Today on Creators and GoodThin.gs we got a chance to catch up with London Based Designer and Tinkerer Abdul Lawal, Founder of BR-WKSP
For those that are unfamiliar, tell us who you are?
My name is Abdul Lawal, I was born in Ibadan, Nigeria, where I grew up briefly before moving to England. I'm currently studying product design at London Southbank University. I make a lot of things in my spare time, which led me to start Br_wksp A.K.A. Bedroom workshop. It’s essentially a platform to formally document some of the nicer things I’ve made in my bedroom and share them with the world.
What GoodThin.gs do you Create?
I work a lot with footwear, either making it or making something from it- whether that's taking cues from its design or tearing it apart for materials. Some of the more interesting items so far include a textile rendition of the winged victory of Samothrace from Air Force scraps and recycled leather, Patchwork slides from recycled leather, A Bonsai planter from an air force 1 sole, an air force 1 inspired round planter, and a vapormax lamp from a repurposed air unit.
Tell me about how BR-WKSP came to fruition and how has the exploration of product in that space been?
My friends and I were reaching that age where you start to move away from home or at least start thinking about it. It became painfully obvious a lot of the homeware on the market wasn't aimed at us or our interests. A lot of my ideas were conceived largely in response to this. I started Br_wksp shortly after to provide a space to formally present these ideas to the world.
Exploring these products has given me a chance to develop and learn new skills, intellectual as well as practical. There's a lot of potential for cross-pollination here which probably wouldn't have been apparent to me otherwise. Applying traditional footwear making techniques to homeware for example. It feels to me sometimes like there are intangible barriers dictated by common practice, which keeps certain fields separate. I'm learning to float between these barriers through my work, and draw insights from different fields - exciting ideas can usually be found at the intersections.
Your products evolve the ideas of lifestyle, sport and sustainability, what stories do you hope to narrate through your product offerings?
I guess the planters could be considered a visual representation of the potential for sustainability in the footwear industry. Anyone who has purchased one will have noticed a card in their order with the title "Frame of reference". In short, this refers to how all products exist within a certain context or frame. My aim is simply to consider these products outside of that context. By doing so, finding new ways to reuse their parts going forward.
How has the brand response been thus far and what can we expect to see next?
The response so far has been great, people really seem to resonate with the product. Every once in a while I get tagged in a post or story or get sent a dm and see how people are making use of their purchase. It honestly makes my day.
I've been finding new ways to make the products more sustainable for the future. I'm hoping to release the bonsai planters very soon along with some lighting I've been working on and then furniture in 2021. I can't wait for people to see what Br_Wksp has in store.
Introducing Creators and their GoodThin.gs - a series brought to you by Calling All Creators, highlighting creators and the good products they make and share with the world.