London-born interiors brand Buster + Punch is making a real splash on the international design scene with its daring lighting, furniture and hardware designs. Founder and designer, Massimo Buster Minale, spoke to Hospitality Interiors about why this exciting brand, and British design as a whole, is worth watching …
What do you feel sets British design apart within the international design scene and how do you feel British design is perceived internationally?
For me modern British design has always struggled a little with its identity on the international scene. It has always been based around individuals as opposed to a collective movement.
The last time the world sat up and listened to Britain were the great Britpop bands and fashion designers of the 80s, from Oasis to Paul Smith, who all followed the same set of rules which resonated in a ‘loud bang’ that shook the world.
The emerging British design talent of today is very diverse and individual, a bunch of solo artists as opposed to bands if you like. Lee Broom is very different to Michael Anastassiades, but they all have one thing in common and that is a passion for craftsmanship with a slice of eccentricity. The world knows that British design is always well tailored with a smile.
Here at Buster + Punch, we are trying to build a very ‘London’ brand that has a strong international identity. By creating beautifully crafted products that also tap into the universal passions of music, fashion and even motorcycles, we are trying to capture the imaginations of not only those design lovers that read Elle Deco, but also the everyman that listens to Oasis, wears Paul Smith or loves riding his motorbike.
Although Buster + Punch is a very British brand, the majority of our followers are found in the States, Australasia and the Nordics and we are seeing just as much interest from the music and fashion press as we are the Interiors press, which is very exciting for a young British furniture and lighting company!
Why do you feel it’s important to support British manufacturing and product design?
British manufacturing and product design has by and large been kept alive by relatively small independent companies. In a world where the great retail powerhouses such as Walmart and Tescos are suffocating the choice out of the consumer, it is more important than ever to get behind our rising British stars. It is vital to keep fresh blood pumping through the system to ensure everyone’s living rooms don’t start looking the same.
How do you envisage that the British design scene will evolve in coming years?
British design is already being invigorated by the cross-pollination of its industries and this will evolve even further over the coming years. We will see more musicians designing clothes, fashion designers making furniture and mechanics creating jewellery. This will ensure that the British design scene prospers as you start to get young fashion bloggers talking about lighting and motorcycle lovers reading about homewares.
Is there a particular British designer that has inspired you in your work?
I have always loved to make custom motorcycles and these constantly inspire our products. The biggest influence on my work has been that of a great British motorcycle builder called Benny Thomas (Boneshaker Choppers) who builds beautiful machines, where most of the detailing is hidden to the naked eye. I love the concept of something made with so much love that you only ever see a small percentage of its beauty. For me this is British craftsmanship at its best!
Which up-and-coming British designers should we look out for in the coming months?
I am going to cheat a bit here and say the team at Buster + Punch! As we are only a few years old we are certainly still up-and-coming. In the next few months we are planning a series of exciting product launches that will hopefully start to change and challenge the landscape of British product design, as we plan to launch everything from a re-design of the light switch to our first venture into fashion with a calf-leather biker boot!