Es Devlin features in the first episode of Dezeen's Face to Face podcast

"Every time someone wanted me to write an essay, all I wanted to do was paint a picture" says Es Devlin in Dezeen's new podcast

Dezeen's new Face to Face podcast series kicks off with an interview with artist, designer and director Es Devlin, who discusses her seaside upbringing, her maverick student years and her meteoric career.

Listen to the episode below or subscribe on , and to catch the whole series.

 

In the Face to Face series, Dezeen's founder and editor-in-chief Marcus Fairs sits down with leading architects and designers to discuss their lives.

"Every time someone wanted me to write an essay, all I wanted to do was paint a picture" says Es Devlin in Dezeen's new podcast
Artist and designer Es Devlin is the first guest on Dezeen's new podcast Face to Face. Portrait: Hollie Fernando

Working with Kanye West

The first episode features Devlin explaining how she first became a theatre designer before branching into stage design, creating sets for artists including Beyoncé, Kanye West and U2. The interview took place in the bedroom of her home and studio in south London.

"I've known Es for a few years and she really is one of the most amazing, electrifying people to speak to," said Fairs.

The giant hands in Devlin's studio are scale models of part of her set for Carmen at the Bregenz Festival in 2017

"She peppers her dialogue with references to art, science, movies, culture, theatre, literature and quite often the references go over my head and I have to sit there nodding as if I've read that book or seen that play."

Obstacle courses for guinea pigs

Devlin grew up near the coast in East Sussex, England. "We were making a lot of stuff because there wasn't a lot else to do," she said of her earliest creative experiments.

"And it was mainly using Kellogg's cornflakes packets or toilet rolls or making runs for the gerbils and obstacle courses for the guinea pigs."

"Every time someone wanted me to write an essay, all I wanted to do was paint a picture" says Es Devlin in Dezeen's new podcast
Devlin's 2017 design for Carmen at the Bregenz Festival featured giant card-shuffling hands emerging from the lake

Devlin studied literature at Bristol University but was a rule-breaker from the outset.  "Every time someone wanted me to write an essay, all I wanted to do was to paint a picture," she said. "I deviated a lot from the course."

爱博体育官网Later, when studying theatre design, she continued with her maverick approach. "I didn't pay any regard to the stage direction," she explained. "So if it said on the play, this play takes place in a room with doors, I didn't actually read that part."

"A fluke that happened three times"

She describes her move into the world of pop stars as "a fluke".

"It was a fluke that happened three times," she recalled. "There were three pop artists who all asked me to design their concerts at the same time. It was the Pet Shop Boys, a singer called Mika, and Kanye West."

Devlin has designed stage sets for some of the world's biggest music acts including U2

Produced by Dezeen's in-house creative team Dezeen Studio, Face to Face episodes will be released every Tuesday at 9:00am for the next eight weeks. Interviewees will include Thomas Heatherwick, Hella Jongerius and Norman Foster. The podcast features original music composed by Japanese designer and sound artist Yuri Suzuki.

爱博体育官网Face to Face is sponsored by , the real-time architectural visualisation solution that can create immersive photo and video renders in seconds.

Subscribe to Dezeen's podcasts

爱博体育官网You can listen to Face to Face here on Dezeen or subscribe on podcast platforms such as ,  and .

Highlights

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