MA Narrative Environments

In Practice – with graduate Annemarie Mayo.

In this edition of our In Practice series, highlighting the trajectories of MA Narrative Environments graduates, we catch up with Annemarie Mayo, an Interior Architect.

– Tell us about a narrative environment you’ve worked on since graduating.

I came across a local community initiative in Finsbury Park which immerses artists into a particular music album story world. They were about to open their doors to the world of Kate Bush’s Hounds of Love. As I am a huge Kate fan, I roped my partner and a few MA NE friends into designing and building a Wuthering Heights karaoke booth. Visitors walked through a misty corridor towards Heathcliff’s window. There, ghostly words suddenly appear… the lyrics of the song!

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– What’s the most unexpected collaboration you have been involved in?

My direct manager at Maggie & Rose is Finlay Cowan, an illustrator who cut his teeth in the design world working for Storm Thorgerson. Finlay is well known in music spheres for working on several commissions for music artists, particularly, for conceiving and art directing the “Backs” photoshoot for Pink Floyd. 

I have worked with Finlay on several embellishments and finishing touches to the Maggie & Rose’s Islington family club and nursery. We also conceived and produced the newly finished Maggie & Rose public café, within Islington Square. Here, the shop front features a play kitchen, which children can access. This reinforces the message that eating, playing and learning is what Maggie & Rose is all about. 

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– Is there a current narrative environment you would recommend people to visit?

Now that so many of our favourite galleries are closed, we turn towards the online dimension for our narrative explorations. This puts all narrative environments, both past and present on an equal footing. Christo’s recent death prompted me to have a fresh look at his temporary project Floating Piers on his and his late wife Jeanne-Claude’s website.

– What narrative environment method or approach have you found useful in your practice?

The story matrix is the bare bones of every narrative environment project. While working for Hemingway Design, I had the opportunity to consult during the early stages of ABBA’s new exhibition at the O2. Our story matrix brought together the political climate each album was released in, the four members’ personal lives, as well as the environment best suited to the retelling of the ABBA story.

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– What advice would you give a current student about to graduate?

Another great tool we all learned is the importance of self-reflection. This will become all the more important as you try to expand your footprint qualitatively. You never know how the next opportunity will present itself to you… it could be through a personal connection, stumbling across a flyer in a coffee shop, or just being at the right place at the right time. Be mindful of what you have done, or could be doing, to make meaningful connections with the world around you.