Constructing the Sowvital Pop-Up: In Conversation with Nicholas Rogers

🕐 5 min read

Project Manager for Sowvital’s Pop-Up Space, Nicholas Rogers discusses the journey from conception to launch of 81 Redchurch Street.

Can you tell us, in your own words, what you do?

I currently work in creative production. The thing with being in production is that it isn’t just my creative vision - I get to implement interesting parts of what the client wants. I met Jack on a previous project where he commissioned ceramic artworks. He got me on board when I became freelance and put me in charge of the Sowvital pop-up space.

How did you go about realising the vision for the pop-up?

I take clients’ visions and make them physical. I learn about the ins and outs of the brand identity and what energy the client wants in their space. It’s a lot like trying to understand a person and how best to communicate with them because you are doing exactly that with their customers.

I worked towards bringing existing ideas we had into being, such as commissioning craftsmakers, making the pop-up adaptable, and making sure the project had longevity. This also involved other people from the Sowvital world to come and take over the creative space.

It’s not about the individual product - this is about building a platform to host a multitude of people and to start dialogues, such as with the “Metavert” exhibition, for instance. I really liked the initial points that Jack brought to the table. Now it’s my responsibility to communicate his vision.
Can you tell us a bit about your experience working with commissioned craftsmakers?

I have a background in commissioning craftsmakers whilst working at The New Craftsman. I’m a craftsmaker myself and so is everyone in my family. I love the energy craftsmakers bring to these commercial projects.

For the glassmaking element, I chose the Neon Workshops, based in Wakefield. They do large scale commissioning for artists who are mostly based in the North East. They’re pioneers of neon glassblowing. With these collaborations, you always have to start with face-to-face contact, to communicate the creative elements of the project upfront and ensure you incorporate their input into the commission.

The joiners JR Joinery are based in Biggin Hill and came through our architect Sandip, who’d worked with an inspired amount of independent businesses throughout the project’.They have an eye for detail in making things that will be used everyday in the home. We saw this as a huge asset, given that most commercial joiners who create primarily for shops might not share our vision to make something long-lasting and sustainable.

As a result, we’ve integrated some unique, inlaid Sowvital branded etching on our woodwork with wouldn’t otherwise be possibleThese really well considered details show just how our joiners are thinking about the design’s future use, as well as that of the present. Together, we aim for a fit built to last, not just a shop fit.
Can you please tell us about the process of meaning-making and community-building in the pop-up, and its place in Sowvital’s philosophy?

For events, it’s important to align yourself with a community, as we’ve endeavoured to do in Shoreditch by liaising with local organisations such as the non-profit onRedchurch group.. We don’t want to be a shop without any community alignment, so we’re incorporating our events directly into the neighbourhood. Our aim is to incorporate our pop-up existence and events into the overall vibe of Shoreditch and the East End.

What’s something you’d want pop-up visitors to take away from their visit?

Our primary goal for visitors is for them to be inspired by Sowvital’s brand values, as well as its products. I hope visitors come away wanting to be part of the Sowvital world and to learn about plant care, to appreciate the digital media displays, and to be interested in the ambient pieces we’ve included. It’s not just about the product, it’s about the artwork, the furniture we’ve curated, the events we’ve programmed; it’s about Sowvital as an overall aesthetic and approach to plant care.