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George + Willy’s World

George and Willy - simple, functional, timeless objects // New Zealand to the world // interview by Studio Home

As a design brand; George and Willy are fine ambassadors of everyday, simplistic and functional products. But as people, they are an inspiring, modern representation of what the NZ “can-do” attitude looks like in 2000’s. They design things that they need and that their friends need. Things that are detailed only to the degree that allows them to do the best job. There is no fussiness, over design or frivolity – just items that help make our everyday life better.

I have followed Will McCallum and George Wilkins from the very get go. Interviewing them, collecting their products and, to be totally honest, presenting them as shining example of brands “doing it right” to my small business workshops. There is an honest integrity to what they design but also to how they share it. They literally live and breath the lifestyle that their products are made for and it shows.
Big brands pay big bucks in an effort to communicate the same to a much lesser effect….that stuff is just not for sale.

Above you’ll spot their latest offering – the Hanging Drying Rack. The genius of putting their own spin on this traditional product and releasing it to “us” is awesome. A massively functional item, I have only ever seen them in back country huts or the homes of ski friends who have peer pressured someone else to make one!
Remember – heat rises!

The rack falls into long line of products and furniture that are recognisable but fully rejuvenated by the GW team. Their now iconic release of the Studio Roller (followed by the Daily Roller) went so insane on Pinterest that link followers from the USA were ending up at MY site (following my post) and requesting I send over 8!! The viral success of the rollers pushed them to offer international shipping from the get go.

I’m proud that we get to call these guys our own and I’m excited for their future.
I took a little time to check in and spin a few curly questions their way to see what else we might learn about them as designers, business owners and Kiwi’s.

Read on below.

George and Willy - simple, functional, timeless objects // New Zealand to the world // interview by Studio Home George and Willy - simple, functional, timeless objects // New Zealand to the world // interview by Studio Home George and Willy - simple, functional, timeless objects // New Zealand to the world // interview by Studio Home

From left: George Wilkins and Will McCallum
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In an alternate universe where you met, made a few fun things together while at Uni then graduated with no inkling to continue this particular “making” business, where and what do you guys think you would be doing?

Will: If I didn’t do G&W, I imagine I would still be making something – possibly small batch chilli sauce? Or something like that. I get my satisfaction from producing physical things which people buy and get stoked on. I also would love to do a building apprenticeship and have always been keen on architecture as well.
I don’t think I could be working on something you can’t touch.

George: When I was 10 or so I had to write this thing at school saying what I would want to do. I wrote that I would live on a high country farm in the South Island with an airstrip a helicopter, an aeroplane, a jet boat and a big engineering workshop. When I was younger my grandfather had jet boats and I was obsessed with them, I made remote control jet boats and read everything I could about the Hamilton Jet, which was invented on a high country farm in the South Island, so I think that is where the idea came from.
In an alternate universe I would be doing that.

George and Willy - simple, functional, timeless objects // New Zealand to the world // interview by Studio Home George and Willy - simple, functional, timeless objects // New Zealand to the world // interview by Studio Home

Paint a picture of what a visitor might be greeted with on entering
the G+W HQ?

Will: The George & Willy headquarters is a big blue shed in a dead end. We have no sign but tell people to look out for the basketball hoop outside. George, Will, Alice, Sam, Sam Jarred & Louie will be here from 7:30 til 4:30 week days, pumping out product and working on new projects. Everything in the workshop has a place – it’s not fun when you have to look for things.
The office is upstairs – insulated with carpet to try and reduce the blare of the saws (didn’t work at all). We realised we will spend more time here than anywhere else so we decided to make it as fun as possible – it’s a bit like a making playground for us – studio upstairs and steel and wood workshop downstairs.

George: Yesterday a guy called Paddy turned up at the workshop. I met him at an engagement party a few weeks ago and told him roughly where the workshop was and that he should turn up one day. He turned up in the middle of the day and was given a tour of the workshop, met everyone and then left with a pair of merino socks for himself. Everyone who turns up gets a pair of socks. They would think it was a bit of a joke to be honest, most people do.
That is what we are going for though…. flag having a serious work environment!
Everyone knows what they are up to and gets it done. Its pretty funny because there is a scaffolding company down the road from us and they all walk past at smoko to go to the bakery and look in seriously confused as to what goes on in our place.

George and Willy - simple, functional, timeless objects // New Zealand to the world // interview by Studio Home George and Willy - simple, functional, timeless objects // New Zealand to the world // interview by Studio Home George and Willy - simple, functional, timeless objects // New Zealand to the world // interview by Studio Home George and Willy - simple, functional, timeless objects // New Zealand to the world // interview by Studio Home George and Willy - simple, functional, timeless objects // New Zealand to the world // interview by Studio Home

To your followers it’s refreshingly obvious that you and the team live and breath the lifestyle that your products support (anyone in doubt need to check out their Instagram AND Journal
Clean, strong, no frills design that you can hang your wetsuits on after a dive/surf, that allow you to easily light a fire at that backcountry hut, that you can set up to eat at/study at/ sleep on/display with/ write on/ retrieve the toast with/ WEAR!

Can you each name 3 favourite NZ locations and the activities that you love to do there.



Will:

  • Great Barrier Island is a cool place – we sailed over there in January for a week on my mates yacht. Absolutely loved it.
  • We have heard great things about Big Bay so would be cool to get there at some stage soon – cool hike in and good waves – would be pretty chilly though!
  • Wanaka is awesome – both in summer and in winter, always had the best times there.

George:

  • The DOC Great Walks . My Mum always got us kids out tramping every summer and I think that the NZ great walks are great. Just the fact that they can be walked by anyone. Your uncle, cousin, sister etc.
  • The Cook Straight Ferry – how beautiful are the Sounds!
    I love the ferry, you are always heading somewhere when you are on the Ferry which is generally exciting.
  • As cliche as it is – walking up Mount Maunganui will never get old. It’s so close for us to do it on a daily basis and every time it reminds me how great the country/place we live in is.
  • We were all actually mean’t to be in the Wairarapa this weekend as I am sitting here answering these questions. My Aunt and Uncle are from Riversdale and I think it is a hidden gem in NZ. No one from work has been there before so I was keen as to take them down to stay in the woolshed on the coast, but the weather was looking horrible so we are going to do it in a few weekends time.


George and Willy - simple, functional, timeless objects // New Zealand to the world // interview by Studio Home George and Willy - simple, functional, timeless objects // New Zealand to the world // interview by Studio Home George and Willy - simple, functional, timeless objects // New Zealand to the world // interview by Studio Home

I see that you guys have recently renovated a house in the Mount.
It looks bloody GREAT….I am sure you will be increasing sales in Lawson Pine as a wall cladding!
It’s certainly inspiring to see a brand freely move to undertake projects that interest you and are beyond simply adding to your “product range”… 

What would be some ultimate projects you’d love to sink your teeth into in the future? 

Will: I have always wanted to publish a book – I have never been good at writing so I think it will be a picture book of sorts – a coffee table kinda book I think.

Boats are also cool and love being on the water so it would be cool to do something along the lines of that. Pretty keen to sail to Fiji on a yacht at some stage.

George & Willy has naturally become quite computer and design based, so it’s always refreshing to use your hands again for a long period of time – would be cool to spend a couple years making heirloom furniture pieces – massive dining tables from beautiful timber and not just plywood haha.

George: I’ve got a bet with my brother that I will sail a yacht home from Europe by the time I am 30… not sure if it will happen, but I would be keen to do that.

I would be keen one day to build a replica of the first ever Hamilton Jet boats. I think it is just such a good NZ story and I would love to spend time on it.

I’d be keen to build a hut up a river somewhere that you had to fly/ boat all the materials into. Half the fun for me is definitely in the process and so if you can make the process include a bit of a mission that would be fun.

I have found these old forestry huts that are such a cool shape. I am keen as to restore one of them and make it a nice little cabin. My brother loves forestry, so hopefully he will get a forest I can put it in.

George and Willy - simple, functional, timeless objects // New Zealand to the world // interview by Studio Home George and Willy - simple, functional, timeless objects // New Zealand to the world // interview by Studio Home George and Willy - simple, functional, timeless objects // New Zealand to the world // interview by Studio Home

Explore more of the George and Willy World here:

Website + Online Store
Instagram
Facebook
Journal

 

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Firestarter by George + Willy

Firestarter by George & Willy // New Zealand - available for online + worldwide shipping // as debuted on Studio Home - creative talent from the lands down under
It feels to me that the George + Willy are hellbent on making day to day living work better, look better and feel better.
From the boys that reinvented the wall mounted paper roller (which turned into a global Pinterest revolution), designed the coolest modular pegboard shelving, adventuring duffel bags and honest, industrial-esque furniture – they have just seriously upped their game with THIS new product!!

Tasking themselves with the aim to remove the angst from lighting a fire – they got researching and experimenting and have come up with an epic set of equipment : the Firestarter. As a seasoned firestarter myself, their no kindling, no prep and massively time saving tool is heaven sent!

Take some time to check out the imagery and video below to see how their no fuss system works and click on through to buy directly from their website. No problems world – free shipping in NZ and Australia with ability to ship everywhere else!

Firestarter by George & Willy // New Zealand - available for online + worldwide shipping // as debuted on Studio Home - creative talent from the lands down under Firestarter by George & Willy // New Zealand - available for online + worldwide shipping // as debuted on Studio Home - creative talent from the lands down under Firestarter by George & Willy // New Zealand - available for online + worldwide shipping // as debuted on Studio Home - creative talent from the lands down under Firestarter by George & Willy // New Zealand - available for online + worldwide shipping // as debuted on Studio Home - creative talent from the lands down under Firestarter by George & Willy // New Zealand - available for online + worldwide shipping // as debuted on Studio Home - creative talent from the lands down under Firestarter by George & Willy // New Zealand - available for online + worldwide shipping // as debuted on Studio Home - creative talent from the lands down underGeorge & Willy // New Zealand designed and made products for awesome living- available for online + worldwide shipping // as debuted on Studio Home - creative talent from the lands down under // Photo by Wayne TaitPhoto by Wayne Tait

Firestarter by George & Willy from Motion Sickness Studio on Vimeo.

Imagery courtesy of George and Willy
Video by Motion Sickness Studio
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Bang Bang Peg Board by George + Willy

Bang Bang Peg Board by George and Willy // New Zealand - available online, ship worldwide

George and Willy have been at it again!
True to form they have identified a product that would be helpful in our lives and promptly developed it in their distinctive pared back and functional style. Their Bang Bang Peg Board is a deserving follow up to the rampant popularity of their Studio Roller.
Loving the the endless options of hanging, propping, stacking and displaying that this concept has!

You can revisit our shoot and interview with George and Willy earlier in the year.

Bang Bang Peg Board by George and Willy // New Zealand - available online, ship worldwideBang Bang Peg Board by George and Willy // New Zealand - available online, ship worldwideBang Bang Peg Board by George and Willy // New Zealand - available online, ship worldwideBang Bang Peg Board by George and Willy // New Zealand - available online, ship worldwideBang Bang Peg Board by George and Willy // New Zealand - available online, ship worldwide
Imagery courtesy of George and Willy
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Posted in emerging designer, for the home, furniture, new zealand | 2 Comments

George + Willy – Tauranga

Moodie Tuesday George and Willy - young product and furniture brand based in Tauranga, New Zealand. / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio HomeFrom left: Will McCallum and George Wilkins in their Tauranga workshop
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Any of you with an interest in young NZ design talent will have had George and Willy “blip” on your radar over the last 18 months. It may have been for their cool swings or perhaps trestle tables. You might have spotted their hardy duffel bags or have been swept up in the international popularity of their industrial paper roller. I can assure you if you haven’t seen any of these yet…you are definitely going to enjoy the pioneering, grassroots aesthetic that shines through in all of their ideas and products.

Fittingly, it was a good old kiwi backyard workshop where I finally got to meet them.

George and Willy - young product and furniture brand based in Tauranga, New Zealand. / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home George and Willy - young product and furniture brand based in Tauranga, New Zealand. / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home

George Wilkins, 22, grew up in Tauranga before heading to Dunedin where he studied Design and is just wrapping up his thesis for his Masters in Commerce and Management. Will McCallum, 23, spent his childhood between Auckland, Argentina and Tauranga before heading off to University in Dunedin as well, where he studied Marketing and Design.

The pair first met while skiing at age 12 through their parents who were family friends and then went through secondary school together in Hamilton. Both had always been keen “makers” but it wasn’t until the last semester of university in 2012 that they had a real chance to collaborate! A design project for class led them to make model helicoptors which resulted in an order of 10 for the Westpac Rescue HQ in Wellington!
With their design and production appetites whetted they then got a roll on. They struck off to various markets with a collection of laser cut MDF products including mini beer crates, letters and dinosaurs which they sold with great success!

George and Willy - young product and furniture brand based in Tauranga, New Zealand. / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home George and Willy - young product and furniture brand based in Tauranga, New Zealand. / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio HomeGeorge and Willy - young product and furniture brand based in Tauranga, New Zealand. / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home

Then the organisers of a university business competition asked them to produce centre pieces for the tables at the awards dinner. Dinosaurs were their decoration of choice and while they only had a few sales as a result, in true student thinking, they felt buoyed by how many were stolen! They must be cool!

With the wrap of University at the end of 2012 they both moved back to Tauranga for the holidays and immersed themselves totally in making. Ideas for swings and lamps had been tossed around for months but and with the opportunity to use a space behind the work of Will’s father they got experimenting. Family and friends took an interest in what they were producing and custom work started to flow in.
They LOVED it!

George and Willy - young product and furniture brand based in Tauranga, New Zealand. / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio HomeGeorge and Willy - young product and furniture brand based in Tauranga, New Zealand. / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home

Up until this point, their “business” had been a pretty casual endeavour. But with Will having finished Uni (George decided to do his Masters which meant one week in Dunedin per month) they started to organise their project. Between pool painting jobs and custom cabinetry/office fit out work they also wholesaled their lamps with the Dunedin based design store; White Room.
Armed with their hardy duffel bags they stalked the huge agricultural show; Fielddays in an attempt to meet and promote their product as corporate gifts – something that worked with Volkswagon placing an order for their conference. They also had a look around for smart, innovative designers locally that perhaps would be willing to share some wisdom and advice. They found this in Simon James which also led to him stocking their swings in his Auckland concept store.
The Paper Plane store in Tauranga, led by successful kiwi furniture and product designer; Timothy James and his wife Krista also stock some selected products and have made themselves available as a source of encouragement and guidance should the boys need it.

George and Willy - young product and furniture brand based in Tauranga, New Zealand. / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio HomeGeorge and Willy - young product and furniture brand based in Tauranga, New Zealand. / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home

This is where I see George and Willy being part of a wider network of exciting young go-getters, innovative entrepreneurs and most importantly I fresh new breed of young professional who are not even remotely bound by any of the “industry” rules that may have existed before them. Their graduate friends working in the media have been instrumental in drawing their products in front of a receptive audience. Below you can also check out a video made for them by good friends and collaborators Motion Sickness Studio who are challenging the ideas of online content and communication like they have invented it! And lastly the brand on board in support of this post as a Naming Sponsor is Moodie Tuesday, a growing art based fashion label led by former class mates of the boys!

It doesn’t stop there… the under 25’s coming out of Dunedin are definitely a force to be reckoned with and George and Willy are cruising at the front of this bunch!
(watch this space!)

George and Willy - young product and furniture brand based in Tauranga, New Zealand. / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio HomeGeorge and Willy - young product and furniture brand based in Tauranga, New Zealand. / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio HomeGeorge and Willy - young product and furniture brand based in Tauranga, New Zealand. / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio HomeGeorge and Willy - young product and furniture brand based in Tauranga, New Zealand. / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home

Quite early on they also decided to work with only a very small collection of retailers, instead pushing and growing their collection from their own site and online store. Their product range is not at all restrained by any kind of theme, nor does it have them pigeon holed as any kind of designers. Currently they have furniture both online and in the works, dog bowls, paper rollers, duffel bags and so much more! I have no doubt that in a few more years lovers of the George and Willy style will be able to furnish and use their products in endless parts of their day to day lives!

George and Willy - young product and furniture brand based in Tauranga, New Zealand. / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio HomeGeorge and Willy - young product and furniture brand based in Tauranga, New Zealand. / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio HomeGeorge and Willy - young product and furniture brand based in Tauranga, New Zealand. / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio HomeGeorge and Willy - young product and furniture brand based in Tauranga, New Zealand. / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home

Shortly after I met the boys, Will was winging off to New York to intern in a design based company while George was wrapping up his Masters and working on the expansion of their business. Despite the geographic separation, the pair presented a super motivated, design AND business focussed front which quite frankly inspired and impressed me.

If I was under 25 I would be begging to be part of their team.

George and Willy - young product and furniture brand based in Tauranga, New Zealand. / Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio HomeAll photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home
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WHAT I LEARNT FROM GEORGE + WILLY:
Age is no barrier – only old school thinking.

Moodie TuesdayThis post was made with the support and partnership of the exciting young label, Moodie Tuesday. 
 

George And Willy | One from George and Willy on Vimeo.

Enjoy this great look into the world of George and Willy by Motion Sickness Studio.

Posted in creative hq, emerging designer, for the home, furniture, new zealand, product design | Tagged | 2 Comments

George + Willy – Paper Roller

George and Willy - Wall mounted paper rollerYoung kiwi designers; George + Willy are at it again with another product that is both functional but cool! Their wall mounted paper roller would look great in a cafe communicating those daily “cheese scone and panini specials”, florists, kindergartens etc…but I think it would also be just as awesome in a home!

George and Willy - Wall mounted paper rollerGeorge and Willy - Wall mounted paper roller

Posted in emerging designer, for the home, new zealand, product design | Tagged | 11 Comments

george & willy

George & WillyGeorge & Willy. A pretty simple, straight to the point … but appealing name don’t you think? It represents a collection of products that I would describe the same way. Simple but very appealing.  George and Willy are childhood friends from Tauranga who have just returned home on finishing Commerce Degrees in Otago. Both came to the realisation that they were ready to dig their teeth into post student life and have set about designing and making products aimed at lasting the distance. With the 109 Piece Lamp, sturdy Fishermans Duffel and Everyday Swing as part of their collection to me its obvious they are designing for New Zealanders interested in quality “stuff” that they can actually put to use. There is nothing contrived or fussy.  Check them out – it’s early days so watch this space….

George & WillyGeorge & WillyGeorge & WillyGeorge & WillyGeorge & WillyGeorge & Willy

 

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Posted in emerging designer, furniture, new zealand, product design | 3 Comments