30th July 2020

Craft / Featured / Rhys Jones

Made by Rhys: An Original Interview with Some Good Ideas

21 7 mins 3

If you have ever been to The Good Life Experience you’ve probably lent on, jumped off, taken a photo of and cheers’d a drink over one of Rhys’ creations. He designed and installed the Boathouse at The Lake, the whiskey barrels dotted around the Campfire Cooking Stage and the huge TGLE yellow letters. More recently, Rhys has been part of the team that has helped transform the Hawarden Estate Farm Shop. We chat to him about design, his process and good ideas.

Some Good Ideas: How would you describe what you do?

Rhys Jones: I’m principally a Graphic Designer, however more recently my practice has been exploring creative direction and installation which I’m thoroughly enjoying as it allows me to get out of the studio and engage in some really hands-on projects.

SGI: What inspires your work?

RJ: For me, a big inspiration is the opportunity to experiment with different materials and new ideas about how to do things – especially when this leads to collaboration. I enjoy working with a range of processes to develop solutions that engage their audience and work sympathetically within their environments.

SGI: What do you love about design?

RJ: I love spaces that are created for people to come together. It’s so important to be able to able to find creative spaces to brighten your day and escape the mundane. People can get lost in good design and even though they may not notice every element it improves the whole atmosphere. Whether that’s for one weekend a year at TGLE, whenever they come to the Farm Shop for a coffee, or even to escape to the highlands, every detail informs the overall experience to make the customer or guest feel good.

SGI: How collaborative is your work?

RJ: My work for The Good Life Society is always collaborative in some shape or form. I’ve worked on really diverse projects from 7ft supersized type to naturally dyed fabric banners, so it’s good to be able to share skills and experiment with new processes – which is always the case for The Good Life Experience. It’s a creative community that thrives off a small team coming together to create an amazing weekend.

Recently, I’ve been working with Sarah Hellen (Creative Director of the Hawarden Estate Experience) who is infectiously passionate and a joy to work with. She’s introduced me to a range of new creatives through her ongoing work with the lockdown 50/50 project, which we’ve utilised in the work I’ve been doing at the Farm Shop. We commissioned Amy Swann to produce a dried flower installation above the deli and I have worked with Sarah to help curate the eclectic mix of amazing design that cohesively ties into the space.

SGI: You have played a key role in the design and relaunch of Hawarden Estate Farm Shop; can you tell us about the development of your ideas and how you came to the end result?

RJ: Yes of course! As is the new norm, myself, Charlie and Sarah were on a zoom call discussing the notion of ‘bringing the outside in’ for the Farm Shop. Most of the product revolves around the idea of fresh seasonal goodness and obviously the great outdoors, which is what we based our concepts on.

I think the most dramatic change is the window installation we created, which was a happy accident of lockdown. As I was working remotely, Sarah was sending me images to work from and there was one that really stood out to me. The architecture of the building created abstractly playful shards of light that danced across the old wooden beams, which inspired me to research light installations – where I came across Daniel Buren’s exhibition at the Baltic (2014).

We chose dichroic films for the windows as they have a dynamic spectrum of colour that changes based on the viewing angle. This allows the colours to change with the weather and position of the sun, creating an ever-changing installation of pattern and is an immersive experience. It looks so good on a bright sunny day and equally interesting in the rain – it brings whole space to life and makes you look up.

SGI: Can you tell us about the latest project you’re working on with Xanthe Gladstone, Director of Food and Food Sustainability at The Good Life Society?

RJ: Recently I’ve been working with Xanthe on a campaign to launch her crop called FRESH & WILD. This originated from a conversation at TGLE last year to develop signage for the Vegetable Garden at Glen Dye Cabins and Cottages and has since developed as she has split her time between Scotland and Wales growing her own produce as a new supplier for the Hawarden Estate.

Working with Xanthe, I developed a range of assets which centre around a series of playful illustrations, a bold colour palette and strong typography to create a fresh and youthful tone of voice. It was really important to reflect Xanthe’s interests within this development, we spoke a lot about her work on transparency and sustainable food systems and subsequently created a range of vegetable stickers for her produce that promotes her advocacy of sustainability and provenance.

Our original plan to shoot this in Scotland wasn’t possible under the lockdown guidelines, so we had to adapt and shoot this in Hawarden on a tight schedule with the help of Kinvara, one of The Good Life Society designers, who stepped in to help me pull everything together. I can’t wait to launch this fully and see her produce filtering into the Farm Shop and available for guests during their stay at Glen Dye.

SGI: Are you currently working on any personal projects?

RJ: Yes, another success of lockdown. During my undergrad, I took part in a brief called ‘There’s more to life than Graphic Design’ in which I was encouraged to explore something unrelated to printed matter. I spent two weeks in the ceramics studios exploring different materials and processes and recently uncovered some moulds I created for concrete succulent planters. I’ve had a lot of fun playing with different pigments and techniques throughout lockdown, each one is hand poured and leads to a totally unique result every time – which is part of my fascination with the process. It’s quite therapeutic and links to what you spoke to Standard Practice about on their importance to engage with craft.

This is still experimental at this stage but I’ve had some interest from a couple of independent stockists so I might release a batch or two over the coming months.

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Rhys Jones (Made by Rhys) is a graphic designer working in creative direction and installation. He worked on many special projects for The Good Life Society. He uses typography, scale and colour to inform his practice.

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