The Creative Campaign | Keep London Creative x Pressed and Folded

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Malissa Brown of Pressed and Folded in her Hackney Wick-based studio

If there’s anyone that loves a good snoop of a studio, it’s me and when I heard about The Peninsulist’s ‘Keep London Creative‘ campaign, I had a pretty strong idea of who I wanted to get involved. Enter, Pressed and Folded – a Hackney Wick-based design studio producing cards, wrapping paper and prints incorporating both pattern and traditional illustration.

Launched in 2016, Pressed and Folded features original designs by James and Malissa Brown. Since discovering the design duo a fair while ago online, I’ve been carefully following their pattern progress and slowly adding cards to my collection (note: only very special people ever receive them). Their designs respectively reflect their careers in textiles and illustration and while both very different in style, the ying and yang nature of their designs works well, offering a little bit of love to every taste.

Based in Bridget Riley Studios, a charity-owned studio space in Hackney Wick, the pair have created a studio that works for them both as individuals. James is an illustrator and printmaker in his own right, producing linocuts and screen prints as well as his latest book ‘A World of Information‘, while Malissa’s background as a textile designer has heavily influenced the artwork for Pressed and Folded. Seriously, I want all of her patterns on wallpaper, clothing, plant pots – the lot. Split into two sections, there’s an area for both parties to work either digitally or organically while keeping one eye out the large windows on the industrial London view. Every part of Pressed & Folded comes from organically creating a collage or linocut, meaning space is vital for the pair to create.

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The ‘office’ area of the studio with previous designs providing inspiration

Affordable studio space can be hard to come by in London and with creativity contributing so much to our economy, it seems silly that designers and makers are constantly having to fight for their right to cheap space or looked-after areas. Those lucky enough to have a place to call home tend to be constantly under threat of redevelopment or hiked rents. A lot of love also tends to go into the interiors of these spaces from said creatives, yet landlords largely ignore the upkeep of communal areas.

Nevertheless, creatives crack on and Pressed and Folded do indeed have a wonderful place to call work, with plenty of natural light, interesting flooring and a bunch of inspiration pinned to their walls. I spent the morning with Malissa (while James was out preparing for London Design Festival) and we chatted about all things studio, with James adding some input at a later date. If you’d like to know more and get involved in the Keep London Creative campaign, just keep on scrolling, all the details are at the bottom of this post.

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Shelving sorting office featuring the entire Pressed and Folded portfolio

Firstly, can you tell me how you found your studio space?
James: I was subletting a studio in Greenwich through Space Studios for a few years and when the agreement came to an end in 2002 Space offered me an available studio in Bridget Riley Studios, so I took it. I was here for about 6 months and then got a job and sublet it for a few years until returning in 2007 and upgrading to this bigger studio we are both in now.
And, what made you choose this area?
James: As I said before, I came here because of the studio not the area. When I first moved here in 2002 I had no idea where I was. I don’t think I had every set foot in Hackney Wick before that. There wasn’t much here, a greasy spoon ‘The Island Cafe’ for lunch and that’s it. Boy, has it changed since those early days!

What do you both enjoy most about coming to work?

The commute is pretty good for a start! Walking through the Olympic Park, which is beautiful all year round, then along the canal to our Hackney Wick studio.

Every day is different, there’s always something new to work on, whether it be designing, fulfilling orders, printing or researching new ideas. 

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The ‘print’ side of the studio with James’ print collection in print drawers

As creative people, what are the benefits of being in London?
We are lucky to live and work in a such a diverse and vibrant city. We work in an area that is surrounded by other creatives, which is always interesting and ever-changing.
How do you think London benefits from creative industries such as yours?
Hackney Wick is (or was) such an interesting area, full of creatives doing their own thing and pursuing careers that are born out of passion. There is a great feeling of community.

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Glorious Hackey Wick Industrial Views from the studio

What challenges do you face as a creative professional in London?

We are extremely lucky here in Bridget Riley Studios because we have space! Space Studios who are the landlords are a charity that provides affordable space for creatives. That is the main challenge in London, affordable space, we are lucky enough to have that at the moment.
How do you think that will change over the next few years?
Maybe our studios won’t be here for much longer, we hope we’re wrong but everything seems to be being demolished around us and flats shooting up at an alarming rate.
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Malissa at work in the studio, next to a letterpress for upcoming designs. Don’t forget to join the Keep London Creative campaign! 

So there you have it, a little studio tour and some interesting opinions from two creatives in the thick of a regeneration area. A city of hope, opportunity, and creativity; London attracts the best talent from across the world and is a launch pad for innovation. Contributing billions to our economy as well as enriching our lives, it’s vital to ensure that we #keeplondoncreative.

Join the Keep London Creative campaign by posting a portrait of you in your studio or your studio space on Instagram. Include the hashtag #KeepLondonCreative and tag @ThePeninsulist and @wallpapermag before September 25th for the chance to be featured on Wallpaper* online.

DISCLAIMER: This post came from a paid collaboraton on Instagram but I was under no obligation to post on my blog – I just love both Pressed and Folded and the campaign, so do support it!

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