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

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

Designer Interview: Darin Montgomery of urbancase

Becky

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

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

Share

Sunday, April 25th, 2010

Rethinking the Garage: A Woman Cave!

Becky

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

I am one of those people who looks at a garage and thinks about how to make it livable. However, I have nothing on this woman, who became her own general contractor, raided airplane and boat salvages for parts, built a base for a clawfoot-less tub, and even learned how to weld during the process of making her garage habitable. Check out the entire article and slideshow at The New York Times; it’s really inspiring. I like this idea a whole lot better than the yurt in Alaska thing.

She’s married now and has moved back into the main house, but she’s kept the garage as her woman cave. A garage outfitted for a performance and visual artist differs greatly from that of  a couple of foot-long eating Rush aficionados:

TOTAL SIDE NOTE: Did anyone see the HILARIOUS letter to the editor to the Times about their recent articles – it mentioned the yurt people, the people who never turn on the heat, and some other article – the gist of it was basically “what’s the next trend, igloos?” That’s all I have to go on; I meant to cut it out and to share it with my fellow NYTimes Home readers because it was so funny – if you know where it is, please let me know in the comments section. I think it was published about two months ago.

  • photo from one of the funniest scenes ever, the “Tom Sawyer” montage –  Dreamworks Pictures, I Love You Man
  • photo by Ira Lippke for The New York Times
Share

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

In Memorium: Lawrence Halprin Dies at 93

Becky

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

I was sad to hear of Lawrence Halprin’s passing on Sunday night. He was one of my favorite landscape architects. For eleven years, I lived in Charlottesville Virginia and was able to enjoy the Halprin-designed Downtown Mall. I could go on about his best-known projects, like Ghiradelli Square or the FDR Memorial, but my very favorite design of his is Lovejoy Plaza in Portland, OR, and a glance at his sketchbook pages tell you all you need to know about why his designs work so well. Without weighing us down with a bunch of archispeak gibberish, we can follow the idea from it’s initial contextual inspirations to the final product:


I should have known when I went to find a picture of Lovejoy Plaza on flickr that my favorite one would have been taken by Ken McCowen. To see more beautiful images of Halprin’s work taken by Ken, click here.

Halprin was that perfect combination of conscientious urban problem solver who understood natural processes. He did such an artful job of understanding the greater context of a place and bringing his interpretations of ecology into cities in an artful way. Lovejoy Park is a perfect example of this. He contributed so much to the American landscape; whether helping to heal the gash a freeway cut through a neighborhood in Seattle or protecting the land by leaving a soft footprint at Sea Ranch. He will be missed.

For more information on the Halprin Landscape Conservancy, click here.

Share