Spotlight on… Studio You&i

We spoke to Studio You&I, founded by Gianluca Mingolla and Felix Bell, who have been part of the Festival since 2013 to find out more about their involvement and what they’re most looking forward to during the Festival.

Who is Studio You&i and where did the name come from?
You &i – is a multidisciplinary design studio. We started with a simple idea, to create a brand which collaborates alongside specialised makers and craftspeople in and around Manchester.

Small businesses are the backbone of this city, cultivating an iconic culture and unique atmosphere. As our portfolio develops, we provide these like-minded entrepreneurs with tailored design packages including; bespoke joinery, interior design and project management. Collaborating together, client and designer, You &i.

How are you involved with MIF?
As graduates from the Manchester School of Artwe have been involved with the festival for many years, as students in 2013 and now in collaboration with the School of Art as external tutors, industry professionals and furniture fabricators for Festival Square alongside M3 Industries.

For MIF19, we were asked to work alongside current students to interrogate and develop their design concepts which were pitched to MIF in early April. We’re now working with the MIF Festival Square team to tie these elements together; from repurposing chairs made for previous festivals, to selecting perfect shades of yellow and creating 3D visuals of the two Glass Houses. We’ll be on site coordinating volunteers, students and other fabricators throughout the Festival Square build. And once it’s open to the public, we’ll be enjoying a pizza and a pint leaning against our very own tables!

Can you tell us about your practice?
We work with local makers and craftspeople, combining their talent with our knowledge of design and fabrication to create completely custom products, furniture and interiors.

What’s your favourite thing about Festival Square?
By far the glass house terrace. Apart from the fact it’s a great spot to really admire the square on a clear summers day. It was the very first live project we worked on together as aspirational designers during unit x where we were fortunate to have the opportunity to design and produce the outdoor furniture. Through this project, we were able to meet several manufacturers and suppliers such as 24 Design and Ferrious Ltd which lead to employment and long lasting friendships.

What else are you working on?
We’re currently in the process of developing a collection of products with the intention to be released by the end of the year. We are also working on several commercial interior projects. We’re designing a series of beauty salons to be rolled out throughout Topshop stores across the UK. Also, a Barbers in Manchester city centre with our close friend – Design, Make, Install.

What are you most looking forward to in the MIF19 programme?
Idris Elba & Kwame Kwei-Armah’s TREE and Skepta’s DYSTOPIA987

Follow their journey to Festival Square here:

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