The Workers: Digital designers in the shadows

An exclusive interview with London studio The Workers, the digital wizards behind some of the most innovative interactive experiences in design and art.

The Workers are an elusive design duo. Italian Tommaso Lanza and Scottish designer Ross Cairns operate a digital product design studio in London, but their own online presence is barely detectable. This, however, seems to be part of their appeal.

“When we meet new people who want to work with us the fact that we don’t have a website, that they don’t exactly know what we do, it’s quite precious,” says Lanza, “because then we can put all of that on the table.”

In August 2014 The Workers produced the project After Dark, where four robots controlled by members of the public explored Tate Britain’s collections late at night.

The Workers were also responsible for Bloomberg Connects at Tate Modern, which launched in September 2013. This digital project encourages visitors to interact on screens with the Tate’s collections and see their own artworks projected on to a digital wall. Visitors can also use the screens to go on virtual studio tours of renowned artists and post their questions online. The initiative was conceived to take the Tate a step further into the digital future. 

“It’s a multipurpose touch-screen programme for the Tate. We effectively handled the whole thing from the digital side,” says Cairns.

Both Bloomberg Connects and After Dark explore how technology is changing our relationship and access to art.

“We really enjoy working in collaborations. When you work with studios with their own very specific strengths, you get fertile conversation and good stuff comes out.”

Watch the Talk with The Workers

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