Imogen Thomas has created a multifunctional space aimed at re-localising consumer consumption and encouraging more sustainable lifestyles. Constituted as a not-for-profit Community Interest Company, Sum Space marries art and technology to create a hyper-local space for socialising, learning, creating and accessing curating products. Sum Space is arranged over three levels within one footprint: Studio, Cultural and Market, all bound together by artificial intelligence and an app which allows the space to respond to consumer interests and needs. Information is used in a multitude of ways to steer the space and to meet the growing demand for localised consumption – allowing local artisans in the Studio Space to co-design products which meet local demands.
This kind of creative collaboration is at the heart of Sum Space, bringing traditional artisan crafts together with data-driven design in a sustainable, transparent business model, promoting a healthy balance between humans and technology. The name of the space derives from the Gestalt theory: “The whole is greater than the sum of the parts”, reflecting Sum Space’s positioning as the total sum of its community and forward-thinking philosophy.
Thomas’ research into ‘future studies’ indicated a lifestyle trend of consumers slowing down, moving away from mainstream commercial locations towards northern regions of the UK such as Sheffield. Kelham Island, Sheffield is a vibrant, creative community so she used this neighbourhood as the primary location to visualise the concept. However, each Sum Space is intended to adapt the original brand identity, standing independently but united as a group.
Thomas was a finalist for the 2020 Graduate Fashion Week Fashion Communication Award. She industry experience from around the world, as a Creative Intern at fashion and lifestyle forecaster Unique Style Platform in London and as a Marketing Intern at ESP Trendlab, a trend research and consulting agency in New York. Since graduating she has been freelancing as a communications assistant to Anna Starmer founder and creative director of UK based design studio, Luminary, whose earth-first approach has won them clients including Made.com, Manolo Blank, Estee Lauder and Marks & Spencer.