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Poppy Lane and Scott Gibson

Studio Visit

We are so SO incredibly inspired by these two hardworking local legends. Poppy Lane and Scott Gibson are Pop & Scott, partners in life and business, parents to daughter Frida, and the driving force behind the Pop&Scott workshop.

Poppy and Scott’s latest project, in collaboration with more than 15 other local creatives, is a brand new retail showroom adjacent to their busy Northcote studio. It opens this month!

22nd May, 2015
Lucy Feagins
Friday 22nd May 2015

I first met Poppy Lane when she was working as a freelance florist back in around 2010. She was always a joyful, smiley people person, and an incredibly hard worker, but nothing could have foreshadowed the incredible success she would find just a couple of year later, first, unexpectedly, with a simple collection of painted plant pots, and soon afterwards, with a range of timber swings and furniture designed in collaboration with her partner Scott. It’s clear these guys make a pretty awesome team.

In 2012, Poppy and Scott founded Pop & Scott, their collaborative workshop space in Northcote. At heart, the space was kitted out as a timber workshop where Scott could make furniture, and where Poppy could paint her insanely popular plant pots, and base her floral studio. Along the way, Poppy and Scott quickly gathered a likeminded community of other local makers to share their space.

18 months ago, the warehouse next door became vacant. Never known to shy away from a challenge, Poppy and Scott jumped at the chance to expand their business… and after initially entertaining the idea of creating more studios, it soon became clear that this new space presented a unique opportunity. Poppy and Scott joined forces with the talented creatives sharing their studio, and decided to turn this new space into an impressive retail showroom, showcasing the work of all their clever creative friends and studio buddies.

Pop & Scott’s new showroom opens for the first time next weekend, May 30th and 31st!  The space showcases an incredible array of locally crafted furniture, homewares and artwork, including ceramics and lighting by Anchor Ceramics and Amy Leeworthy, furniture by Cenzo Design, Sime Nugent, Pono Furniture, 2nd Chance Tables and of course Pop & Scott, bespoke aprons by Carpenter’s Daughter, handpainted bedlinen by The Vallentine Project, Pampa Rugs, artwork and photography by Lisa Sorgini, Jessica Tremp and Bobby + Tide, and New Complexity guitars.  Realising this new space has been an incredible feat and a truly collaborative effort – we can’t WAIT to see what comes next from this dynamic team.

Pop & Scott NEW showroom!
27 Hayes St, Northcote 3070

First Open Weekend on May 30th and 31stm 10am – 3pm, with Royal Road Coffee and Taco Truck treats!

Ongoing opening hours (After May 30th)
Tuesday – Saturdays 10am – 6pm, Sundays 11am – 3pm.

Tell us a little about your backgrounds – how did you meet and what were you both doing before you launched Pop & Scott?

We met at a dodgy bar in Prahran after Scotty had been drinking rum on a tall ship all day. I just sat down on the bench next to him and we started talking. At some point I commented on how I liked his teeth and he thought it was a setup because that was his pick up line!

Before we started Pop & Scott, I was working full-time as a freelance florist, Scotty as a trained plumber, and previous to that Scotty had worked in the skate industry in event and team managment. We both spent time working on the Vans Warped Tour in the States, we travelled the US and Mexico which was a big inspiration. Back home we started making furniture in the shed for ourselves. We’re both pretty hands on, and it was all learning by doing, just out of necessity.

I always had an obsession with interiors and furniture, finding pieces I loved, restoring them and imagining what my own pieces would look like. Scotty has a very practical mind and is really good at working out the way something should be constructed and how to bring a design to life.

What motivated you to both to combine your practices and launch your own range of products and furniture, while setting up the Pop & Scott collaborative workspace in Northcote in 2012? What were your original intentions for the business, did you ever anticipate that the range would become as popular as it has?

Originally we were just making furniture for ourselves but then thought that there might be a niche for the product we were making. The recycled furniture market was booming, but it tended to have a very rustic look or a more industrial vibe. Our aesthetic was more about wanting to use beautiful, recycled timbers in refined designs, with smooth finishes and simple clean lines. Things we wanted in our home. So the business really just happened quite organically.

Our dream was always to bring together like-minded creative people in a relaxed and collaborative environment. A space dedicated to those who appreciate beautifully designed, handmade products as much as we do, somewhere we felt we all would be inspired by each others’ ideas and learn from each others’ skills, where we would make things happen we believed in.

How would you describe each of your individual styles, and how do you combine them for Pop & Scott aesthetic?

Scott – The majority of the design ideas tend to come from Pops, as she is constantly excited and always dreaming up beautiful ideas. Pops will describe her ideas and as we discuss it between ourselves or with the team we start the process of translating those ideas into functional pieces. My strength being in building and construction and Pops in conceptualising, we work really well together. This makes it hard to describe individual styles though, as they sort of fuse in the making.

Poppy – Our aesthetic is bold and confident, often using circles and curved lines. We both love Australian timber and the fact that it comes from our nearest environment. We like to keep it as natural as possible. Our furniture could be described as classic with a modern edge. We think about how it feels and how it’s being used in context. It’s natural and unpolished, quite alive and naïve in a way, which is perhaps part of the charm of an untrained eye.

Poppy, as the queen of the painted pot, we have to ask how did your insanely popular handpainted pots come about?

It’s something I’ve done since childhood with my mum. It was my mum’s form of spring cleaning the garden. I painted some for the workshop with no intention of selling them. When The Design Files did their first feature on us in 2012, Lucy asked me to make them for TDF Open House, and before I knew it, I became the pot lady. We never expected to be full-time pot dealers.

Beyond running your day-to-day furniture, floristry and homewares business, you both also run one of Melbourne’s most creative hubs – the Pop & Scott workshop, a studio filled with lots of local makers and an event space. What have been one or two recent highlights in running this collaborative studio?

Our latest achievement has been curating the showroom, seeing our team and all the makers in the space come together and work so hard to help us bring this vision to life.

We’re especially proud of our latest product, ‘The Dreamer’ couch, and finally getting to laze around and watch a movie on it was definitely a highlight!

Later this month you will be opening the Pop & Scott showroom, can you tell us a little bit about this project and what we can expect from it? How long has it been in the pipeline for and who has been involved?

About 18 months ago we took over the former clothing manufacturer’s space next door to our workshop, and considered turning it into more studios. Instead we decided a showroom would be a more exciting project! It made sense to create a retail space inspired by all the creative people who share the workshop. So we renovated and painted, and using everyone’s skills at Pop & Scott this space came together.

Our unique dry stack sand stone counter created by resident stone mason and sculptor Steve (Den Holm) is the centre piece, complemented by a mass of ‘Potter lights’ by Bruce (Anchor Ceramics). We wanted to give customers a feel for all the furniture and objects, and how they might work together.

The vision evolved from endless discussions with Bruce (Anchor Ceramics) on Saturday afternoons, while he was working on ceramics or glazes. I started throwing concepts at him, testing ideas. He’s such a great sounding board. He gave me guidance. It helps you articulate your own idea more clearly, discussing it with others you respect. It gives you confidence. Speaking to all these incredible people around us to exchange ideas with definitely shapes our view on things. Everyone becomes part of the vision.

Can you give us a little insight into the inner workings of your business – how is your studio structured, how many people do you employ, do you outsource any significant tasks?

We’ve recently moved the pot painting into a dedicated studio up the road, so the painters are in a cleaner, quieter space. This has created a dedicated furniture making space, which was needed, so the guys don’t have to tiptoe around the pots. Currently Scotty, Vince and Alzee are making all of Pop & Scott’s furniture. Our eight residents’ studios are located all around the workshop. We have an incredible team of people, Julia our studio manager who is organising so much behind the scenes and all the amazing painters Mazzy, Joom, Ruth, Pablo, Amy and Bobby, who is also our in-house photographer and often looks after our little girl Frida. We have a manufacturer we work with to make our pots, but they are all hand painted by our artists in the paint studio. All furniture and homewares are made in house.

What does a typical day at work involve for you?

Generally it starts with a coffee at 7.30am around the pot belly and a morning discussion with Chris (2nd Chance Tables), it’s a ritual. Winter is our favourite time of the year, when we can all stand around the fire together. The rest of day involves juggling baby and business. Making sure everyone knows what to do for the day, what needs to be painted or built.

This usually involves talking to Julia about what’s going on while changing a nappy. A good day sees us talking about design ideas and working on putting them together. Lunch with the whole crew and everyone who is in the studio is an important part of the day. We always have fun lunchtime discussions and aside from good food it keeps everyone close and up to date with what’s happening. We often end the day with a skate boarding session outside, and a glass of vino.

Which other Australian designers, artists or creative people are you loving at the moment?

1. Minnie Pwerle. She was the main inspiration for one of our new designs, our ‘Pearl’ hand painted pot is a tribute to her. We love her work.

2. Tim Ross and Kit Warhurst. Being fans of Boyd and all things modernist, we really love what these guys are doing with Man About the House. Rosso and Kit are old friends of Scotty’s and we saw their show once at the Walsh Street House which was a great experience.

3. Nell Pearson. She is one of our favourite emerging artists. She uses strong bold colour with such confidence and has the unusual ability to create such beautiful balance using really unconventional combinations, especially in her more recent abstract work, she just nails it. She has a really impressive eye and we can’t wait to see where she takes us next.

What is your proudest career achievement to date?

Little moments of realisation make us proud when everything comes together and you pinch yourself with excitement. It’s not one achievement or milestone.

What would be your dream creative project?

To be doing up our own home, a big renovation, and filling it with furniture and art. Also, having our own big old boat and turning it into a floating home away from home, which has always been a dream.

What are you looking forward to?

Lunch, we’re starving. Also, is it too early for a drink?

MELBOURNE QUESTIONS

Your favourite Melbourne neighbourhood and why?

Collingwood, it’s just good.

What and where was the best meal you recently had in Melbourne?

Having a child means we hardly ever go out, so we’re the worst people to ask about the dining scene. We’re usually so tired by 5 or 6 that we just want to get home and make a lamb roast or something delicious. So that would be our best meal recently!

Where would we find you on a typical Saturday morning?

We’re usually in the workshop on Saturdays but if we get a chance we love having breakfast at Cibi.

Melbourne’s best kept secret?

We really want to know too!

The new Pop & Scott showroom in Northcote. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

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