With a mixture of talent, taste and a celebrity-filled address book, Dawn Hindle has created a thriving enterprise. Her hotel and jewellery business is a hit with the A-listers, and her passion and eye for design coalescence the cutting edge bohemia. Absolute’s Kasia talks to this maverick female entrepreneur.
wn, tell us a bit about the early explosive days of your Manumission events. What were the people like? How did it impact on your future creativity?
We started the Manumission parties in 1994 when I was in my very early twenties, and Ibiza was still very underexposed and quite a heaven of bohemian freedom. It felt quite isolated from what else was going on in the world back then and was a real eye-opener for me and a great contrast from life as an architecture student from Manchester. It literally meant freedom from slavery and that’s what we attempted to do; give a freedom from everyday life and offer an alternative manumission universe full of loud music, heavy spectacle, sex, opulent surroundings and a laissez faire attitude. It was wild and wonderful and a giant melting pot of people from all over the world, and a sort of non-democracy of backgrounds.
Anything goes, and it usually did it at least three days later! It took the rest of the week to recover then it was back round to Monday. On the dance floor, you could find a plumber from Birmingham rubbing shoulders with transvestites for NYC, John Paul Gaultier to Norman Cook and everything in between. The idea of VIP was nonsensical as it didn’t matter who you were. As long as the attitude was maximum enjoyment and love of life, you were in the party. As the Guardian famously said, Manumission was clubbing for the previously disenchanted and it didn’t disappoint.
I had studied art and architecture and had always had a creative outlook, but I think it made me very aware of people, spaces and how to manipulate that. Use of the unexpected and out of context has always been key for me as well as working with or out of scale. I’m sure that came from the Manumission days; the 360 vision, the sound, smell and action that goes with space and how people use it. The soundtrack to everything, the soundtrack to life. The entertainment industry also has to be one of the most enjoyable businesses to earn a living from. It actually is taking your passions and creating a business from them. I feel very blessed with that. I love making people find the freedom to express themselves and manipulating environments to achieve that. I loved learning from working with great people like Gavin Turk, Mark Fisher, Fischerspooner and countless bands and designers. I think I see in a very 3D way that helps and leads to countless webs that flow into new projects daily.
With the Ibiza population ever-changing, how do the vibe and trends on the Island differ year by year? What’s the definition of ‘edgy’ now? You were the original pioneers of cool & edgy.
Ibiza is a vibe and a trend in itself, imitated and copied worldwide. The interiors, the colours the relaxed boho vibe. A mix of Spanish, North African, the island of pines or the White Island- it has many names and faces. But its landscape is constant. The Mediterranean sunlight that inspired many great artists such as Picasso and architects like Le Corbusier and helped define the modernist movement. The designers, the artists, still flock here. They change over time, some stay but they all take something away with them – a little bit of Ibiza. As do the tourists, whether it’s a drunken night in San Antonio or a world-class nightclub or from the hot summer sun and magical beaches.
The island is a must-see for upcoming trends both musically and visually. It has a very diverse market and clientele. The edgiest thing you seem to be able to do right now is going against the bling tastic monied power struggle and opulent displays of cash and go back to basics! Get a small fishing boat and take that to sea, sit around a fire pit and look up at the stars, actually feel the spirit of the island and dance barefoot. Even great venues such as DC10 are just too packed now. Understated opulent is way more edgy, not giving a damn and not following the crowd. Being an individual in this time rocks. Where have all the freaks gone? Be one.
How did the idea of the Ibiza Rocks brand evolve?
Ibiza Rocks was a two finger salute to the business machine that clubbing in Ibiza was becoming. The repetition, the loss of vibrancy and youth. It had punk attitude and stood out as different not just for the sake of being different but to make a difference, both musically and aesthetically. It created a new soundtrack to the island and very much continues to do so. This year it has acts like Rudimentary, Stormzy, Craig David and Mk. It came from working too long in the nightclub industry and wanting to discover something new. Showcase live music. Dance to a different beat. It grew into a whole brand with hotels, bars, restaurants, merchandise and more into a lifestyle. It’s very much a lifestyle brand. It keeps evolving because it’s a platform that showcases and promotes great new and established talent.
Ibiza Rocks pioneered the way for outdoor, evening parties. With the local laws changing and the importance of having roofs, how may the atmosphere change? We all remember Space with just a bamboo covering ;)…
Ibiza was quite groundbreaking, by bringing the idea of hotel events to Ibiza, giving people a chance to party and listen to music under the stars. That was something a UK audience especially may not have experienced unless under a gloomy UK sky at a festival. The hot steamy nights gave part of the atmosphere, the uniqueness improved the vibe. Unfortunately, it became almost impossible to continue with the concerts in a night time slot due to local politics, and so we have shifted the effects into daytime pool parties much more MC and DJ lead. It is challenging to tell an international artist there is a very low sound monitor on events- they just won’t do it!
Ibiza is changing, and so are the laws. It’s all about working with and in the law, and working with the local residents. I can partly understand the panic to stop take over of what is a unique and tiny island. It’s when general laws affect all that the problems kick in. Space was a product of its time. I for one had the time of my life but would never want to repeat it, we are all grown up a little, and the island is doing so too. It’s now about working within the enforced laws; it used to be a very free mentality.
Ibiza Rocks works with local charities and is very much part of the island community. What do you support?
Ibiza Rocks have always supported not only up and coming talent but charities such as The Teenage Cancer Trust and the Hepatatis C Trust. This year we are supporting War Child but it’s non-exclusive. In Pikes every August we annually host a Freddie Rocks event donating to his charity, Aids Foundation and The Freddie Mercury Trust. With the Hepatatis C Trust, we will be doing an art on a postcard exhibition of Ibiza images and the artist Ben Eine has not only painted a wall of the Ibiza Rocks Hotel, but a one-off giant plectrum that is available with a donation to win. Collaborative charity work is something we love to do and champion the fantastic work of these charities and hopefully give more than just cash but exposure and understanding to a new audience.
You have three children. How does being a parent change the way you perceive the youth culture? Is catering for millennials, the ‘social media generation’ different to the original Manumission crowd?
My three kids have grown up on the island and are very much Ibiza kids. They all come from the world, not a specific location and have an air of confidence that comes from being equal and interacting with grown-ups at an early age. They are also bilingual, which I think is priceless, being brought up in the north of England. It is as far removed from my childhood experience. Being a parent helps you stay connected and understand youth. There are four years between each of the 3 kids, so I have a lot of understanding to be had in all ways! When we came to the island no one had home phones, let alone mobiles. Now everything is accessed and recorded and researched and it’s exciting times with unlimited potential but I would never take back a time of no social media pressure, having to speak out information and underexposure for anything. The most important thing is to live in the moment and experience it. It’s hard to do that when you are constantly thinking about the next selfies or how many like you are getting. I think it brings a lot of pressure and I’m not sure it’s easy to opt out.
As a Creative Director of Pikes Hotel, tell us about its decor and interiors. What are your favourite rooms? Does your architecture background come into play at times?
Whenever anyone comes to my home, they say your house is like Pikes, and I say no Pikes is an extension of my home. It’s like my personal pet project and chance to experiment. Anything goes and it’s a house of maximalism. No one could ever say less is more about Pikes. It’s more and then some. I think it’s quite whimsical, eccentric, English in part then flies off around the world. I took off where Tony left it. The art has been to make the new bits seem like they have always been there, to tie them together to create a magical world seamlessly. An authentic corner of the island. It’s a bit rock n roll, a bit nonconformist, a little bit Alice in Wonderland, filled with characters and objects I have found along the way. If I like it and it feels right, I find a place for it. There are no steadfast rules. A bit like the way I live my life. It’s a piece in progress. Evolving, expanding but never boring. I use the architecture training daily. I may be biased but it’s the greatest design training you can have, not only because it takes seven years but because it’s just so all encompassing. There is nothing on a design front you haven’t covered from minute detail to city planning.
What are the most quirky items displayed at the hotel?
My personal favourite items include a giant left concrete foot, right foot forward and all that.
The clown’s circus head from the 1950s American circus that has a mechanical fly that swirls around the nose, and it fits on your head. The life-size giant red crocodile, every house should have one, great for photo shoots. The Fluor pink tennis court, basically what’s not to love and cheer up your day. I once found pink tennis balls and giant oversized rackets and that took playing tennis to a whole new level – you could hardly see the balls.
This year the garden shed is being decorated as a homage to Wes Anderson because he deserves to be celebrated in impeccable style. I actually could go on and on because each object has a story and a history and that’s what makes a difference – the levels you can unveil. This year I will be making room 39 into a curiosity shop and mescal bar. Now that will be something special even for Pikes.
You have also established a jewellery brand with Emily Bradbury. Who wears True Rocks? What is the True Rocks signature style?
True Rocks is my amazing jewellery design company with Emily Bradbury. We met when her husband, the late John Bradbury’s band the Specials played at rocks and have been inseparable ever since. She said, ‘Here, you sit next to me!’ We started with a safety pin, and the rest is history. Creating iconic unisex pieces such as pills, pins, globes, and beyond and artist collaborations with people such as Gavin Turk, Rachel Howard, and Polly Morgan. They are solid silver and gold plated pieces, fresh, modern takes on everyday items. We create jewellery we want to wear with a ‘layer it up more is more’ attitude which basically reflects my outlook on life. It’s been worn by everyone from Kate Moss and Lilly Allen to Idris Elba and Mark Ronson. We have a great celeb and artist following.
What are the key collaborations we should expect from your brands this season? Music, fashion, design and such?
We love a collaboration! We have worked on the merchandise with John Spade to create some exclusive Ibiza Rocks designs. Ben Eine has produced some amazing giant graphic walls within the hotel and we have a brand new party room for 2018 and have redesigned the main event space and stage.
At Pikes we have a literary festival launching in early September with Irvine Welsh, John Niven and Neil Forsyth . We also have a new art exhibition dome that will open with Ibiza On a Postcard our charity exhibition in collaboration with the Hepatitis C Trust. Diana Gomez has also produced an incredible set of in-room fashion images for the hotel. We’re launching a new Pikes and Rockett St George collaboration of products that will be for sale online this summer plus our iconic collectable in-house Pikes magazine will be published by the amazing Josh Jones and Dan Whitten. Thats just to name a few.
Let’s come back to music – Ibiza Rocks in San Antonio; Pikes on the outskirts, both have very different entertaining values. What artists & events will this season bring?
At Ibiza Rocks we welcome back Craig David for his third summer, who will host his pool parties every Tuesday for twelve weeks, as well as brand new residencies from house music legend MK who takes over five Monday’s in July and August. Long-term friends of the brand Rudimental will host nine weeks on Thursdays, plus shows with J his, Kept and Koran, Garage Nation and lovely Laura. We also go into the second year of our deep disco house and tech party Cuckoo Land. Stormzy is also back for his annual #merky festival on the 2nd and 3rd July which sold out in record time.