Homegirl London pays homage to Lane. Joff and Ollie make graphic design pieces for the home which includes paper lampshades and screen prints plus a few greetings cards. They started out with a design studio which now has prestigious clients including Margaret Howell, Paul Smith and The National Trust. Four years ago they satisfied their love of mid-century modern with a line of wall art screen prints. Later they added their unique paper Twin Tone Lampshades which are so stylish that Little Greene asked them to make a collection using their heritage paint colours. I caught up with the duo to find out more about Lane and their online shop Lane by Post.

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Little Greene Editions Twin Tone Lampshades

Meet the Owners of Lane

Lane was founded by Jonathan Casciani and Oliver Wood who are graphic designers by trade with a design studio known quite simply as Joff + Ollie. They both studied Fine Art, Joff in Exeter and Ollie in Sunderland. They met whilst working in the bar at Broadway Arts Cinema in Nottingham which was the centre of the creative scene at the time. They hit it off and started their graphic design agency which is now some fifteen years ago. During the last four years they have been designing and making graphic designed products for the home.

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Jonathan Casciani (Joff) / Oliver Wood (Ollie)

Joff tells me about his background – “I grew up in Nottingham, my mum is English and father Italian. I had the opportunity to go to Italy and Europe at an early age which wasn’t that common in the 80’s because it was mainly package holidays to Spain. This was very influential as I got to experience Italian culture which was very different to 80’s Britain. I studied Fine Art in Exeter from 1994 where I produced photography, digital and film work and a bit of sculpture. I also got Involved in the music scene DJing and promoting events. After graduating I moved back to Nottingham and met a clothing designer called John Rowley who ran a company called AJ Black. He gave me a free studio and I ended up working with them and collaborating on various projects. This completely opened my mind to the design world, as John was a consultant that had worked with the likes of Dries van Noten, Bella Freud and Vivienne Westwood, so it was an inspiring place to be.”

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Soriano 1951 Screen Print / Black and China White Twin Tone Lampshade

Ollie gives me some insight into his background – “I’m also from Nottingham. After studying in Fine Art in the early nineties at Sunderland University I lived in London and Melbourne where I continued to make artwork and picked up a few commissions. On moving back to the UK I was almost immediately asked to join an artists’ residency in Reykjavik which really helped me to change the way I viewed the work I was making. It had become more graphic and I’d become more and more interested in commercial applications for it. Meeting Joff back in Nottingham after this, we seemed to be thinking along the same lines having come from a similar starting point. We began producing design work together and things just grew from there.”

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Swimming Yellow Screen Print

The pair set up a graphic design consultancy with Haydn Evans (who met a Norwegian woman and moved to Norway in the name of love). This all happened quite organically, they explain – “We couldn’t really pin down exactly when we started our graphic design business, we were young ex Fine Art graduates with a few ideas and a load of ambition when we started.” They did however, have a vision – “Because of our fine art backgrounds we wanted to produce interesting work for the arts and cultural sector, working alongside artists, curators and galleries which we still do today. We’re lucky that we get the freedom to pursue what we want to do and how we want to do it. It’s very hard work but for us it’s a chance to make a contribution, to be less governed by a dominant corporate world and present a more ethical alternative.”

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Rose Peaks Screen Print

They explain the progression into making products for the home – “About four years ago we decided to indulge in our passion for the mid-century era so we produced a range of hand pulled screen prints which is now the basis of this venture. Later came the Twin Tone Lampshade and other products because we were passionate about good design and producing using the best UK materials and craftspeople.” They explained the name behind the business – “It’s a good word and has good English associations. It’s short, a bit romantic and looks good typographically. We couldn’t get this name for the website so that’s called Lane by Post.”

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Little Green Editions Basalt and Brighton Twin Tone Lampshade

Joff explains how they work as a duo – “You’ve got to have contrasting complementary skills and support each other to exploit your best qualities. This means taking your share of the boring work and focusing on the exciting bits you do best. The overall design is determined by myself and Ollie working together, but Ollie tends to focus more on the detailed work, myself more on styling, research and colours. The main advantage of working as a pair, is that you’ve always got someone to bounce ideas off. This is important when you get a creative block, working with someone else can help unlock it.”

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From Land and Sea Screen Print / Serpentine and orange Aurora Greene Editions Twin Tone Lampshade

Radford in Nottingham is their base which just happens to be where they ended up after their degrees. It turns out that it’s a great city for creatives with a thriving community. They tell me – “There’s a fantastic range of makers and manufacturers so it is a great place to be developing design led products. Radford is a poor old Victorian industrial place with a diverse community which we love. We’re based in Primary Studios, an artist creative community ran by a group of visionary artists in an old Victorian School. We have a large space with low rent and get to work with like minded people.”

View the Lane Collection

At the heart of their designs is a clean aesthetic, strong colours, graphic patterns and sustainable, natural materials. They started off making their screen prints which are hand-pulled by experienced crafts people in Nottingham. They use quality paper which has been produced by one of the oldest and last remaining specialty paper makers based in the Lake District. It is sustainably produced and FSC accredited. Their designs include Honeycomb which has been inspired by a hexagonal door knob found on a modernist university building in Milan. Rose Peaks is their interpretation of the Norwegian landscape. Soriano 1951 celebrates 1950’s design found in the small town of Soriano Nel Cimino in Italy. From Land and Sea which is reminiscent of their trip to the Sands of Morar in Scotland while Sardines is about fresh fish in the British Isles found in Millaig in Scotland.

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Honeycomb Screen Print

Joff tells me about their design influences – “Our work, especially the screen prints, tends to broadly European in style. It references mid-century art, think Ellesworth Kelly, Frank Stella, Donald Judd and designers like Max Huber, John and Sylvia Reid. Our hand pulled screen prints are inspired by many sources. Mid-century European graphic design is probably the root of many of them. There was a lot of strongly mathematical and geometric work being produced in Milan, Switzerland, Germany and Netherlands in the 50s, 60s and 70s. The use of composition, colour and form was wonderful and has inspired us a lot over the years. I guess it’s a modern take on that without being retro.”

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Soriano 1950 Screen Print

Colour plays an important part of their work and Joff explains this in relation to their prints. “In terms of colour and form, they are very much influenced by how we see them working in an interior. We’re always looking to select colours that work with the types of paints people are choosing and vintage and contemporary furniture and accessories people have. They are part of the same language. The colours are often shaped by the screen printing process itself, as when you are mixing real colour (as opposed to digital colour) you get a completely different level of density and feeling. I think a good print can create a real focal point for a room and really contrast or complement an interior scheme, prints talk to you in a way that furniture can’t.”

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Circles Red and Blue Screen Print

A more recent project is their colourful lampshades which has been a big hit in the world of interiors. The Twin Tone Lampshade is cleverly made from one single material. Two sheets of heavyweight paper are bonded together to show one colour on the inside and another on the outside. It was originally launched in seven different colour ways and in 2014, they collaborated with luxury paint company Little Greene to produce the lampshade in six expertly chosen colour combinations.

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Loft White and Orange Aurora Greene Editions Twin Tone Lampshade

They explain the project with Little Greene – “Although the lamp shades are ‘twin tone’, the emphasis is actually about putting three colours together, two in the lampshade and one on the wall. We worked with their heritage collection which was much more interesting when we uncovered the history behind each colour. Light Peach Blossom, for example, was used in Brighton’s Royal Pavilion and the Regency Town House’s dining room. Orange Aurora is from the 1950s and was a popular accent colour used with magnolia on walls and a pinky beige on doors. These lampshades are a great way to introduce classic colours into your space while tempting you to paint your walls.”

Buy the Lane Products

You can buy the screen prints, lampshades and greetings cards from the website Lane by Post. To give you an idea about prices, the Twin Tone Lampshades are £65. Hand pulled screen prints are £55 unframed and £125 framed. They can ship these items overseas. The screen prints and lampshades can be adapted in terms of colours for the trade upon request.

Author: Homegirl London. Thanks: Jonathan Casciani, Oliver Wood and Rosie Needham-Smith.