In celebration of our unique international retailers, each month we will be introducing you to the people behind the stores and giving you the opportunity to find out what makes them tick…
SCP was founded in 1985 by Sheridan Coakley and since its opening, this leading design store has stocked a refined selection of furniture and lifestyle items, carefully selected by Sheridan himself. It also has a reputation for working with the best British designers to produce and manufacture innovative and modernist pieces of contemporary furniture. Throughout its 27-year history, SCP has helped launch designers such as Terence Woodgate, Tom Dixon and Matthew Hilton onto the international stage.
Continue reading for our exclusive interview with SCP founder, Sheridan Coakley…
YOU FOUNDED SCP IN 1985, WHAT WERE YOUR MOTIVES TO DO THIS?
"I was buying and selling vintage furniture and objects which was great fun in those days, going to auctions and traveling to Paris flea markets. But as much as I loved all the classics, I was interested in making some decent modern furniture - contemporary design in the '80's was pretty awful and mainly Italian. So I started working with Matthew Hilton and Jasper Morrison. I met Matthew at the opening of my space in Curtain Road in 1985 and Jasper used to sell me second-hand decorative arts books while he was at the RCA."
SCP HAS TWO PHYSICAL STORE LOCATIONS IN LONDON, WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE TO OPEN SCP IN THOSE AREAS?
"I used to have my first tubular steel designs by Jasper Morrison and Matthew Hilton made by a small workshop in Rivington Street in Shoreditch. They were one of the last furniture manufacturers in what was once the furniture-making area of London. Shoreditch was deserted and cheap and had wonderful spaces. I opened in Westbourne Grove because I used to live and have my vintage store there and liked the area."
WHAT IS THE OVERALL OUTSTANDING CONCEPT BEHIND SCP?
"To make and sell good, well-made design using sensible materials at the right price and if possible made in the UK."
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST INFLUENCE IN YOUR SCP’S JOURNEY SO FAR?
"Avoiding being a company whose sole purpose is to “create” a brand, have an exit strategy and then usually go bust through greed."
HOW DO YOU THINK THE FUTURE OF BRITISH DESIGN AND MANUFACTURE IS GOING TO CHANGE WITHIN THE NEXT FEW YEARS?
"There is a willingness and positive interest in British-made products, which is about time. We have all become rather obsessed with cheapness rather than quality and we will happily ignore the truth about where, how and what CO2 went into something. Rather than quality, longevity and source."
"Hopefully more designers will have the confidence to take on small production themselves. And on a larger scale, what's left of the UK trades, textiles, china production, engineering etc will take this on and collaborate with creative entrepreneurs and produce well made, responsible products both for the growing UK market and abroad."
SCP IS HIGHLY REGARDED IN THE UK AND INTERNATIONALLY FOR PRODUCING INNOVATIVE CONTEMPORARY DESIGN, IN ADDITION TO BEING CONSIDERED AS ONE OF LONDON’S FINEST DESIGN STORES. WHAT DO YOU LOOK FOR IN A NEW BRAND OR PRODUCT?
"All the usual things one wants consciously and unconsciously - aesthetically pleasing, functional, honest use materials and sold at the right price."
WHAT IS YOUR KEY PIECE THIS SEASON?
"So hard to know, we are starting to realise that over the last year or so our materials, making processes and the way our designs are thinking are ending up like a Neo Arts & Crafts movement."
MANY PEOPLE LOOK UP TO SCP AS BOTH A MANUFACTURER AND DESIGN STORE, WHAT WOULD BE YOUR ADVICE FOR ANY OTHER PEOPLE WANTING TO START UP THEIR OWN INDEPENDENT STORE?
"Only make and sell things you like and hopefully other people will like them too. Don't be too ambitious, in other words don't borrow too much or get in partners who just want profits. Let it develop organically and don't have an exit strategy."
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR TYPICAL CUSTOMER? * "Of course I want to say we don't have a typical customer, which is true but to stereotype - under 40, male or female, in a creative profession."*
WHERE DO YOU SHOP BESIDES SCP?
"Anywhere that has clothes that fit. Local and independent, if possible such as YMC."
What is the last piece of clothing you bought?
"Dave's Surplus Store in NY - their own brand T-shirts."
CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR PERSONAL STYLE?
"Slightly shambolic with a hint of utility."
THERE IS A VERY STRICT DESIGN EYE IN SCP WITH THE PRODUCTS STOCKED AND MANUFACTURED, DO YOU HAVE THE SAME DESIGN INFLUENCE IN YOUR OWN HOME?
"I try not to be OCD about it - however the better looking and functional things are leads to a happier existence, so I do try."
WHICH BOOK / MAGAZINES DO YOU HAVE ON YOUR BEDSIDE TABLE CURRENTLY?
"Just Kids by Patti Smith"
WHERE IS YOUR FAVOURITE PART OF LONDON AND WHY?
"Shoreditch, where else?"
WHERE IS YOUR ULTIMATE LONDON HANGOUT?
*"To eat, Rivington Bar and Grill"
If you only had one day in London, what would you do?
"Get on a cruise boat at Westminster (preferably one with a bar) down the Thames to Greenwich, walk through the pedestrian tunnel under the Thames to the Isle of Dogs and back (just because you can), then up to the Observatory and have a picnic overlooking London. On the boat back, get off at the Tate Modern, walk over the footbridge up through the city to have supper at St Johns."
When is your best time of day?
We are now doing ‘TuniformWares’ (a song influenced by our daily life) what is your tuniformWares today?
[Mississippi by Bob Dylan(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X03PyJcDYtA)
For more information on SCP visit their website.
We would also like to thank Sheridan and the team from SCP who kindly lent us some of the SCP 2012 collection for our recent photoshoot. This included pieces from the new Welland collection by Ineke Hans and the Cricket collection by Kay + Stemmer, see some of the images from the shoot below.