Morag Myerscough and BAUX – The Bright Future of Wellbeing
In May 2023, ‘BAUX – The Bright Future of Wellbeing’, a travelling exhibition of student work and Acoustic Lounge, came to London for Clerkenwell Design Week.
BAUX commissioned British Designer and Artist Morag Myerscough to work on a design for the installation’s exterior. Morag was approached for her use of colour and often leaning toward geometrics within her work. Morag’s installations and immersive spatial artworks are intended to transform places and champion community and public interaction. This ethos of intentional engagement and visual statements mirrored the aims of BAUX in bringing people together and creating a dramatic structure at a festival recognised for a strong sense of community and creativity.
Morag was given BAUX Wood Wool tiles in all nine shapes to play with and was invited to work with custom colours. Eventually settling on eight custom colours and two from the standard range, a bright and adventurous colour scheme and interplay of shape saw perhaps the most ambitious use of BAUX to date, with the installation becoming a highlight of CDW2023.
BAUX spoke to Morag Myerscough about her work, inspiration, and use of colour.
Where did you study, and did you always want to be an artist and designer?
I studied foundation and BA at St Martin’s School of Art (Now Central St Martins) and MA at the Royal College of Art. In 2019 I was made an Honorary Fellow University Arts London (UAL CSM) and in 2023 an Honorary Doctor at Royal College of Art. My father was a Viola player and my mother a textile artist. My Father wanted us (I have two sisters), to follow an academic path but they did let us choose for ourselves and from a very young age I made, made, made and our house was full of making, music and conversation. At the age of 17 I decided I wanted to go to art school and so I applied and got in.
Much of your work features bold use of colour – is this a necessary part of your creativity? Do you ever create work that isn’t colourful?
I have always loved colour and, as mentioned before, was always surrounded by it, so I had a very good understanding of colour from a very early age. The nuances between natural dried colours and artificial and so on. Colour and materials are central to my work. I often use black and white but steer clear of grey and beige unless it is a natural material. My work is often very colourful on the outside and on the inside, celebrating the natural materials.
When you were invited to create a design for BAUX, what aspects of the products enabled you to get creative and if you could modify or add to the collection, what would you do?
I love the sustainability of the product and I believe we really must consider all the materials we use to limit more damage to our planet. The Baux product has a great texture which gives the colour depth when it is applied to it. I managed to express myself totally with the colours and shapes given to me and so I don’t feel a need to add to it.
What were your thoughts on the final installation, revealed at Clerkenwell, having not seen the colours and shapes you had specified, in situ, until then?
It appeared exactly as I had specified, which is always a great result. I was very happy to see that the colours were rich and deep.
Do you have a preferred place to work – for example, a studio or outdoor space?
I now have a studio with a view of trees and flowers and the seasons – that makes me happy. I also have several spaces to work outside when it is not raining. I like also being on site. During installations, it is important for me to see a project from start to finish.
What is your favourite piece of clothing?
I go through phases. The jumper I wore at the opening ’Sottsass’ by Lafetiche – I loved Memphis in the day and worked with Michele De Lucchi (one of Memphis) in Milan1990 just when Memphis had disbanded, and so whenever I wear it, it brings back great memories.
What is your favourite colour?
I am ALWAYS asked about my favourite colour and I try not to have favourites to be loyal to all of them. Each colour gives me something different and combined they make something different again. I like playing with multiple colours and seeing how they react together. But I have for a very long time, loved neon colours, and incorporate them into my work (my suns), especially neon yellow. Now the weather is warmer my favourite shirt is a neon shirt by Serena Bute, I wore it under the jumper on the opening of the BAUX installation. I often take photos of my suitcases to see how my clothes’ colours connect with my work. It was very apparent with the Baux project!
What music do you most like listening to?
I have a very mixed music listening and depends on what mood I am in. I was brought up with classical and modern British composers and from tiny, I went to concerts. I can’t play an instrument, but my father always said I had a good ear. Now I live with Luke Morgan, artist, and lead vocals of his band The Highliners and love the energy – seeing his band live always makes me smile loads.