Feature on Creative – Meet Lance & Paul from Glass Garden

I first saw a Glass Garden on my instagram feed… it was love at first sight!  I wanted to know… Who made these? Where could I get them? Will they stock The Ruby Orchard?! I soon found out and placed an order!

When I shared these new products with you last month you seemed to love them too!

What a pleasure to liaise with and work with the guys from Glass Garden.  They have been so informative, efficient, organised and as of today Glass Gardens are exclusively available to buy at The Ruby orchard, and we are the only stockist in the Midlands!

I love sharing our creative and local suppliers with you, and giving you a glimpse behind the business.  I asked Lance & Paul to answer some questions for us… read on to find out how this business started, what inspires these guys and their hopes and dreams for the products.

1// How did your business begin? When / where / how did it all start?
As our business is a collaborative partnership, we’re going to be talking in the ‘we’, as what we now call Glass Garden would not be without our two vastly differing but compatible approaches to the trade. In early 2013 an old friend and I got together to brainstorm an elaborately wild product aimed at hotels and restaurants. Our individual styles, ways of thinking and approach to building objects complimented one another. Although we scrapped that original project and many more in its wake, we were confident that our partnership was one which would yield truly beautiful objects. At the start of 2015 we solidified our partnership and officially opened our workshop and hired and trained our first employee.

2// Why do you do what you do?
We are both driven by a passion to create, to channel this energy using our hands and minds in the forms of design and manufacture of objects which hold intrinsic value and beauty. We try to work in the realm of this quote from Albert Einstein “Everything should be as simple as possible and no simpler”. The ethos of Glass Garden is similar to this phrase in that we are driven to build objects which are not cluttered and overcomplicated, but rather inspire beauty in their simplicity.

3// When you were younger what did you want to be when you grew up?!
I can only answer for myself on this question, and can confidently say that I always wanted to be an entrepreneur like my father. In what realm this business existed did not matter and my dreams of building something from the ground up are still strong with me today. We’re not quite grown up yet so these ideas are still free to flow as they will!

4// What inspires you when designing new products?
We believe that all creative thought is a process of innovation, and that holds true for design too. Creativity is the spark which combines multiple existing ideas and births something truly unique. So we’re always initially inspired by the work of another, which is then churned around and digested in our minds and we come back to the table some time later and begin sketching and discussion. What inspires us to take these ideas in word and on paper to a real physical product lies simply in our passion to build objects.

5// What are your hopes and dreams for your products?
Primarily we hope that people find pleasure in our craft, and that the items we make hold true to our ethos. We have big dreams for the future of the design label and are constantly improving and growing our offering in small steps to reach our goals. Our dream is to offer a range of different products over a few categories, have a space to showcase these objects and invite people in to experience the workshop and our traditional craft techniques. These goals will undoubtedly change, but ultimately we want to build a brand on the values of handmade authenticity and high quality.

6// What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learnt so far in your business journey?
One of many that hold high value for us is to not wait until the product is ‘perfect’ before releasing it. We believe in taking first prototypes to market as soon as possible to gather feedback from customers. As a producer you assume your customer will see certain benefits in your product, and this can be so wrong initially that taking a first prototype to market can save you priceless time and energy in perfecting something that nobody wants! For anyone creating a ‘new’ product, this approach is essential to reducing your research and development burden in time, money and patience. Thankfully we learnt this lesson early.

7// Why should our customers buy your products?
Haha! Our products are not essential to the function of your life, just like the coloured clothes in your wardrobe or the spices in your kitchen; you could survive without these flavours of life. Yet we all chose to surround ourselves with objects in which we see value. What we firmly believe in at Glass Garden is that what we actually ‘see’ in objects is a reflection of our own value. It should be for this reason only that you want one of our products, because in it is reflected the creative potential of humankind, or simply put, because they are beautiful.

8// About you? What’s your – Top Song? Top Food? Top beverage? Top Place? Top movie?
This is difficult for 2 people to answer! Similar to our work, our tastes and influences vary significantly, however, we usually have ambient electronic music on while working, most certainly eat a lot of food and enjoy a Black Label after those horrendously hot Durban summer days. We both surf and appreciate early mornings down by the beachfront, with a host of ‘top places’ from the CBD to inspiring Glenwood niches and hidden treasures throughout the city.

9// And lastly, imagine you are heading out for dinner with a bunch of creative geniuses – who would be sitting around the table with you?
We’re inspired by many Italian and Japanese designers, from Nendo to the Bouroullec Brothers, and would love to have a mixture of the two at our table. Creative design may be the spark in the business, but it isn’t complete without proper management, logistics, woah and so many other essential functions we could list them to infinity! It is in this area we too would like to sit with pioneers of our time and to pick their brains on the thought processes to successfully taking an idea to realising a final product of labour.

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