Meet the maker: ByALEX
ByAlex working in his studio
British designer Alex Swain completed an MA in Graphic Design at London College of Communication in 2005. His brand, ByALEX, creates pure and minimal products for the home and workplace. ByALEX products are available to buy from not just a shop.

What’s your fondest memory from your time at UAL?

Hanging out with a great group from all corners of the world – working with international designers brought so much energy to the projects!

How did your company come about?

I was running a design and branding consultancy in Clerkenwell. Lots of the projects coming through the studio were digital so, because I’d always enjoyed making things, I started to miss physical design challenges. I decided to try designing some furniture, just as a side project. I also lived in a small flat and couldn’t find furniture that was well designed and made from quality materials – I didn’t want IKEA anymore.

Who or what inspires you?

I tend to follow designers who know exactly what they like – people with a strong aesthetic or who are great at responding to a ‘real’ need in the world.

ByAlex working in his studio

What purchase have you currently got your eye on?

I’m currently looking at shelving systems and love Dieter Ram’s work for Vitseo, but recently discovered Made by On & On – they use a mix of materials that gives a much warmer aesthetic overall.

Where is your most inspiring place in London?

Anywhere near the water. I flew over London last week at night and it was amazing to see the Thames snaking through the city. Rivers aren’t as important to a city’s life anymore but they are peaceful places to enjoy.

What advice would you give current students hoping to start their own business?

Start by getting some solid, full-time work experience. Use it to inform what you do and don’t do with your own business; think about what annoys or inspires you. Then it is all about making things, such as prototypes, to take you to the next stage. Be as bold as you can!

What’s next for your brand?

A new stackable chair aimed at trade projects called Lollipop.