The famous London design brand Buster + Punch is multi-skilled, electric and almost undefinable. Its glam-rock identity has attitude!
With both professional and private clients, Buster + Punch surprised the design scene and acquired a worldwide following.
Discover our interview with Massimo Minale, the avant-gardist who created this unconventional brand!
What is your professional and academic background?
I studied at the University of Cambridge and then at the Bartlett School of Architecture in London. After I completed my studies I worked for Foster and Partners, an architectural design and engineering firm. Then, still in London, I worked for Richard Rogers, a large architect firm working on big landmarks and commercial buildings in London.
You are a design-enthusiast. Where does this passion come from?
I think that I have design in my blood! My parents were graphic designers. My father founded his own company called Minale Tattersfield, a famous graphic design company of the 50s/60s/70s which designed fashion house logos such as Chanel, Gucci, Harrods. For me it was a natural decision to work within interior architecture.
From architect to designer. How and why did this transition happen?
I was frustrated by my job in architecture, so I started to make some motorbikes which I sold to interesting celebrities. When I made enough money, I quit my job to put my efforts into making things. The interesting people that I sold motorbikes to, came back to me and asked to get interior design products. On the market everything was Scandinavian. We desired to do the opposite. We wanted to design and manufacture interesting, rock and roll things with solid metals. We wanted to take ordinary and boring home features, things that people touch like 10-20 times a day and see everyday without any interest and inject this exciting subculture life from London with a lot influence in fashion and music. We elevate boring fittings to extraordinary fittings. That’s how Buster + Punch was born.
Buster + Punch is glamorous, strong, and sexy. What inspires your creativity?
Buster + Punch is a London brand. The company started in a small garage in East London. All of our clients at the beginning were fashion designers, artists and rockstars from London. So we are influenced by them and especially by the London fashion scene - Alexander McQueen for example. The London music scene of the 90s – bands like Blur, Oasis, Arctic Monkeys, have been a huge inspiration, and by the London actual grime scene today – artists like Skepta, Kano, and Stormzy. London is a very inspiring and interesting place. It’s a versatile and rich city.
You love and are used to collaborate. Can you tell us more about this?
We have collaborated with a lot of talented people and brands including Rolls Royce, Ms Banks, Harrods, Ducati, Endless and many more. All very interesting. We like to collaborate with young talented people but not necessarily in the interior industry but fashion, music or sport. For the future we would love to collaborate with a big fashion house, maybe to create bags, that would be crazy!
Buster + Punch’s style is incomparable. What sets you apart from the competition?
A lot of our customers love us and our products because of our history of making motorbikes and our passion in solid metals which is our signature. We are that kind of luxury hardware store trying to reinvent boring spaces. Our aesthetic is a mix of fashion and engineering, so our products are very precise, made in a very inventive way with the best solid metals. Even our packaging is very hard-worked. In Europe a lot is made with plastic or cheap metal. In contrast, we make everything from solid brass and solid metal. It’s our DNA but we’re also looking for other materials and trends.
In your opinion, what are the keys to create new collections?
When creating a new collection, we look for three things. First of all, we want to innovate an ordinary product which has been forgotten and unworked for a long time. Second, we design things that our clients need in their daily-lives. Finally, providing luxury but affordable products is a priority. For example, our light switches are maybe around 20 euros more but you can still afford it.
You have designed dozens of products. What is your greatest achievement?
Our LED light bulb is our biggest achievement. We were two or three guys in the garage trying to compete with big companies like Philips with our design. It took a lot of time, sacrifice, money and clever thinking.
It’s hard to find quality providers and to get the best materials. How are you organized to produce your extraordinary items?
We have about 50-60 employees all around the world. We manufacture glass in the Czech Republic because it’s the best. Our lighting is produced in China because they have the best technology. Furniture is made in England, since it’s where we’re from. We are a small company and we want to keep a tight supply chain, which is why we only work with trusted and reliable suppliers.
What’s coming next for Buster + Punch?
We have a lot of new and exciting things happening this years, like our new European range of light switches. We also have a new hardware range that’s coming out this year. And we have just launched our new furniture collection MESHED!
BUSTER + PUNCH / www.busterandpunch.com