Born: 1980, London
Born: 1981, London
What are your backgrounds and how did you get into design?
We both travelled – as well as lived – in various countries/cultures growing up we see that experience as important in creating that impulse to identify and carve out a dedicated culture to operate within. We met in Bristol in 2000 and immediately started to develop our thought process and the ideas we were interested in then.
How was OK-RM founded?
As a collaborative practice. OK is Oliver Knight, RM is Rory McGrath, OK-RM is Oliver Knight and Rory McGrath.
Could you describe the design philosophy of your company?
We are actually attempting to begin writing our philosophy but for now and in the case of this interview a short adaptation is required:
Pursue originality. Our integrity is our guidance.
Do you have a specific creating process? How do you normally take on new projects?
We react with inquisitiveness to every potential new opportunity only taking on projects that we feel will offer us new or interesting challenges and conditions. Each project always starts with building relationships through conversation and investigation toward a relevant idea. We avoid exploring the formal possibilities until we feel an idea has a clear method. If the idea cannot be described concisely then chances are its not a good idea.
What drives you to create, and how do you stay motivated over time?
The belief (that to be realised) good concepts need appropriately good ideas.
How do you keep a good life/work balance?
We like to think of work and life as on in the same, studio-based activity could be seen as one large aspect of our work.
What are your influences and how does it affect your work?
A big melting pot of influences. We often feel we are suspended somewhere between blunt conceptual art from the 60’s and 70’s and the philosophies of the Arts and Crafts Movement. These contribute to our understanding of the world, open our mind to new ideas and help us to interpret our discipline in our way.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
We tend to drift toward the philosophy that work and labour are different – in which we consider work an inspirational, open-ended exercise and labour as industrial graft. Therefore ‘outside of work’ there is only labour which, coincidentally, we also enjoy for its industrial nature.
In your personal opinion – what’s the current status of London as a design city?
Its a broad question to evaluate the current status of any creative discipline in London – within that broadness we tend to think London is what you make it, its scale allows the possibility for anyone to find their place and identity. Its speed of change and turnover of resources makes it difficult to evaluate anything carefully before the next takes over, but we experience a healthy balance in our own and related disciplines. Therefore the current status must be positive; at least in general!
Tell us something important you have learned.
The concept and idea are different. The former implies a general direction while the latter is the component. Ideas implement the concept.
— Sol Le Witt
If you had to choose a different profession, what would it be?
We were recently described as being akin to watchmakers by Danish artist Thomas Poulsen … Perhaps this would have been an interesting alternative path.
What’s in the future for OK-RM?
Alongside a range of exciting applied projects we have just started an imprint called ‘In Other Words’ which creates books as collectable objects, working in close collaboration with artists. The first book is ‘One Language Traveller’ by FOS we look forward to the next.
View all of OK–RM’s work