Visit our other brands: danishdesignstore.com, adogslife.net

Designer Interviews

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014

Designer Interview: Meet Bend Good’s Founder, Gaurav Nanda

Becky

Posted by Becky | View all posts by Becky
1 Comment »

About as soon as Bend Good’s Lucy Chair rolled out into the marketplace, it became a contemporary icon. Artistically sculptural in shape with nods to iconic mid-century designs and a look to the future, the chair attracted architects and interior designers in droves. While it makes a statement indoors, it’s also built to stand up to the elements outside. Best of all, Bend Good’s products are built with sustainability at the forefront of their priorities, and using them contributes toward LEED certification.

Today we’re having a chat with Gaurav Nanda, the founder of Bend Goods. Gaurav is not a jack of all trades — he’s a master of many. His many skills include sculpting, t-shirt printing, clay-pot throwing, contributing to automobile design and entrepreneurship.

Is there anything in particular in your background that drove/helped you with the designs for Bend Goods — automotive design, sculpture, throwing pots? Design in general has always been a very big interest of mine.  I still today love to learn about different materials and love to work with different mediums that I have never worked with before.  It really does shape your perspective.  When you can look at something and see it for the process it took to make it and not just the end result, you get a deeper appreciation for it.  It can sometimes also spark an idea or give you a realization about something completely unrelated that you are working on.  That’s the best part about a creative job.  the creativity breeds and multiplies and seeps into everything that you might be working on.
What attracted you to working with metal in this way? Working in the auto industry, building models kind of lead me to metal.  It’s always fascinated me how you can take a material like metal and mold and shape it into something very sleek and beautiful.  There is something about metal that has this chameleon quality to just turn into anything you can imagine.  I chose iron for it’s sustainability.  It’s one of the most recyclable materials on the planet, and sustainability is something that is very important to me.
I love the way you present your products with dancing videos! What inspired that idea? I’m glad that you like it.  I had been brainstorming creative ways of getting the animal heads exposure and trying to figure out how to do that in a very creative way.  I met a filmmaker online and we brainstormed many different ideas.  A modern dance really seemed like the best way to give the animals personality but also function.
You began Bend Goods with seating and tables (I’m assuming?). What gave you the idea for the trophies and other accessories? How did you choose the animals? The seating definitely came first. When I started the company it was called Bend Seating for that reason.  Then as I started to move into tables and eventually the trophy heads, we switched the name to Bend Goods.  I’ve always had many interests in terms of design.  I started with seating knowing that one day I would want to build an entire collection.  The idea is to create classic designs that you could potentially outfit an entire home with.  The trophy heads to me were a lot of fun to develop.  I’ve always been a big fan of mounted taxidermy, but there is definitely something sad about the process.  I wanted to put a modern more humane spin on that form of art.  I chose the animals because I wanted to represent the power in the animal kingdom.  I think that each animal that we have represented is very majestic and powerful in it’s own right.

What’s your workspace like? How does it inspire you? We are actually in the process of moving work spaces.  We started Bend in a live/work loft in Marina Del Rey, California and earlier this year started to become very aware that we were rapidly outgrowing the space.  We spent many months going back and forth trying to decide our next step and finally landed on buying a house.  We now reside just south of Hollywood in what we are currently designing to be a living catalogue.  It will be a space where we can have meetings and invite designers and architects over to see the furniture in a natural useable setting.  It has an amazing backyard with a pool and a detached garage that will be our workspace and photo studio.  It really is going to become a mini Bend Compound and we couldn’t be more excited about it.  For me the process of building this space has given the brand life and shown me what is truly possible with what we are creating.  Being able to live in a space that is all Bend Goods with some mid century modern pieces mixed in will inspire me every day and allow me to really think about where to go next and what we need to develop next.
[I hope they will share a house tour with us when it's ready!]

Do you have any design heroes or favorite designs that have influenced your work? Designers like Harry Bertoia, Warren Platner, Charles and Ray Eames to name a few are always big influences for me in terms of design and being progressive.  Their work is what made me want to start doing what I do today.
Any advice for how to get out of a creative rut/block? Don’t sit and stare at the same spot on the wall and think that you will be inspired.  We live in a day and age where you can work for almost anywhere on the planet.  Find a place that inspires you and get out of your comfort zone.
Thanks so much to Gaurav for taking the time to speak with us today. We cannot wait to see the Bend Goods House!

Shop Bend Goods

Share

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

Designer Interview: Sarah Jane Studios

Becky

Posted by Becky | View all posts by Becky
4 Comments »

We are so excited to announce the launch of a collaboration made in heaven. Illustrator Sarah Jane of Sarah Jane Studios has teamed up with Pop & Lolli to bring her charming and whimsical creations to removable fabric wallpapers and decals.
Pop & Lolli founder Mia Viljoen first fell in love with Sarah Jane’s work when her daughters’ South African grandmother made them matching dresses from Sarah Jane’s fabric. She then realized the charming illustrations would make brilliantly gorgeous wall decor, decals and wallpaper .
Today we’re sitting down with Sarah Jane to learn more about her inspirations for this charming collection. Thanks so much to Sarah Jane for sharing her thoughts and inspirations with us!
PHOTO CREDIT: Tara B Photography
How does this collaboration differ from others you’ve done before? My products in the past mostly have been created here at Sarah Jane Studios. My fabric that I design is a collaboration … a licensing relationship. And this one is just that. I love that I can design for Pop & Lolli while still keeping the Sarah Jane esthetic as a strong brand. This collaboration is different in that I am actually able to sell and market the wallpaper myself as well, which I get really excited about. I love being directly involved with the customer!
What’s it like to go from prints and textiles to wallpapers and decals? Is your approach any different? If so, in what way? From textiles, wallpaper is an easy translation. Most of my wallpapers are directly from my fabric collections. My approach with the wall decals took a bit more preparation. It was a matter of in some cases redrawing the illustrations to fit the end result of being enlarged and used separately.
How can parents help keep the magic of childhood alive the way your illustrations do? Creating creative spaces for children is key. Children live in their imaginations, and will do that naturally regardless of their environment….for a time. Keeping their spaces a live with color, design and story is what keeps that whimsical thinking an ongoing experience for them. I’ve also found that when  children’s space is designed with creative play in mind, the parents are more likely to engage in that play as well. Fostering creative play is always easier when the space is fun, colorful, and whimsical first.
What inspired this collection? Is there a particular message seen in it you’d like to reiterate? What does this message mean to you? Simple, imaginative play inspires most of my designs. I am a firm believer in letting children be children. Not growing them up too fast. The world does a pretty good job of that already. Children parading around with balloons and bugles, mermaids that seem classic and timeless, and children riding bareback through an open field might seem unrelated in context. But in feeling, it’s the same. Let children imagine themselves without boundaries, keeping play simple and creative and imagining themselves in the art.
But on top of that, I also care greatly about making sure that a children’s space is in line with the design-minded parents. Color that’s fresh, line work that’s simple and expressive. The parents have to love it too!
Thanks so much Sarah Jane! We’re so excited that everyone who makes a Pop & Lolli purchase will be entered to win a $50 gift card from Design Public, now through August 8, 2014, so be sure to check out all things Pop & Lolli.
Share

Thursday, May 29th, 2014

Designer Interview: Brad Musuraca, Owner of Tronk Design

Becky

Posted by Becky | View all posts by Becky
Leave a comment!

After graduating from The University of Cincinnati with a degree in classics,  Brad Musuraca  noticed his friends in the architecture school working on their final furniture-building projects, and thought that it looked like a lot of fun. He carved out a spot in his family’s factory to start experimenting during his free time outside of working there, working with wood and metal and creating prototypes. This led to him starting his own  furniture company, Tronk Design.  Here’s more about how he got his start, his design process and advice for budding designers. Thanks to Brad for answering our questions today.


Tronk Design Hudson Table with Inlay

What was the first piece of furniture you ever built?

The very first piece I ever built was a tall long thin table you might put in a hallway and throw your keys on it as you came into the house. It was very simple because I only had one machine, so the wood came from Lowes and I stained it, trying to make it NOT look like cheap pine. It’s actually still around in my Dad’s office.
Cincinnati is chock full of great design history — are there any examples of local designers/designs  that inspire you in particular?

Honestly I really like Charley Harper, as does everyone I suppose. I actually tried to get in touch with their studio to see if I could integrate some of his iconic animal designs into my furniture. Nothing happened with that, but I’m still holding out hope.

Your work has the vibe of a contemporary take on mid-century modern. What are some of your favorite elements/principles from that era that you like to use in your work today?

I try and keep the furniture as slim and elegant as possible without sacrificing functionality. Yes it is very minimalistic, but each item has something subtle that adds a little pop to catch the eye. Ultimately mid-century furniture was designed to be high quality, but also able to be mass produced.
Can you walk us through your process a bit, from the time you get an idea to the finished piece of furniture?

I’d like to start off by saying that I tend to have a bit of an obsessive personality.  I will literally think about a new product idea non-stop for days. I have a long list of ideas sitting on my desk that honestly, I will probably never get to make. Usually I just end up making the latest idea that pops into my head.
It starts off with a prototype, roughly fashioned with cheap wood from the hardware store. Then I’ll make whatever changes I would like from there, because nothing ever seems to look exactly as you imagined it. Once that is done I’ll make another prototype out of cheap wood, but this time do all the joints properly to see what it will actually be like in reality to make the thing. If that goes well then I’ll make all the appropriate jigs and make another prototype out of slightly better wood, which I usually stain to get a feel for the color of the final piece. This prototype inevitably ends up in my house. Finally I’ll make the real deal and make up a manufacturing direction sheet from everything I just learned through the prototyping process. A lot more methodical work than inspiration, unfortunately!


I love the way the Franklin Shelf works a corner — how did you come up with that?
I just wanted to design some type of shelf that fit into a corner. I went through all the usual suspects you would imagine. Then I thought “well, what if it was just a flat board in an L shape?” Then I figured it would need support so I added another shelf and connected them. Then I thought it would be interesting if they could stack, so I added another shelf on top, which  gave me 3 layers of shelving. Then I thought that if the user wanted to put something on the shelf that was larger than 10″ in height, they would have a problem. So I made one side of the top shelf a little shorter than the shelf below it — this created a little shelf where you can put a vase or something else a little taller. Then for the sake of symmetry I did the same thing to the opposite side of the bottom shelf.

Do you have any advice for budding furniture designers about running their own shops?

Be prepared to work 60+ hour weeks for little or no pay, and focus on PR.

What do you have on the boards next?

Trade secret :)
Share

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

Designer Process: Silkscreening With Thomas Paul

Becky

Posted by Becky | View all posts by Becky
Leave a comment!

Today we’re going to take a trip to India, and you don’t need to fight over all of your vintage Louis Vuitton luggage with your siblings ala The Darjeerling Limited beforehand. Designer Thomas Paul is taking us through the steps of how his dynamic prints come to life through the ancient art of silkscreening. I have many Thomas Paul items around my house, including a version of this amazing octopus shower curtain, and as I type, my elbow is resting upon a Thomas Paul Zebra pillow. After seeing exactly what goes into creating his pieces, I am even more of a fan. I hope you enjoy this virtual field trip, and thanks to Thomas for taking us on it!

Thomas Paul Octopus Vineyard Shower Curtain

The final product: The Octopus Vineyard Shower Curtain. This shower curtain requires a four color process.

Thomas Paul

1) The design is printed on vellum.

Thomas Paul

2) The screens are shot, one screen per color, and then washed to reveal the design.

Thomas Paul

3) The screens are dried.

Thomas Paul

4) Swatches are chosen.

5) Colors are mixed.

Thomas Paul

6)  The fabric is laid out smooth for printing.

Thomas Paul

7) The screens are inked.

Thomas Paul

8) The screens are cleaned.

9) Ink is pulled through the design onto the fabric

Thomas Paul

10) The process is repeated along the length of the fabric, one screen per color.

Thanks so much to Thomas Paul for providing us with the art and process. If you’d like to see more of his designs, browse all Thomas Paul here.

Share

Monday, October 7th, 2013

Guest Post: Designer Interview with turnstone’s Jenny Gauld

Guest

Posted by Guest | View all posts by Guest
Leave a comment!

Recently, writer Carla Turk had a chance to pick turnstone designer Jenny Gauld’s brain about how the process of designing a harmonious functional office works. Take it away Carla and Jenny!

Turnstone Bivi Holders

So how does this process begin? In any design project, it all starts with a good set of questions. It is about finding solutions to your needs, discussing how you want to use your space, the type of storage requirements and how to use color and materials to support your brand. The budget, move-in schedule and any other pertinent details are addressed at this point. This is about you and how you want your space to be.

It also starts with your vision. There are online tools you can use to create an overall scheme or get a better idea of what you like, such as Pinterest or turnstone’s past work.  I’ve known designers take their clients to check out spaces that might be in line with what they are looking for. Co-working spaces are also good places to visit since they have the same amenities as an office: open and private spaces, break room and copy/print areas.

Turnstone Bivi Rumble Seat

What are the office trends you’ve seen/designed in projects that you’ve completed recently? Startups tend to create a workplace that speaks so vividly about their culture, foster a tight community and exude fun. An office is traditionally where we collaborate, meet with clients and facilitate our day to day business. With planning furniture, we can help foster activities that will encourage interactions like dotting the space with comfortable soft seating to capture a sense of your home’s living room or a communal table to get everyone to each lunch together. It is about culture and how to stay true to it everyday.

Turnstone Scoop Stools

Supporting different postures is becoming important in the office. Almost everyone works from their laptop and being mobile is a common activity in the office. Allowing different seat heights, ranging from standard seat to stool and bar height chairs, allows you to move around and support posture.

Turnstone Buoy Chair in Chili Red

We are pretty content with my existing reclaimed furniture. Does design really matter?Of course it does! Your office is where you create, collaborate and reach project milestones. But it’s not only about having a space conducive to productivity, it is creating an inspiring and comfortable space to share with peers who you spend most of your time with.  Just take a look at Fracture. A company which started with randomly placed “reclaimed” furniture, but has taken the big step by creating a well-organized and branded space. It brought a sense of ownership and a positive future.

Fracture's Offices

Letting go of the reclaimed furniture is a big step. But if you are serious about your company and its future, I believe it is time to outgrow the hand-me-downs and invest in the tools to help your business grow.


Inspired? Shop our Steelcase sale now through 10/14/2013


Share