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Paul Smith on being “childlike”

British designer Paul Smith was recently interviewed by Monocle on Design about his recent collaboration with BMW and Mini. If you like Mini cars, you’ll probably like the episode. But he also raises two interesting points about his business and about how he approaches design.

The first is that his business is a balancing act. In the front, he wants it to be pioneering, flashy, and self-indulgent. But in the back, he keeps the lights on by selling lots of navy blue suits and polo shirts. Both are important, because if you stop pioneering then you stop being relevant.

The second point he makes is about how he approaches design. Paul Smith’s London studio is famously cluttered. He likes to collect a lot of stuff. Some might call it hoarding. But for him, the space helps him think laterally and also remain “childlike.” (Where we work apparently matters.)

Children, as we know, are honest, curious, and free in a way that adults aren’t. They don’t have the same reference points and that can be very empowering. Forget the way that things are currently done and challenge yourself: “What if?” I like that a lot.

To listen to the Monocle on Design episode, click here.

Photo by Boris YUE on Unsplash

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