Studio Myerscough has become one of the UK’s most prolific studios with Morag Myerscough at the helm of a very small team, one of which includes her dog, Lemmy.
Born in north London Morag studied graphic design at Central St Martins, and subsequently completed an MA at the Royal College of Art but creativity has always been a big part of her life.
My father was a musician and my mother a textile artist and so our house was full of music and making. I really took to making clothes and embroidery when I was about 9 but I did not want to follow my mum as a textile artist I wanted to do something that was different, something of my own.
With an ever-existent love of colour and working in 3D, Morag’s final show at the RCA took on everything to do with Benjamin Britton’s opera, ‘The Turn of the Screw’, from the sets, how to interpret the libretto, to the posters. This, however, didn’t go down well in the college.
This was not encouraged at the end of my time at the Royal College and I was told I would not get a job, and at that time it worried me that I was doing something wrong. So I felt pressured to take the route of a more conventional graphic designer. But sadly by 2000 I was bored and I met Luke Morgan who had always kept to his psychobilly routes and it made me think I needed to go back to expressing myself more rather than serving others. That is when the true Morag started coming out. ‘Her House’ was established using my house as a gallery and making products and showing at Designers Block.
In 2008, after developing an aesthetic and practice for a few years, Morag converted an old train station in Deptford into a café. This brief was set upon them by a client they had worked for previously so it was the perfect time to utilize all the skills they had developed, and so in 2012 when the same client approached Morag to design a café on a sunken building site in record time, the task was met with excitement.
I had been discussing a permanent poetry project for the same site with the poet Lemn Sissay and we had been discussing how the restrictions of the amount of words in tweets were interesting. I met the client and he told me I needed to get him the design for the café by the following day as we had so little time before the Olympics. Luke and I had been looking at the structure but nothing was quite working. In a mild panic I went straight to my studio to start and I thought I would read Lemn’s tweets and the first one I read was the one. Immediately I got to working into the early hours making a physical model. Went to bed got up in the morning and just thought yes this is it. Sent the model over to the client and immediately they said yes and then we got into production.
The Movement Café, Morag admits, was the right project for them at the right time. It wasn’t just one project, but ten years of hard graft to get to a point where people’s attitudes were more open to that kind of work happening in public spaces.
The landscape has changed and now feels much better to me than the past. Minds of people are more open now and less controlling and less about conforming. I think it is important to be very aware of how your work is going and re-evaluate what you are doing and how stimulated you are doing it. When you do work that has a depth to it I think people can tell.
Since its inception, in 1993, Studio Myerscough has expanded up to eight staff or contracted to just Morag herself, (and Lemmy, of course) depending on the project’s demands.
Depending on the project other collaborators get involved like Luke Morgan. That is why we set up Supergroup London to have a much more flexible way of working and it ensures we collaborate with the best people for each individual projects.
Morag has just returned from Mexico City where, with Luke Morgan, she installed a giant camera obscura installation for Abierto de Diseño and the Bristish Council.
Burntwood School, which she worked on with architects Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, also recently won the RIBA Stirling Prize for Architecture. A project that proves that collaboration works.