We asked British furniture manufacturer Very Good & Proper’s company director Ed Carpenter to share his childhood, one guilty pleasure and his thoughts on pushing for sustainability as a designer.
What is your personal design style?
I believe in keeping things simple, useful, beautifully made and true to their materials with a sense of playfulness.
What is your fondest memory as a child?
Heading out with my father for a late summer swim in the sea after school. Living in Devon meant we could get to the beach in about 20 minutes. During the late summer evenings, they were almost always empty, which was extremely special.
Of these four elements, what inspires you the most and why: the sky, the ocean, the mountains or the animals?
It’s a tough one as I love the mountains, but I’ve got to give it to the ocean. It was such a big part of my life when I was growing up in Devon in southwest England. I feel a deep connection to it.
What is one cause you will fight for and why?
Tackling the environmental changes caused collectively by all of us is worth fighting for. As designers, we are responsible for bringing new products into the world, which, on the face of it, doesn’t help at all. However, we can help by designing products from environmentally-friendly materials that are built to last, and to address the full life cycle of a product.
What’s one thing you’ve always wanted to try but have never summoned the courage to do so?
I’m not much of an adrenaline junkie, but I do love the idea of paragliding. Watching paragliders glide gracefully down the side of a mountain last year made me think about how it must be the closest a human can get to flying. I’m sure we all dream about this.
Which room in the house do you spend the most time in and why?
I’d say the kitchen because I love to cook and find it the most sociable and creative part of the house. I also love my kitchen gadgets!
What is your guilty pleasure?
Cheeseburgers. During the lockdown in the UK, I spent many an hour trying to perfect them.
What is one style that you hate and never want to see again?
I know it’s having a bit of a revival, but I’m not a fan of postmodernism. It’s fun and I can appreciate the thought behind it– but it’s not quite my cup of tea.
What is one movie that you have watched more than once?
The Good, The Bad And The Ugly. I love the soundtrack by Ennio Morricone and the cinematography is amazing. I never tire of watching it.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received?
‘Measure twice, cut once’. It has become our company tagline!
What is one thing you have had to learn the hard way?
As a designer, making mistakes is part and parcel of learning. Fear of failure can hold you back from jumping in. In my experience, it’s often more the failures than the successes that shape and define your business and who you are as a designer.
What would you have as your last meal on earth?
I’d probably go for a high-quality, medium-rare ribeye steak served with a simple green salad and rosemary roasted potatoes.