Izzy Parker-Nasir is a set designer and installation artist. She’s been making work from her studio in Bussey Building for 5 years and was recently invited to work on the costume sculptures for Kylie Minogue’s Glastonbury performance. She tells us how she met the person responsible for this collaboration at Bussey Building Open Studios three years ago and how working together on various projects she has learnt a huge amount from him. Izzy also chats about how a design project like this develops from being given a brief to playing around with concepts, materials and designs up to finally executing the ideas.

Tell us a bit about what you do?

I work on a huge variety of projects but have two dominant strands to my practice; one being set design and prop styling for stills and film for the fashion industry and the other is creating installation art that explores if we can express emotion through the materiality of a space.

How long have you been based in Bussey?

I first got a studio in January 2014, so over 5 years now. I had many studio mates over the years and now share with my long-suffering husband Naveed. He’s a filmmaker and I’m constantly making his editing equipment dusty!

What is a typical day in the studio?

I don’t think a typical day really exists for me as I work on a project-by-project basis. It often involves making a mess with whatever material I’m using at the time, designing on my laptop, colour swatches and annoying prop houses with last minute client requests!

You recently worked on Kylie Minogue’s Glastonbury headliner set. How did that come about?

Carl Robertshaw invited me to join the project, he was the lead designer for Kylie’s Avalon costume sculptures with creative direction from Kylie’s stylist Frank Strachan and lighting designer Rob Sinclair. Unfortunately I was at max capacity at the time, so I couldn’t be on board for the whole project. Carl decided to invite me in for a few days to consult on the project during the design and development stage which was really exciting.

Interestingly I first met Carl through the Bussey Building Open Studios about 3 years ago, he lives in Peckham and had a studio at Bussey many moons ago so was checking out how things have developed since. We had a convoluted conversion about bath mats and the rest is history! I had just finished an installation at Milton Keynes Arts Centre and had a mini part of it hanging over my workbench that had caught his eye. We have a common interest in how you can visually create the sense of volume with multiple singular elements, so swapped details with the hope to work together in the future. Later that day I checked out his work and was blown away by his set design. Since then, I have been very honoured that Carl has asked me to work on a few high profile projects with him. He’s an incredible mentor and so down to earth considering his client base!

What was the brief and how did you come up with the idea for the project?

I fell in love with the abstract brief which was to create a selection of wearable structures from camping ready-mades for Kylie’s dancers and backing vocalists. When Carl was first approached by Frank we bounced some ideas around, pulling in lots of catwalk references and creating an overall moodboard. We then developed colourways and character arcs for each costume as starting points. The majority of the designing happened during the making by playing around with form and composition; deconstructing the camping gear and re-appropriating it onto the body. Carl is a master of carbon and glass fibre so we used a lot of rods to create forms. We had a team of 5 on the project, all bringing in different skill-sets that worked really well.

What’s coming up next?

I have a few commercial gigs in the pipeline but what I’m most excited about is putting some time aside to development my personal work. I’ve recently been awarded a Kings Artist Residency which involves collaborating with neuroscientist Dr Gemma Modinos to explore the theme of using making (craft) as a communication tool to express emotions.

What’s on the Izzy Parker Studios playlist?

My mate Shola Aleje made me a brilliant playlist last year that I still pretty much have on repeat in the studio; here are some of my fav tracks from it:

Izzy Parker is Production Designer of film production company Girafingo – a joint venture between her and husband Naveed Parker-Nasir who is a filmmaker.

Follow Izzy on Instagram, Twitter & Website

The Kylie Minogue Glastonbury project was also in collaboration with Helena Lacy, Bougie Bourgeoisie, Juniper Lai & James Hayter