Interview: Billy Lloyd

Tell us a bit about your background.
I am originally from Oxford but moved to London in 2003 to study ceramics at Camberwell College of Art and Design, part of University of the Arts, London. Following this, I assisted Lisa Hammond MBE at Maze Hill Pottery for one year before becoming an apprentice to Julian Stair OBE at this studio in East Dulwich from 2007-2011, where I learnt to throw porcelain tableware on a potter’s wheel. I subsequently won an award to move to Cockpit Arts and establish my own studio, and my first major retailer was Patricia Carluccio’s shop Few and Far, which she established soon after selling her stake in Carluccio’s. Around that time, I was fortunate to be championed both by Priscilla and her brother, the late Sir Terence Conran, and went on to collaborate with numerous restaurants, hotels, retailers and architects within the luxury sector. I gradually evolved from a potter making small batches of functional ceramics (ranging from tableware to lighting) to a designer for mass production.

How did you first find yourself working within manufacturing?
My first foray into manufacturing ceramics came from a collaboration with renowned fine tea retailer Lalani and Co. I designed a single serve teapot with them, which I originally made in my studio. However, it soon became clear that we needed a higher volume than I was able to produce alone, so we ventured north to the potteries (as Stoke-on-Trent is affectionately known) in search of a manufacturer. During this process I realised there were some gaps in my knowledge of industrial processes, so I applied to the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust (the charitable arm of the Royal Warrant Holders Association / RWHA) for a grant, which enabled me to learn through one-to-one hands on tuition with masters of plaster model and mould making, the traditional means of mass producing ceramics. This enhanced my practical skills, which I was then able to bring into my studio as a means of product prototyping as well as broaden my understanding of manufacturing terminology and processes – I learned to speak the same language as the factory.

Tell us a bit about what you do at Monno.
I am the Creative Director at Monno; my role encompasses new product development as well as the visual identity of the company. Working out of our London design studio and showroom, I collaborate with our in house design team as well as select external designers to broaden our portfolio of products. Having run my own small business prior to joining the Monno family, I’m naturally interested in bringing new business to the company, so I play an active role in new business development too.

Can you share with us your favourite collaboration to date and why?
I very much enjoyed collaborating with Paul and Valda Goodfellow of Goodfellow’s in the development of my bone china collection, Modular. This was designed specifically for hospitality

China or Porcelain?
Well, that’s like asking me which is my favourite children! Truth be told, they both have their merits; bone china is a wonderfully pure white material

What do you see for the future of Monno?
We are making positive strides into the Horeca market; be it through collaborations with distributors, hoteliers or chefs, we are keen to make our mark within the hospitality sector. We have also invested in a 3D printer, which has greatly benefited our rapid prototyping ability in the design studio. Furthermore, our factories in Dhaka are undergoing a major modernisation, with a new fast firing glost kiln and automatic cup-line having both recently been installed with more shiny new equipment on to follow!

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