ldner #210: massimo buster minale
Inspired by music, metalwork and motorcycles, London lifestyle brand Buster + Punch makes everything from lighting to custom bikes, and the man behind the whole operation is our LDNER this week. Meet Massimo Buster Minale…
Where do you live in London and what do you like about the area?
I live on the Southbank and I love the area as you can literally walk in a 500m radius and get more than a glimpse of all that is great (and not so great) about London. From the Tate modern to Borough Market, Covent Garden to Soho. What I don’t like is that you get a front row seat to all the ‘cleaning up’ and gentrification of my home town, all the most interesting ‘dirty’ parts of the city are getting turned into glass skyscrapers and Wagamamas, which I am not a fan of.
You worked in architecture and design before starting Buster + Punch, what prompted you to go out on your own?
I worked for some of the largest architecture firms in the city, such as Foster & Partners and Richard Rogers, however I slowly became frustrated by the inevitable ‘slow-pace’ of the job and turned to my other passion which is building custom motorcycles. By day I was an architect and by night I would make motorbikes for some of London’s most interesting characters. Soon the night time gig could pay the bills and I quit the day job. Many of those customers that bought motorbikes from me also knew I was an architect and asked me to make products for their homes and the love affair begun. Buster + Punch was born in 2013 and I suppose you could say it was the love-child of my two great passions – architecture and motorbikes.
Motorcycles and homeware isn’t the most obvious combination, why did you think both things could work together?
To be honest this wasn’t something that was planned, more something I stumbled across. On the one hand making custom motorbikes is all about the skill associated with crafting solid metals into beautiful functional details and on the other hand people live in homes that are full of ugly, plastic looking functional fittings. So surely there could be some magic if the two met. It was only when we started to look at the light switch, did everything start to make sense for us. Every home across Europe has white plastic light switches, so we transformed these into beautiful jewel-like objects made from solid metal and only costing a few pounds more than the usual ‘crappy’ ones. When we launched the range in 2014 we had a queue around the block of young people trying to get their hands on them. I don’t think you would ever see the same at B&Q or Home Depot! This is where we found our magic – taking ordinary functional fittings that most of us have forgotten about and making them extraordinary and desirable.
What products are there a real demand for at the moment and what homeware trends do you think will be big this year?
We sell a lot of all our home details at the moment – LED bulbs, light switches, kitchen hardware, door handles etc – as people are really starting to enjoy matching all those forgotten details in their homes, it starts to become an obsession. Once you have the light switches you have to match with the door handles. In terms of trends for 2017 – terrazzo and stone are big and also smoked bronze and black details on light furniture and walls is huge.
You hosted an art collab and exhibition with Endless throughout February, is this something you plan to do regularly?
We have always been heavily associated and inspired by the street art scene in London and we regularly have art and photography exhibitions in our London and Stockholm stores. Our only stipulations for these is that they are young aspiring artists. We will continue to do so and are constantly on the lookout for the next trailblazers in the London art scene.
Describe your perfect day in London.
The sun is out and it’s a spring Sunday. It’s early – it’s always early as I have a young son! But I love London when everyone is still asleep. First stop is breakfast in Borough Market with my family. Then we stroll along the Southbank, over Waterloo Bridge and into Soho for brunch with friends. Then we hop in a cab and make it over to Columbia Road to buy some flowers in the market and walk around the shops. The day will end up on our roof terrace with a decent book. My weeks are usually hectic and spent travelling, so I love spending the weekends walking and eating and to be honest – I love not doing too much.