Morag Myerscough on giving spaces character and sensitivity through the use of colour

The Design Indaba Festival 2018 speaker will turn the Artscape Piazza into a wonderland with her colourful structure.


London-born designer Morag Myerscough is one of the leading UK creatives to be awarded Royal Designers for Industry (RDI) status this month. 

Considered the highest honour a designer in the UK can receive, the RDI recognises creatives who have made a significant impact on society. Only 200 people hold the status at any given time and this year’s recipients will join existing award holders, including James Dyson and Thomas Heatherwick. 

Myerscough has over the last 20 years made substantial contributions to communication design, and has created multiple exhibitions and installations in public spaces.

Morag Myerscough

Most recently, Myerscough, the first speaker announced for the Design Indaba Festival 2018 and the founder of Studio Myerscough, redesigned the interior of the cafe inside the Bernie Grant Arts Centre in London, which was designed by architect David Adjaye.

Capturing what she called the “exuberance of the staff”, Myerscough decked the cafe out in bold, colourful geometric prints.

The project stayed true to her signature style of design. Not only does her work suit the environment but it also enhances the space using colour, pattern and large-scale graphics. Her aim is to “change people’s perceptions of space into place”.

She executed the same approach in the wards of Sheffield Children’s Hospital in northern England, but she took it one step further.

Photograph courtesy of Artfelt/Jill Tate

In a new wing of the hospital, designed by Avanti Architects, Myerscough designed the interior of 46 en-suite bedrooms and six multi-occupancy suites.

The rooms were specially tailored to suit the children. Some rooms are vibrant, fun and uplifting while others were designed using a paler colour scheme for the comfort of children with autism or aversion to bright colours. She also made sure that her creation suited children of all ages.

“It was just about making a bedroom that you felt good to be in,” she told Dezeen at the time.

Morag Myerscough

Feeling and mood are integral to her work – whether it’s the colour she assigns to her own feelings (green if she’s feeling in between) or the colour she assigns to the way she wants people to feel in the space.

Essentially, Myerscough turns a space into a place with character, sensitivity and whimsy. The only feeling she guards against is indifference.

“What you want to do is do work that people love. Like your own home. If you base it on ‘do you love your home?’, you can make public spaces that people love as well,” she said.

Myerscough is currently completing a 200-metre installation in a hospital in Sweden based on her mood tweets – she only spoke on Twitter in colour for over two years.

She also set up SupergroupLondon with Luke Morgan in 2010 and they collaborate on many of the structural art projects she’s known for.

Every year the Design Indaba Festival curates a pioneering programme of speakers, music artists, film and design exhibitions, showcasing the best of the global and African creative industries.