone starting out in the industry?
Never give up. It sounds like such a cliche but it’s so true. Persistence goes a very long way – keep sending those emails, keep picking up the phone and meet with as many people as possible in person. It’s amazing how much more you can get out of a face-to-face meeting as opposed to hiding behind an email.
- What do you wish you’d designed?
The Smeg Fridge – simple lines, delicious colours…
- If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?
I’m a journalist too – I write about fine art, so i’d be doing a lot more of that…
- What’s your biggest weakness?
I tend to look at the glass half empty. I dwell on the things that are going wrong and feel the weight of bad news far more significantly than the excitement of good news. It’s a trait i’m constantly trying to work on as negative vibes can be very unhelpful…particularly at the early stages of building a brand.
- Why designjunction?
designjunction showcases the very best of design from around the world. It blends old and new, creativity and commerce. I think the real question…is why not?
Quick fire questions
- Traditional or contemporary?
Definitely a combination of the two – my favourite designs and designers integrate both
- Instagram or Twitter?
Instagram – I’m all about the visual!
- Sketchbook or computer?
- Form or function?
- Early bird or night owl?
Night owl, I’m no good in the mornings
- Favourite design product?
Carlo Moretti glasses
- Best spot in London?
Alfies Antique market
- Best place to get away?
- Best restaurant?
The Wolseley – by far the most beautiful interior space in London!
- Best hotel?
Claridge’s – it’s timeless and effortlessly elegant