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Blog posts tagged as 'studio'



The term regeneration (also known as renewal), in the British science fiction television series Doctor Who, is a biological ability exhibited by Time Lords, a race of fictional humanoids originating on the planet Gallifrey. This process allows a Time Lord who is old or mortally wounded to undergo a transformation into a new physical form and a somewhat different personality.

Yesterday and today we’ve been moving into what will be the 7th BERG office (counting S&W’s premises and our secret spin-office, BERG#9) – it’s my fourth.

A bit like Doctor Who’s different incarnations, while still the same company, the spaces we’ve worked in have created very different feeling BERGs.

And, a bit like Doctor Who, I guess you have one incarnation that you always think is the best, or ‘yours’.

115 Bartholomew Road
Jack and Matt worked together first of all in 115 Bartholomew Road, Kentish Town. I visited their space a couple of times while they worked on projects for me and Chris Heathcote at Nokia.

schulze & webb in their technoshed



Hewett Street
Hewett St saw S&W move to London’s fashionable Shoreditch, just before Matt Biddulph jokingly dubbed it “Silicon Roundabout”. It saw the beginning of our habitual co-habiting with RIG and Newspaper Club. It was also where I started working more formally with Jack and Matt as an advisor while I spent most of my time on Dopplr.

hewett street

Tom Armitage became Employee#1…
First day

21 July (London 11)

It was also where Olinda was launched…
Olinda launch party, Schulze and Webb HQ

…and Matt crowdsourced a large amount of tiny cattle.

“Sh*t Office”
I’m sure it’s a coincidence, but my joining full-time coincided with us moving to a tiny room, heated by a sunlamp, at the less-than-salubrious end of Scrutton Street. It was quickly dubbed “Sh*t Office”. Matt Brown joined us, as did Nick Ludlam.


It was also where the regeneration of S&W into BERG took place…

Wall of BERG

Wall of BERG

We moved, with RIG to the other end of Scrutton Street, to a floor of a former printing company that quickly became known as The Brig.

10 October, 18.08

We had a bit more room to work and make, we were able to customise the space modestly and this space was really where BERG started to fire on all cylinders IMHO.


23 June, 17.46

05 March, 17.47

05 July, 18.28

24 January, 16.32

11 October, 18.32

19 April, 10.18

18 April, 18.17

11 November, 11.24

23 June, 16.28

I think, like Tom Baker is “my” Doctor, this version of the BERG space feels like the one I’ll remember most fondly…
29 November, 17.07

Corsham St
After a couple of years in the BRIG we moved to our Corsham St space at the beginning of 2012. Much bigger than any of our previous studios, and we weren’t sharing with any of our friends.

A bit more grown-up perhaps, and to start-off with I felt a bit like we rattled-around in it, but as soon as the final push to launch Little Printer kicked in, the place started to hum.

18 January, 11.08

16 January, 11.49

18 January, 11.09

24 January, 12.57

Neil Usher

It also meant, that once LP was out in the world we had room to invite folks round for hackdays…


Hack day and Dads' track

I think that’s when Corsham Street felt really alive, when it was full of friends and new acquaintances, all working really enthusiastically on something.

City Road
And now, BERG has just regenerated into it’s latest incarnation, an eyrie on the edge of “tech city” where BERG Cloud can be taken to the next level!

We’ve got our friends from Newspaper Club back in digs with us, and it’s going to be interesting to see how this new, quite different, more cellular space influences the way BERG works.




It’s a step that I won’t be around to see first-hand, as today’s my last day at BERG, and this is my last blog post.

It’s a bittersweet moment, to look back on four years of working with incredible people on awesome projects. I’ve been very lucky to be in each one of the rooms above.

We’re going back to Corsham St now, to have a leaving party – where I’ll raise a glass to the next regeneration of BERG…

What Friday Demos are like

Friday Demos are, well, every Friday in the studio – where we, yes, demo what we’ve all been working on that week. It’s the highlight of most of our weeks, catching up with all the projects in the room over cheap beer bought from the store on the corner – and getting wowed by a surprise or two, usually from Andy, Nick, Alice or Adam…

I know it’s Tuesday, but I meant to post this little Vine experiment a while back… so thought I’d do it today before I forgot.

Week 402

Mount Lushan

In 402 AD The Pure Land school of Buddhism founds a monastery upon the top of Mount Lushan, from the beautiful slopes of which they contemplated timeless mysteries of existence – including perhaps why the HTTP Status code 402 ‘ Payment Required’ is as yet so underused.

Week 402 in the BERG studio sees a number of folk on holiday – Simon and Mark are missed, while Helen has subjected herself to Wildfire Protocol and as a result is home fighting a cold.

Joe is in Belgium as I type, giving a talk about some of the studio’s processes, habits and approaches to work. I had a sneak preview yesterday and it’s a cracking presentation – hope it makes it online.

So, to business.

Jack lectured at the RCA Design Products course yesterday, and for the rest of week will be occupied with thoughts and writing about future BERG Cloud products, pursuing some sales proposals, and working on Chevelon.

Nick’s finishing some work on Saguaro, then the rest of the week is devoted to all things BERG Cloud: bolstering our monitoring capabilities, working with phil wright on some revisions to new electronics for Chelly, and some software revisions to the infrastructure of BERG Cloud so it’s more able to accommodate things other than Little Printer in the near-future… He’ll also be leading chats with the team around improving the BERG Cloud API.

Andy’s working on Kachina, nudging the Chelly dev board along, and pursuing purchase orders for the next round of LP manufacturing with the attendent international supply chain  and sourcing fun. He also informs me of a PB he scored on his bike this morning, coming over Highgate Hill…

Adam’s making servers in BERG Cloud better, paying special attention to scaling; and participating in the BotWorld design thinking.

Alice is making some important changes to our shop, to be able to sell new rolls of paper to people!

Neil’s working with Andy on Kachina, and spending some quality time in Little Printer Hospital fixing people’s LPs to send back to them.

Denise is working on Chevelon, Saguaro’s final-final-final tweaks, and then devoting the rest of her time to some new Little Printer stuff coming your way soon…

Alex is doing some work on the next iteration of the BERG Cloud Remote UI, thinking and designing how we organise and present the panoply of LP publications we are starting to get,  getting prepped for the next LP hack day, and excitingly, helping to design the Little Printer exhibit for the upcoming Designs Of The Year show at the Design Museum.

The Olympic Cauldron vs Little Printer. Which would you rather have in your kitchen?

The Olympic Cauldron vs Little Printer. Which would you rather have in your kitchen?

We’re up against the London Olympic Cauldron by Thomas Heatherwick in the product design category, so to make sure we’re not upstaged I’m imagining he’ll be bringing his best Danny-Boyle-showman-instincts into play and we’ll be getting LP to abseil into the museum from Tower Bridge or something.

Kari’s doing her usual awesome job of BERG Cloud and Little Printer customer service, particularly at the moment sending out paper rolls to keen folk who have been printing like the clappers since they got their Little Printer.

Fraser’s talking to prospective Little Printer publishers, and dealing with some upcoming public appearances for the little fella at some exhibitions and events, including we think, SxSW…

Matt Webb in his own words, is “on the hustle” this week, which constitutes – amongst other things – property negotiations (we have to move out of our current studio building soon as it’s being demolished!), interviews (with him), sales, and deputising for Simon on projects.

Charlatan/Martyr/Hustler by Joey Roth – sits in the entrance to our studio…

It’s also his birthday week – he’s a spritely 35!

I’m working remotely with Timo, to document some past project work we hope to put public soon, writing weeknotes and pursuing some sales opportunities for future studio work.

We really want to line-up some exciting projects in the domain of connected products, services and hardware for the summer, so if you have something you’d like to work with us on, please get in touch.


Mark Cridge joins BERG as Director Of Consulting

I’m delighted to say that Mark’s joined BERG as our new Director of Consulting this week.

The Cridge

Mark’s a friend that Jack, Matt and myself have known for some years now. While he was piloting the giant digital media and communications spaceship called GlueIsobar, we’d get together for a pint or three and ask him for advice. He founded Glue and built it into not only a mighty commercial force, but a culture that prized invention and creativity.

So, it was natural for us when we found out he was looking for a new challenge (over a pint or three) that we suggest BERG was just that.

We’ve built BERG over the last 6 years into a busy studio that creates not only what we think are pretty inventive connected products for ourselves to take to market (like Little Printer), but consults on connected products, services (and the strategy behind them) for some of the biggest technology, media and consumer brands in the world.

But we want to do more of that work – inventing the near-future and getting it into the world – with more clients, and get more fantastic inventive people in the studio to do it.

Mark is just the right person to help us grow our consultancy and he’s written a little bit about joining the studio from his perspective on his blog. I’m really happy he’s decided to come on board for the next phase of BERG as a colleague and a friend.

Simon – a much overdue welcome

There’s one person in the studio who hasn’t had a welcome post on the blog, and that’s Simon.

So let’s pretend it’s still the beginning of June: I am super pleased to announce that we have been joined by Simon Pearson!

Simon, aged 27 and three quarters

We’ve never had a dedicated person to run projects before and honestly, nobody in the studio knew what to expect. How would it work? Would it help? Would we get on?

Simon couldn’t be a better fit. On his first day, he brought Haribo in for everyone, and we’re total suckers for that. And at home he’s plumbing electronics into a piano to make light from music, and that’s just brilliant.

Part of his remit at work is to invent a kind of “BERG way” to run projects. Over the last two months he’s been doing that, growing gradually into managing pretty much every project and coaching the rest of us on how to do projects better, and become generally and happily indispensable. I genuinely can’t remember him not being here, which is a sign of how much he’s become part of the studio.

Hello Simon!

Welcome Joe Malia!

More welcomes this week…

I’m very happy to announce that we’ve added Joe Malia‘s biological distinctiveness to the BERG collective!

Isle de Re

Joe is a contemporary of Schulze, Matt Brown and James King from the RCA Design Interactions course, and since then has been working as a design ronin on research and software projects for Nokia, KPMG, Sony Ericsson, Luckybite, Beta Tank, IDEO and Deutsche Bank.

Though I’m perhaps most fond of this piece of his work – a drawing of “Ever-more complicated light switches” that he did for me in the 17th hour of the “24hr Drawathon” he staged with Alice Hoult last year…

Joe Malia's "Ever-more complicated series of lightswitches"

Welcome Joe!

Welcome Timo Arnall

The studio’s experiencing some turbulent times at the moment – all good – as we get busier, reach further and grow.

On that last note, I have an awesome announcement to make. Our long time friend and collaborator Timo Arnall is joining us full-time as a Creative Director here at BERG. He needs little introduction – he is a accomplished researcher, designer, photographer, film maker and conference speaker.

04 September 2010 - 18.28.41

We’ve been working with Timo in various ways since Matthew and I formed Schulze & Webb back in 2006. Our collaborations increased in scale as we began working on the Touch project investigating Near Field Computing at AHO. For instance, we went from this RFID Hacking Workshop in 2006 through to the “Immaterials” and “Nearness” film work in 2009.

Timo’s thinking, film-making and interaction design knowledge was also a huge contributor to our work on Mag+, and subsequently, he collaborated with us on the design of Popular Science+. This is to name just a few of the projects he has contributed to.

Timo is among that rare category of people with a broad, inventive literacy across the design, technology and product spectra as well as having awesome deep trenches of skill across graphic design, product design, design research, writing, photography, video production, post-production, drawing, lighting, and architecture.

He also has a long standing dedication to Nike Footscape.

In addition to leading product and service design projects with our clients (alongside Denise) as Creative Director, his responsibilities will also include managing and directing BERG’s communications output.

Timo is a capable designer in many traditional forms – but in many ways his preferred design medium for exploring interactions is video. His responsibilities will begin on a brief for Chaco, but we also have the pleasure of including him in some client workshops on Uinta.

On a personal note, I’ve known Timo since childhood – I look forward to his continuing influence on me personally, also to watch both how he affects the room, and it affects his work.

Many cheers for the acquisition of the blonde-posthuman-photon-railgun Timo Arnall!

Happy days…

Welcome Denise

Denise Wilton
^ Denise Wilton by matlock, on Flickr

I’m so happy that Denise is joining the studio as Creative Director.

She’s been one of my favourite designers for such a long time, and has incredible instincts for product strategy and voice, service design and user interface across both digital and physical domains.

Her understanding of community and systems to support them from her time at both and is second-to-none. The depth of craft and care she brings to work is awesome.

She’s also a lovely illustrator, for instance this treatise on robotics:


I think we first met through Cal Henderson and Tom Coates who were working with her at Emap way back when, but – I got to work with her and really understand what an incredible designer she is back in 2005, when she help me design and illustrated a game/toy I was making as part of my research into ‘Play’ at Nokia Insight & Foresight, with Tom Hume and our friends at Future Platforms.

Twitchr: Most viewed snaps

Twitchr was defined by Denise’s beautiful work and art direction. Her dedication to detail she displayed on its design and the playfulness she pours into every one of those details is something I can’t wait to see her bring to our work at BERG.

Icon in computer break out shock

Welcome onboard, Denise!

Our experimental rockets are our people

Some sad-but-proud news!

Tom Armitage

Tom Armitage was employee #1, making the leap to join BERG before it was named BERG. For 2 years he’s been both creative technologist and writer, leading technology on several projects, and also running the online face of the studio through his blogging and longer form pieces. When he’s coding, he has the rare gift of solid interaction design intuitions. And in the room, he seems to know of every weird design project and obscure game ever, and can hook you up with relevant links to whatever you’re researching.

And now he’s off! Tom is joining the London game design studio Hide & Seek as a Game Designer. We’ve been watching Hide & Seek for a while — they’re an exciting practice in the rapidly growing area of games and public experiences. And Tom is passionate about games and what they mean to people. Check out his recent talk, Things Rules Do.

It’s a great move for Tom, and we’re very proud of him.

Matt Brown

Matt Brown has been with us as senior designer and chief of music since mid 2009. He’s a wide-ranging and inventive talent, as deft with illustration and composing music as he is prototyping procedurally generated graphics and crafting beautiful and natural interfaces. He’s grown into running projects with us, and working directly at the weird creative coherence where multiple design strands overlap and coincide. When I talk about BERG as a studio, producing work which is inventive, beautiful and populist, it’s Matt’s work which has been right at the centre of that.

And at the end of March, he’s off too. Matt is moving from London to Cupertino, to invent the future as part of a jaw-droppingly impressive team. He’s joining the Human Interface Device Prototyping group at Apple as a designer/prototyper.

The news of his leaving is countered only by our terrific pride at seeing our boy done so good.


Our culture and way of working is what makes us BERG. And our culture is made by our people. Everyone here has a colossal impact on the life of the room. Nobody just “fits in,” we grow together — learning, teaching and developing as we go. Tom and Matt B are irreplaceable, we’ll miss them enormously!

That said, one of the things that makes me most pleased is that the studio is a place that people travel through and move on from. I’m proud of our alumni! When they achieve great things, I admit I take a good deal of satisfaction that a fellow traveller has carried a little bit of BERG into the world.

We keep it quiet, but the secret history of our name is that is stands for the British Experimental Rocket Group. Our experimental rockets are our people.

So what next?

The studio will grow and change. We’re established enough that we can treat these moments as opportunities. It was surprising and gratifying to have Fast Company place us #4 in their list of most innovative design firms, in such illustrious company as Stamen, IDEO and Pentagram!

And so I have more changes to announce — soon, when the ink is dry. I can’t wait to tell you.

In the meantime, please lift a glass to Tom and Matt! Congratulations fellas, well done both of you, and thank you for being part of the journey.


Timo Arnall has been working with us in the studio this week.

He made this. It’s super lovely.

Bigger here. Thank you Timo!

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