Josh Kay and Jamie White graduated from BA (Hons) Graphic Design in 2014. Working under the moniker of The Syrup Room, the pair have designed everything from bikes with pyrotechnics, to trendy East London bars.
For their latest trick, they partnered with local business, THAT Group, and BA (Hons) Interior Architecture and Design students to build Bournemouth’s Christmas ice rink.
START WITH SCRAP (AND NEON)
JOSH: After graduation, we started buying and selling antiques to make a quick buck. We travelled around the country buying and selling old neon because it was something we could find. Sometimes we’d make really good money on it, sometimes we made nothing, but it was always a great adventure.
JAMIE: We started in scrap yards so we could literally buy things for nothing. Like two or three pounds, because that’s all we had. We knew we could get money out of it, but it wasn’t really our thing.
JOSH: Yeah, we wanted to be designing the items not just flogging them.
BE PEOPLE PEOPLE
JOSH: We are always interested in what other people are doing. We always try to be as nice to people as we can and go above and beyond to try and help someone out. Our friend Jimmy Summers, who is a great local builder/designer-type, designed all the [Ice Rink’s] exterior.
We helped build it and got asked to take on the interior. We had a bit of fun with it, turning stuff that could have been really lame into some crazy, cool stuff . Everyone was open to the creative side of stuff .
NEVER SAY NO
JOSH: If someone says, ‘Can you do this?’ we never say no. We say we probably can or we can find someone that can. We’re the biggest blaggers of all. With a lot of stuff, we go back to Ed [AUB Workshop technician].
When we were asked to do the project, we spoke to Ed and asked for some advice. He said it sounded like a mad production and asked if we wanted any of the Interior Architecture and Design students to get involved.
HIT THE DEADLINE
JOSH: The students were great at concept and design, but they’ve never really built [on this scale]. We let them loose with it, which was pretty awesome. I think they learnt a hell of a lot in a really short space of time. They learnt what it’s like to do something on a deadline, where if you don’t deliver, there are problems.
The number one thing is, it always happens. If there’s a deadline and something has got to be done, it always happens. It doesn’t matter if you have a relaxed first couple of weeks, the rest of it is going to be mental. Time management is definitely a good thing to learn.
SEE THINGS DIFFERENTLY
JOSH: When applying graphics to a wall, it looks really simple because you see it everywhere, but how do you get the vinyls cut? There’s no such thing as a big printer you can put on a wall. So you boot up a projector, project straight onto the wall and start painting it.
JAMIE: I suppose what we’re doing is still graphic design, to a certain extent. It’s just a slightly different process.
JOSH: It’s physical graphic design. Instead of printing out letters on paper, we’re painting letters onto a six metre wall. We’re both really dyslexic, so we look at things very differently.
GIVE SOMETHING BACK
JOSH: The end goal is to have a design studio that makes money, but for that to fund cool projects we can do with communities. I’d love to have a space where people can come and be inspired. If students want to get out of the university [they can come here] and spend half a day in a new design space where real work is going on.
There’s more to life than just making a product and making a shit-tonne of money. Make money and put that into something spectacular. It doesn’t matter if something doesn’t make money, if you can do something that’s helping people, that’s better than anything.