Eclectic is the word that sums up Steve Edge’s workplace. It’s safe to say his tastes are varied – ranging from surrealism to modernism, via an array of brick-a-brac, including a Royal Enfield motorbike, a rocking horse and various references to his obsession with fishing. It’s an extraordinary place to be. ‘I like objects,’ he explains. ‘And all these things have a relationship with me. They have their own story. It developed because I’m interested in everything. If someone showed me their shovel handle collection then I’d be interested in it. I love beautiful things. I love design and I love functionality.’
After spending time in the art departments of movies such as Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Ark, the brand and digital designer founded his own agency in 1982. At that time the notion of branding itself was still nascent. When he started, he says: ‘It was logos. People came to us for logos. The word “brand” was never used. It was a thing called corporate identity.’ Since then, however, he has gone on to create work for the likes of Cartier, Fortnum and Mason, Hamleys and Hix restaurants.
Born and bred in the east end of London, for many years he had an office on Shoreditch’s Charlotte Rd. However, more recently he moved into a former shop on Hoxton Street, which encouraged him to invest in some USM storage – a couple of pieces in the main workplace and a smaller unit in his personal office. ‘I’ve seen it in various architects’ offices and it was love at first sight,’ he says. ‘I realised immediately it could be put together in different configurations and that it was incredibly durable. What’s so amazing about the product is that I’m continuously thinking of how to bolt on something else to it and what’s the next little add on. But above all else it is, I think, the most beautiful thing you could ever use to put objects in.’
He was also attracted by the product’s innate sense of quality: ‘It’s like a Rolls Royce car door: when it shuts you hear it “clunk”. You know it’s solid, beautiful, well-made and there’s nothing quite like the sound. And when I open a USM drawer it has exactly the same effect. It is just a pleasure to be around.’ The array of colours available was also appealing. In fact seeing the entire palette had a profound effect. ‘Orange has become my favourite colour. We’ve been black and white for a long time but when I saw the orange and green of USM I decided to use them as our new corporate colours.’ Which just goes to show that inspiration can come from anywhere.