Andrew Merritt and Paul Smyth: Beyond the physical in experimental design

London-based practice Something & Son is known for their collaborations with experts who share their passion for socially driven projects.

Architecture, design, art and number of other disciplines work to inform Something & Sons’ designs. Headed by Andrew Merritt and Paul Smyth, the practice takes an experimental approach to architecture that goes beyond the physical environment into the creation of experiences and communities.

“We’re creating the whole of the experience,” says Smyth. “Some of our projects are kind of like a performance that might last six or seven years.”

The practice is known for projects like the Future Baroque, an installation in London’s Tate Modern that was part of a wider project based around our ideas of re-cladding the city in 3D printed or milled Baroque, and People Wood in London, a 3D printed sculpture that explores a community in constant flux. Another of its projects, Farm:Shop, celebrates agriculture in the middle of the city. It began as an art experiment to see how much food could be grown in a shop and now exists as a self-sustaining business, urban food hub, cafe and arts venue.

The diversity of their projects can be attributed to their collaborative approach to design. According to the partners, each project they undertake starts with a meeting with an expert in the field. “It allows us to open up creatively,” explains Smyth. “It’s why we’re able to work on different projects of different scales and different subject matters.”