Mike Smith Studio (MSS) is a design and fabrication facility that has been uniquely instrumental in realising contemporary works of art, design and architecture since 1989.
The design and engineering skills of MSS have produced a series of remarkable creative and experimental works.
Our hands-on approach and unrivalled archive of projects, along with experience gained over the last 26 years, means that we can help our clients with every aspect of a project. All works require a balance between the practical and the creative – working within the constraints of the brief and budget, whilst sometimes inventing new techniques and processes for fabrication – we can assist our clients every step of the way.
The Studio has an extensive range of facilities in-house with an interdisciplinary staff from diverse backgrounds such as fine art, industrial design, architecture and engineering.
Over the years we have also developed relationships with a wide range of specialists and subcontractors for specific processes we do not have in-house. We aim to provide a complete solution for each client’s project requirements, however simple or complex.
We have a considerable international reputation and have worked with over fifteen hundred clients worldwide – artists, architects, designers, museums, structural engineers and developers. We also regularly undertake conservation and repairs to various works.
Mike Smith Studio has a unique approach to design informed by an acute understanding of aesthetic concerns and creative requirements. Projects undertaken by MSS often involve design and invention, could be static or kinetic, at any scale. This may entail designing mechanisms that are incorporated into the workings of a piece, or are the pieces themselves. The design process begins through conversations and develops through sketches and to CAD drafting if appropriate. Not all projects employ CAD and CNC processing, many are made entirely by hand from start to finish.
We often use prototyping as a means to develop ideas or make decisions prior to production, often as a section at full scale. Prototypes and samples are a useful tool for taking projects further before committing to production and have many other benefits.
Consultation at Mike Smith Studio is the first step in transforming ideas into 3 dimensional forms. This often takes place in the form of a project feasibility study.
The studio has over 25 years of experience working with a wide variety of materials. Through this we have acquired a great deal of expertise, an extensive database and an archive of information, allowing us to offer answers to the various challenges with which we are presented. We apply these studio resources to tailor-make solutions for each project.
We can offer feasibility studies or advice on:
Planning department requirements
Health and safety issues
Crating & transport logistics
Conservation & archival concerns
Fabrication is the manifestation of design. At Mike Smith Studio this is where ideas and experience meet, a testing ground for design solutions to be either modified or signed off. The facilities at MSS enable design to evolve in conjunction with production, so that what takes place on the drawing board also works in practicality. The diversity of projects undertaken at MSS has enabled us to continually amplify our fabrication facilities and has resulted in an extensive workshop that makes available a broad range of skills and techniques. Often we use our equipment unconventionally to provide solutions - jigs may have to be constructed or tools redesigned to help fabricate works.
All our interactions follow our unparalleled approach to production. A great deal of care is taken through out the fabrication of a project to ensure that the quality is appropriate to our clients' expectations and the nature of the project.
Management at Mike Smith Studio provides the logistical support for project realisation and is the second step beyond a feasibility study. Managing a project may involve coordinating an application package for permission from local planning authorities, or a proposal package for private institutions with method statements and itemised budgets including equipment hire, crating and transportation, installation specifics, RAMS and maintenance scheduling. We act as a general liaison in negotiation with relevant parties to oversee the implementation of this package within strict time and budget constraints. Interacting with us in a management capacity may involve fabrication, installation or both.
Mike Smith Studio has extensive experience of enabling fine art exhibitions. As a result the Studio's knowledge of museum and gallery protocol is invaluable. This know-how also encompasses crating, transportation and installation capabilities. Shipping crates are designed and fabricated to accommodate shipping requirements for even the most fragile works. We have established relationships with reputable art moving agencies and are able to arrange all transportation requirements of works. We often install work which are produced in the studio, but it is not a necessity as we can provide drawings and instructions for other parties to follow. We are also available to install existing works and undertake such work on a regular basis for individuals, Museums and collections, etc.
We are approved contractors for TfL, City of London, The Science Museum, The Natural History Museum and others. Being pre-approved means projects can run smoothly with no delays.