If you don’t know Anthony Burrill’s name, you’ll almost certainly know his work. Anthony is a graphic artist, printmaker, and designer whose work has been exhibited in galleries around the world. His now infamous “Work Hard and Be Nice To People” adorns that walls of many a stylish home, including his gorgeous converted barn in Wittersham, Kent. He lives there with his wife, Emma, their two children, Pip the spaniel and six chickens.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am a graphic artist, printmaker and designer. I work primarily with words, creating typographic letterpress posters. I also work on commissioned projects with people like Apple, Google, Hermés and London Underground.
Is this your dream job?
Yes, it is my dream job, it’s all I’ve ever wanted to do. I enjoy the freedom, doing what I love every day and meeting and working with inspiring people. I find it hard not to be inspired, the world is an inspiring place if you look at it the right way. I get lots of inspiration from everyday experiences and conversations, I try and remember the good stuff and feed it into my work.
What exciting projects have you been working on lately?
For the past year I’ve been working on a book called ‘Make It Now!’, it’s about my approach to work and how to get things done. The process of making the book has reinvigorated my creative thinking, I’ve reconnected with what originally excited me about design and communication.
What does Habitat mean to you?
A place that’s held on to it’s personality and roots grounded in quality democratic design. When Emma and I were students at the Royal College of Art we’d often call in to the Habitat on King’s Road to have a browse, unfortunately it was out of our price range in those days.
After graduating from college we moved into a three storey house in Brixton. We saved up for a Robin Day ‘Forum’ sofa from Habitat, it was our first ‘grown up’ piece of furniture and we still love it today. After nearly twenty years of family life it looks even more beautiful than ever.
What’s your favourite thing about your home?
The simplicity of the space, it’s a calming environment to live and work in.
How have you made this house your home? How would you describe your interior style?
We worked closely with our architects Nick and Rosamund England to produce a house and studio that is both contemporary and comfortable. We’ve used simple materials and carefully enhanced the qualities of the existing building. I’d describe it as ‘agricultural minimalism’.
Tell us about your most treasured possessions?
We are both avid collectors of prints and posters, unfortunately we’ve run out of wall space to display everything. We’ve recently bought a series of vintage posters originally from the Miró Museum in Barcelona, the colours and design are both beautiful and inspiring.
What’s travelled with you from home to home?
Our longest serving and best used possessions are our hotel crockery, we bought it all from a catering shop in Clapham. It’s incredibly hard wearing and almost impossible to break!
Where is the heart of your home? Do you have a favourite room? Where do you spend most of your time?
The ground floor is one open space, that’s where we all spend our time. In the summer the doors open out onto the garden, making it feel even more spacious. As a family we love to cook and eat together, it’s lovely to spend time together.
If you could re-live one moment in this house what would it be?
The first day we moved in, before the building work started. We set up the children’s trampoline in the orchard, it was late Summer. We spent the first evening outside running around and playing, excited to be in our new home.
Tell us something interesting about yourself or your home that not many people know.
The original part of the building dates back to the 1890s. In it’s time it’s been an artist’s studio and enamelling workshop, we found fragments of carved stone sculptures and pieces of worked metal in the garden. It feels good to live and work in a building that’s always been a productive place.
Who would you invite to your dream dinner party? And why?
The Victorian farmer who originally had the Granary built, I’d be interested to find out what he thinks about how we’ve done with the place.
Make it Now! By Anthony Burrill out now, published by Ebury Press. For more information visit www.penguin.co.uk