One of the UK’s most prolific designers on larger than life place making

Morag Myerscough is the first speaker announced for the Design Indaba Festival 2018.

One moment stands out among the many influences that shaped the way Morag Myerscough makes places.

The British designer says she had not appreciated the way colour could work in a space until she saw the Hockney Paints the Stage exhibition in London in 1989.

From stage sets to costumes, artist David Hockney had an impact on the theatre of the time, and his influence would play a role in the frenetic, yet thoughtful spaces Myerscough would go on to create.

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.

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. Book Now.