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Monday, November 8th, 2010

Designer Q&A: Allen Zadeh and Rie Norregaard from OMHU

Ali

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Guess what, folks…we’ve added a cane/walking stick to our collection of curated products. Yes, a cane. You may be scratching your head thinking “What crazy juice did the peeps at Design Public drink?” Well, I think after you take a look at the beauty of the OMHU cane (pronounced “om-who”) and read our interview with the designers Allen Zadeh and Rie Norregaard you’ll understand. Think beautiful one speed bike paint meets Scandinavian design meets skateboard materials meets walking cane. A great gift for ma or pa or just a dapper dude. Enjoy!

I have to admit, adding a walking stick/cane to our site is quite a departure for us, but after reading about the inspiration behind the canes I totally fell in love. You also all have such an extensive background in so many different arenas with Susy Korb (formerly of Tiffany’s, Chrstie’s and Harry Winston), Rie Norregaard (Smart Design, Arnell Group and frog) and Susan Towers (Kiehl’s 1851, Time Inc., Assouline). Now I must ask, why design a walking stick? From all your different backgrounds what was the catalyst towards designing a cane?

Rie: A couple of years ago I started to have to buy stuff to help my in-laws around the house – like a cane, a bath chair, a bed side table. But I couldn’t find any thing I liked – and I’m a very good shopper! All the stuff looks like it belongs in a hospital – not a home. When it was time to design OMHU’s first product it was natural to ask Allen Zadeh. We had worked together at Smart design and I thought Allen’s sense of materials and performance was perfect for us.

Tell us about the name OMHU (om-who).

Rie: It means something that is done with great care in Danish. That’s where I’m from – but Susy came up with the name.

I can certainly see the reference with your cane to an Italian one speed bike via the bright and perfect colors, I can also see the Scandinavian design influence. Tell us more about what inspired the OMHU Cane design.

Rie: I’m from Copenhagen – and as you may know everyone rides a bike there. It’s just how you get around. So, I think it’s just a natural thing for me to refer to the joy of movement and independence a bike gives you. Both Allen and our engineer Clay Burns have experience with performance sports equipment so that was another important reference for us.

Beyond a walking stick, what other products for an aging population do you think could use a bit more of a design aesthetic?

Rie: There are so many products in the category we need to make better. OMHU focuses on the things that most people need for many different reasons –  like a cane, walker, bath chair and adjustable bed side table –so stay tuned.

How would you describe your design style?

Allen: I don’t really have a specific style. I try to create things that make people feel special or make them smile.

Your dream project?

Allen: Designing an electric super car.

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you?

Allen: Trust your intuition.


What’s your favorite color or material?

Allen: I like natural materials like Read the rest of this entry »

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Monday, October 11th, 2010

Home Inspiration from a “House” in Ireland

Ali

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Travel suggestion: if you ever find yourself in Ireland book a couple of nights at the Bellinter House about a half hour outside of Dublin. I just came back from a jaunt in the land of the green/cable knit sweaters and this “house” (aka mansion) was incredible. Every room was styled with such an eye, color and detail. I’m ready to paint my walls fern green, my ceilings celadon and my bathroom midnight blue all while drinking a few pints of guinness. A few of our photos from our time there (oh, and make sure you eat lots of scones…also incredible!).


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Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

Designer Interview: Mary and Topher from makelike

Ali

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I’m really excited to share a bit of insight behind the creative minds involved with makelike. If I had to pick a new set of friends the Portland, Oregon based designers, Mary and Topher, would be at the top of my list. Why? Well, who wouldn’t want to be friends with someone who collects Boy Scout camp coffee mugs, framed photos of St. Mary’s Lake in Glacier National Park, vintage Brock dinnerware and photos of other people’s pets? Not to mention they are majorly skilled artists and seem like really fun, interesting, witty people. Enjoy!


photo courtesy of Adrian Gaut

Great brand name…what does it mean and where did it come from?

Thanks! We were inspired by the mysteriously undocumented folklore behind “makelike” phrases (makelike a tree and leave, etc.), so we chose it as our name (thanks to our friend Bob) and hosted a dinner party where our friends helped us write our own makelike phrases. We’ve also found that due to our “West Coast dialects” we end up saying it inadvertently in sentences when concepting ideas (e.g. “We could make, like, a really awesome tea towel.”)

Tell us about the process of starting makelike and how you got where you are today.

We got our official start in 2000…although we (Mary and Topher) had been working together at a Portland design firm called Johnson & Wolverton for several years prior. Our first job as makelike was a 200+ page spec magazine called MILK with CD Richard Christiansen (now Chandelier Creative, NYC), with whom we have collaborated with for the past ten years on various editorial (and other) jobs – including Suede and Radar (second iteration) magazines. We’ve always tried to incorporate pattern within all of our projects and our first intern (and now #3 man) Rob Halverson brought the hand-drawn stuff with him in 2000 from MCAD. Using self generated art successfully for our client’s projects for so many years, we finally decided to do it for ourselves in 2009 with our product line. We all love cacti, so we started with that as our first collection’s theme.

How would you describe your design style/philosophy? How has it evolved over the years?

We believe in making things that people want to keep – or better yet, cherish. What is the point of spending the time and resources to make something and then have it discarded or recycled? We try and make things with personality or soul – things you want to collect. For the product line, we’ve made things that we want to see in our own homes! A portion of our our time “designing” has evolved from something we do only for clients, to something we also do for ourselves. That’s made it a lot more fun. Aesthetically, when you take a step back and look at our client work over the years, you’ll probably notice that our style is diverse, flexible and capable of shape-shifting, but overall, we’ve stayed true to a consistent approach that ties everything together as a cohesive body of work – regardless of it’s complexity or simplicity.


You guys sound like you can do just about anything, photography, printmaking, sewing, installation…any favorite mediums? Any type of art you’ve been itching to try?

Well yeah, I guess we can….We all went to art school and we all studied some design in school – but none of us majored in it. That gives us a wide variety of skill-sets and the ability to do anything. Plus we live in the middle of a creative hotbed (Portland, Oregon), where it’s possible (and really easy) to remain curious, share and learn new things from the gifted people that surround you – every day!  Go spirit of collaboration!

Your dream project?

This.

Please share five things/people/places that inspire you.

M: Walking around my neighborhood, walks in the forest, camping, the Read the rest of this entry »

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Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

Designer Interview: EVRT Studio

Ali

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Today’s interview comes from Brian Everett from EVRT Studio. Known for his use of color, texture and layering techniques, Brian offers simple yet bold prints to add a little somethin’ somethin’ to your walls. Oh, and he really likes dessert. Enjoy!

Tell us about the process of starting EVRT Studio and how you got where you are today.

It really all started while I was working for a Home Decor & Gift company as a product designer, and an amazing opportunity through them. We had contacted the retailer CB2 in order to show them a line of stretched canvas prints we had done for our own product line. They loved them so much, they were interested in some custom work. I was sent to Manhattan, and spent 3 or 4 days just wandering the city with a camera and a backpack full of gear. It was an amazing experience to see the city like that. CB2 picked up three prints as a result of that trip. I later left the company but kept my contacts at CB2, and luckily they were excited to continue working with me. I didn’t even know it, but EVRT Studio was born!

What do you use as inspiration for your designs?

I would have to say most of my inspiration stems from what is going on around me in everyday life. Nature is also a big influence on me. Before I studied Industrial Design in college I was actually studying Forestry if you can believe that!

I love your use of bold/bright colors and layered effects. Tell us about your creative process and how your pieces come to life?

Most of the time it begins one of two ways. Photography has been a big part of my life for a long time, and sometimes I get an idea for a new print from a photo I have taken. It could involve extracting a portion of that image, or using the entire image, and re-imagining it in another form. For example, the Vases Print was inspired by a photograph of colorful glass vases that were overlapping each other. Most of my other ideas originate from sketching my thoughts. Actually, every print I design starts with a rough sketch to get the proportions right. All the details are slowly worked out, and I experiment with colors. Textures are added at the very end.


Four sites/blogs you visit daily:

Not counting my Twitter and Tumblr feed, my four favorite sites would be Archdaily, Contemporist, Design Milk, and Design Work Life.

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you?

In college, my Industrial Design professor always told me to worry about the details later, when getting started on a project. I often get bogged down in the details, far too early on, when I know I can figure that part out later and adapt it to a design.

What’s your favorite color or material?

Right now I am really into Orange. And I love seeing contrasting materials, such as soft textiles next to painted steel.


Favorite interests outside the design world?

Music. I am obsessed with Music; it’s what keeps me going most days. In fact, I used to be in a small two person band in Read the rest of this entry »

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Friday, September 3rd, 2010

Designer Interview: Design Glut

Ali

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Liz and Kegan from Design Glut are an All-Star incredibly creative duo. The two are not only known for their clever home accessories but they’ve mastered the art of interviewing many creative entrepreneurs in the design industry. We’ve turned the table on them to answer a question or two. Oh, and they are really photogenic. Enjoy!

Tell us about the process of starting Design Glut and how you got where you are today.

Kegan and I met in college at Pratt, where we studied industrial design. Senior year we had a studio class together and through an offhand conversation one day, ended up sharing a table at the DesignBoom Mart at ICFF here In New York. This was back in 2007… Little did we know where that decision would take us!

The show went so well that we named ourselves Design Glut, formed a partnership, and wanted to keep designing together… But we’d both just taken jobs at design firms, so Design Glut was an on-the-side whenever-we-have-a-spare-moment thing until April 2008, when we set up our Brooklyn studio and started doing this full-time.

Since that point, we’ve moved full-speed ahead and successfully turned our passion for design into an established business. In addition to our products, Design Glut is all about community. For a long time now we’ve been interviewing designers and entrepreneurs about their stories, and recently we’ve started throwing events which has been a whole lot of fun!
I have to ask about the inspiration behind the Egg Pants. They’ve become a topic of conversation numerous times in our team meetings. Why pants? Ever considered an egg skirt or skivvies, ha!

Ah yes, Egg Pants! The funny thing about Egg Pants is that they’re such a whimsical and emotional thing, but they were thought up from a very technical place. In school I was studying a manufacturing process called Dip Molding. The process is usually used for rubber caps, gloves, and inexpensive industrial parts – but  I was trying to think up a way to design a home accessory. The name “Egg Pants” came at the very end. I’d been working on the egg cups for a long time and everyone kept saying they looked like little pants, so I just went with it!

What is your workspace/studio/office like?

Our office is a super fun space. We’ve covered the walls with posters and toys and little things that inspire us. Oh and my scissor collection!

You mentioned earlier that you’ve been interviewing designers and entrepreneurs about Read the rest of this entry »

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