“My greatest fear is that the entries will play it safe.”

We grab 5 minutes with Paul Kerlaff, the man behind Central Station’s Shadow Screen┬ácompetition. He’s looking for people from a variety of creative backgrounds to submit designs for his free-standing and fixed screens commissioned through With Kerlaff. There’s a fee and a licensing agreement for the winner.

How would you describe the competition in one sentence?

A chance to build new working relationships across design disciplines, with some hard cash thrown in for good measure.

What are your reasons for collaborating with Central Station on the project?

Central Station is the ideal place to run the Shadow Screen project, because it’s a new, open platform accessible by all disciplines. As a network, it has the reach and technical capability, but in the end it is the team that I’m working with and the people that make up the Central Station community that create the real value. Like any online entity, it’s nothing without the people.

What excites you most about the project?

I genuinely have no idea what the entries will be like, and that’s a great thing. Process that creates the opportunity for surprise can often yield the most valuable results.

Any areas you are more hesitant about?

My greatest fear is that the entries will play it safe.

What is it about past Shadow Screen designs that have stood out for you?

Jacqueline Poncelet’s designs are very successful because they evoke natural silhouettes in a synthetic material. The Maple Leaf design, for example, is great because it can be cropped to any size – but I’m looking for designs which compliment rather than imitate the existing range. I have a huge respect for the skill of textile artists and other skilled creative people, which is why I’m asking for their input rather than designing everything myself.

If you could give one piece of advice to applicants what would it be?

It’s better to regret something that you have done rather than something you haven’t. Take risks.

Find out more about the Shadow Screen opportunity here.