Beyond Creative – Obe & Co

Hello Folks! Hope you’re all ready to be super inspired! This is something I wanted to share with you all for some time now! Ages ago [or it sure does feel like it] back in May, I attended Grand Designs LIVE in Excel London. Due to time restraints [boo…hiss] I wasn’t able to stay for too long so whizzed through the event. As I walked past one of the stands I just had to do a double-take and back-up my steps to take a look at what was simply, beautiful. It’s not many items that make me stop dead in my tracks but Obe & Co certainly did! I managed to grab a quick chat with Graham Marjanovic  – Owner & Founder who creates, by hand might I add, these amazing lighting pieces. I wanted to find out a bit more about him, his creations and what the inspiration was behind his story. Take a look…

HOP: Did you always know that you wanted to enter the fabulous world of product design

OC: To be honest I really don’t see myself as a product designer, I’m more of an Inventor/Artist. Although words are needed to define things, for me describing my work as a product just makes me wince.


HOP: How did you go about changing careers from Newspaper Printer to successful, creative Artist  and learning a new trade

OC: I’d not been happy in my career for quite some years but its difficult to make changes when a job is well paid and buys you trappings. I dreamt of changing a lot, explored ideas, did some courses but fundamentally held onto a dream until opportunity knocked with a redundancy announcement and a call for volunteers!

HOP: What challenges did you face once you decided on this venture

OC: Learning a whole new set of skills that have to accompany a creative idea. Having an idea and making it seems the easiest bit, its all the rest like running a business, marketing, packaging, people skills, self belief, self criticism in a constructive way seems to be the hard bit. I’ve got to say I had zero help from the UK government, which has been hard to get my head round.

Big boo hiss!

It’s a shame as there must be so much talent out there that has just fizzled, which could have been helped and allowed to shine and in turn make the UK money, providing jobs. Silly really.


HOP: I really loved your innovative lighting feature [The Spotty – 3-in-1-light] displayed at Grand Designs 2012. What was the inspiration behind it

OC: Thank you, I’m glad you like it. It evolved from a shape that I liked when working on the lathe. The finer points and subtle details within the design and its body shape have evolved as I saw more ways to add versatility. I love the idea of making something that has more than one use, to me it’s a really worthwhile use of the materials and energy invested into it.


HOP: What’s next for Obe & Co. Design

OC: For me it’s been such an explosion of ideas in the last two years since being freed from a job that didn’t allow me to be creative. There is so much that I have ideas for. I would say that the Obe-lit, Coffee Table and Spotty are a small fraction of what’s waiting to be released from my creativity.

HOP: I’m most happiest when…

OC: …I’m with my girlfriend.


HOP: If I was stuck on a desert island, my three creative must haves would be…

OC: This is great ! I’m such a desert island disks fan! OK, first my studio, build brick by brick and containing all my stuff, My MAC as its essential, My bath and a supply of hot water as its here that I can relax and follow shapes and ideas in my head.


HOP: What advice would you give to someone who is thinking of changing careers, who is facing redundancy

OC: Well if you have a feeling that you have more to offer and are unhappy then you should be having a go to change career. If you can look in the media and see other people making a living doing something that you know that you could do a better job of you should have a try. Easy to say and speaking personally I’m far happier now then I ever was although its been, and is a hard road. Just hold on to the dream and don’t let others around you, (probably out of concern for you) talk some sense into you.


Are you just as inspired as I am by Graham’s story? Fancy setting up your own business too? Let me know your thoughts!

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