If you visit Tala Studios you’re guaranteed to see Dan Carpenter’s influence. Our recently promoted Designer is involved in almost every creative project in the studio – from product design and lighting installations, to material testing and ad hoc handy man tasks.
We dragged Dan away from his design duties to catch up on his two years at Tala.
What’s your role at Tala and how long have you been here?
Think you’ve covered this one in the title 😉
So you’re one of the original members of the Tala Team. How has Tala changed since you joined nearly 2 years ago?
Two years, how time has flown! My beginnings were in our former studio, a humble and dynamic space behind Broadway Market.
Tala quickly outgrew this space and last year moved to a larger building. The expansion was an exciting time for the design department, converting the ex-industrial building into our dream workspace, showroom, prototyping workshop, and testing facility.
What were you up to before Tala?
Life before Tala. For me, it began in the sleepy Midlands. From age 15 I enjoyed and endured a multitude of part-time work; bars, restaurants, warehouses, farms. Pocket money was the goal. Life lessons and sobering British humour were the result.
My family encouraged creativity and school solidified my interests into a career path. Before studying, I took a design job with a fair trade toy company, a hands-on role designing new products in the UK and a month-long visit to develop and prototype ideas with the Sri Lankan supply chain.
Prior to Tala I worked with Object Studio, which is a close-knit team of craftsmen who push material boundaries to produce cutting edge furniture and sculpture. This was where I honed my skills testing processes and controlling materials.
What were you like as a kid and how did your childhood influence your career choice?
From what I remember and what family photos show was that my childhood was mostly spent outdoors or in my dad’s workshop. This was a place of fascination for me as a kid and has been providing my family with slightly wonky, homemade Christmas presents ever since I could wield a chisel.
What has been your most enjoyable project at Tala so far?
It has to be one of our new products, which is due out later this year. It involved experimenting with an incredible material and working to reduce the material impact of a product which is usually made from plastic.
Tell us the most challenging aspect of your role and how you overcome the hurdles?
Picking my battles. Deciding which design elements we must fight to preserve and when to accept compromise.
How has our in-house workshop and engineering lab impacted your workflow?
It’s an essential tool that has allowed us to test and experiment with concepts during their early stages. This is so important during the development of a product. Everything looks and feels different in 3D.
Who is your favourite designer, and why? I bet you have a handful!
– Rachel Whiteread (Abstracting the ordinary with her impressive castings)
– Paul Cocksedge (Drilling giant holes in the ground to create unique stone core furniture)
– Ray Emes (Her graphic artwork style in the 1940s has influenced furniture and product advertising)
– Alexander Calder (I love those mobiles)
Some quick fire questions for you
Tell us what you get up to in your spare time.
I like to get away at the weekends as often as I can, Airbnb hopping my way around the UK. Galleries, parks, and pubs are where you’ll find me when I stay local to London.
If you could only take 3 products away with you on a weekend away, what items would you take?
– My bike
– A good book
Favourite city break?
Little Georgia on Goldsmiths Row, Hackney.