Sir Paul Smith is an English fashion designer renowned for his menswear. He is both commercially successful and highly respected within the fashion industry. Smith was knighted in 2000, after nearly 30 years as a fashion designer icon. Followers of Smith are well aware of his Covent Garden office. It is filled to the rafters with miscellaneous items, priceless art, and ephemera of all sorts. The office, one could say is almost as legendary as its occupant. The large room although bordering on nick-nack mayhem, is actually a demonstration of the genius that is Smith. It is a deliberate display of odd books, toys, a few bikes, CDs, briefcases, hats, gadgets and other valuable things to Smith that is in fact, a very lovely mess. It mirrors a mind that has many interests and diverse passions.
We get to see this display of studied clutter through the work of Nottingham-based photographer David Baird. Baird was given the singular opportunity to take an intimate look inside, capturing the famous room and designer in a 485 megapixel image allowing a viewer to zoom in and see every intricate detail. The final image, which took 20 hours to assemble, is formed of 180 high resolution images and is absolutely seamless.
“I had never seen one taken inside and remembered seeing photographs of Paul’s office and the sheer amount of amazing things he had collected over the years and thought it would lend itself to the technique,” says Baird, whose work does justice to this office that brings to mind and old saying, “a clean desk is the sign of a blank mind,” which quite aptly describes this celebrated room.
Intentionally or not, and thanks to Sir Paul Smith’s designer inclinations, even his chaotic office looks like art. “My first shop… was only 12 feet square, with no windows. Being such a small space, when customers came in, it was very confrontational,” he once said to The Telegraph. “I realised that having a poster from a rock concert, or some old notebooks from a school supply shop, or funny penknives, was something of an icebreaker.”