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Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

Designer Interview: Darin Montgomery of urbancase

Becky

Posted by Becky | View all posts by Becky
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Today we’re having a chat with Darin Montgomery of urbancase, to find out how his company came to be and to take a look at some of their work, from the design of a shelf to the interior design of an entire restaurant. Without further ado…

Sidebar in Walnut

How did your company get its start? What led you here?
I had a sculpture studio in South Seattle and was building custom furniture on a limited basis when I met a couple of cool guys who had a design/build firm across the alley. We immediately hit it off and started collaborating. It was a particularly interesting time in Seattle because quite a few restaurants and coffee shops were opening and we were able to work on a number of cool projects. The experience pushed me further towards designing functional objects and the idea of a furniture studio grew from there.

What was the first piece of furniture you remember making?
I was somewhere around 8 or 10 and made a wine glass rack for my Dad. I used scrap material found in our garage. I took great care assembling it but had no idea it should be clamped together until the glue dried. My Mom picked it up by the top and it fell apart. I was crushed. I repaired it, but it was known as Frankenrack from then on.
How does being in Seattle affect your design sensibility? What inspires you?
It’s difficult to specifically define how Seattle affects our designs but I believe everyone is influenced by their environment and we’re no exception. Seattle is a great city…pretty laid back, comfortable, easy to manage. I feel it’s reflected in much of what we do.

I’m inspired by thoughtful design (of any type) and a simple life.

What is your workspace like?
Our studio is in the South Park neighborhood of Seattle. It’s a working class community with a mix of light industrial and residential areas. We have a modest but efficient shop space set up primarily for building prototypes, mock-ups, etc., which also includes a product display area where we keep a few pieces on hand. We’re lucky because we have roll up doors so we can bring the outdoors in and we’re very excited about our upcoming studio remodel.

1.2 Chair

What’s your favorite material to work with at the moment? We’ve been experimenting with Corian recently and have been having great success. But…walnut usually makes its way into the mix.

How does your team work together? What does each one of you bring to the table? One of us will generally come up with an idea or concept and throw it out for consideration. We’re comfortable sharing ideas without fear of sounding ridiculous even if something doesn’t come directly from it. And we’re honest and direct in our opinions. We each have different skills and backgrounds that seem to complement each other, but I believe it’s what we don’t bring to the table that is most important…ego.

Tell me a story about one of these pieces of yours that we sell. We were setting up at ICFF and I received a phone call from a gentlemen who, after he identified himself, I recognized because we shipped a Ledge to him the week before we left.

The conversation went like this:

Customer: I have a crate from urbancase sitting in my office and I have no idea what it is.
Me: It’s the walnut Ledge you ordered. We shipped it last week and sent the                           tracking number to your office.
Customer: What the @#%+ is a Ledge!?
Me: It’s our wall mounted desk.
Customer: I own a textile company, what do I want with a wall mounted desk.
Me: You’re asking the wrong guy…I didn’t order it.
Customer: (Laughter)…I guess you’re right.

We spoke later and had another good laugh. Someone in his office ordered the Ledge for display and a photo shoot and he wasn’t aware of it.

urbancase Ledge – Walnut

You’re also a design firm; please share a few portfolio shots from your projects with us! 1) Tilikum Place Cafe in Seattle. This used to be a print shop. Worked with the chef/owner on a full interior design:

2) All City Coffee – Seattle. A collaboration with Steve Withycombe on interior fixtures:

3) Residential railing – Seattle. Collaboration with NY based architect Mallory Shure:

Thanks so much to Darin for taking the time to share a little of his history and his work with us today! Personally, I would love to see a new, ridiculously sleek wine rack named Frankenrack that would redeem him from his early failure with glue.

See all urbancase products

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Friday, November 27th, 2009

Trends: The Union Jack

Becky

Posted by Becky | View all posts by Becky
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While I’m thankful that our forefathers got rid of those pesky British taxes that didn’t have representation and all, I am always a sucker for a Union Jack. I think my favorite use of it lately was the quilts featured on Man Shops World by Becky Oldfield. Here are a few more dreamy shots of the U.K.’s flag I’ve been collecting lately:

keith johnson uj ed waldron

Check out Timothy Oulton’s sofa:

michael falco nytimes timothy oulton

A dash of Vivienne Westwood (she’s been doing this a long time) via Living Etc.:
LE Jo Berrymant64c3feb5f33

LE Jo Berrymant

From Natural Curiosities:
nat cur BRIT

From Made By Girl:
made by girl via houzz

From Jonathan Adler:
ja union jack

From one of the designers of Libertine, as seen in Domino.
domino union jack

From the fabulous Bonnie Cashin:
bonnie cashin

From Naked Decor:
homerepublic
Quilt image by William Waldron via Elle Decor
Sofa image by Michael Falco for The New York Times
Living Etc. images by Jo Berryman for Living Etc.
via Natural Curiosities
Bonnie Cashin Foundation

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Tuesday, February 10th, 2009

DP Customer Profile: Jessica and Mick the Boston Terrier

Ali

Posted by Ali | View all posts by Ali
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Last May I came across Jessica’s Flickr photo of her dog, Mick, sitting alongside a Fauna Boston Terrier pillow. My heart melted. This posting is a little bittersweet because Mick, aka Mister Puppy, aka the best dog ever, passed away last year. My heart is melting even more. Thus, a DP Customer Profile in memory of Mick with respect to his owner, Jessica…

Mick the Boston Terrier next to a Fauna pillow

Name: Jessica

Where do you live? Charlottesville, VA

What do you do? I am a PhD student in art history, and I work at a cute shop called O’Suzannah

DP Purchase/s: Fauna Boston Terrier Pillow

What’s your favorite DP product and why? My beloved Fauna pillow. Boston terriers are the bee’s knees, and this pillow is seriously amazing. I mean, have you ever seen anything more adorable or squeezable? Yeah, that’s what I thought.

Any favorite design ideas? I don’t identify with super modern design that much, although sometimes I wish I did. I suppose one of my favorite things to do is to use repurposed or secondhand materials in my home. I love old things and using unexpected materials. My “entertainment center” that houses my TV and stereo is made of Read the rest of this entry »

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