Why Not at 30: a great design double act

“Like a band that stays together forever,” says Browns’ Jonathan Ellery in a new film about design studio Why Not Associates made for their 30-year retrospective show at Sheffield Institute of Arts. At the opening of the show, Hannah Ellis reflects on what makes the studio tick and the affection with which its founders are held by their peers

There’s something undeniably charming about the inimitable Gert Dumbar – grinning from ear to ear – referring to Andy Altmann and David Ellis, his former students, as “darlings of mine.” Or Phil Baines, his face lighting up as he delightedly recounts a story about how, in response to a brief set at the Royal College of Art, the friends put on a school play about internal combustion engines. Or how Margret Calvert speaks about the pair with genuine fondness despite, at times, giving away hints that the task of tutoring the group might have been… wearing.

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