3×3 Interviews

Daily Design Idea occasionally conducts short interviews, offering design-minded people the opportunity to share a bit about themselves, their work, and their process. Each interviewee is asked for 3 Answers to three of the five questions: What, How, When, Where, and Why do you design?, in addition to 3 Images for posting with the interview.

3×3 with Ground Up Designers LLC. December 20, 2010.

Ground Up Designers is an interdisciplinary design studio based in Brooklyn, New York, founded by Lana Zellner [Architectural Designer], Kristen Svorka [Interior Designer], and Tayef Farrar [Multimedia-Graphic Designer] that offers design solutions incorporating architectural, interior and product design, in addition to print, web and multimedia graphics.


A screen shot from the Ground Up Designers website.

What do you design?
The name Ground Up Designers comes from our interest in working with small business owners looking for design consultation on everything “from the ground up”. Focusing on all aspects that go into designing a successful business, we provide clients with attractive, unique and fully functional spaces, as well as one-of-a-kind, comprehensive brand identities. Being a small yet versatile design studio, the independent business owner is our ideal client; someone looking to open a retail store, café, or restaurant who wants one cohesive design package.

We also just completed and published a book titled Built & Branded, which focuses on two main categories of design: architectural/ interior design (the design of the built environment) and graphics/ print / web design (the design of the brand identity) and highlights some of our favorite Brooklyn-based businesses on their success in establishing a strong visual identity through the design of their space, a clever branding strategy, or both.

Built & Branded on display with other Ground Up merchandise at a recent Brooklyn event.

How do you design?
The three of us really enjoy and benefit from working together, so much of the design process is done as a joint collaboration. Whereas most studios split projects between team members, we prefer to work as a group as much as possible. Having trained in a variety of backgrounds allows each of us to bring new and different insight to a project, which we believe makes our work more well-rounded and successful than it would be otherwise.

Mix Match Lamp, one item in the upcoming Ground Up product line.

Why do you design?
We started Ground Up Designers because we realized the need for a design studio that can provide companies with full and comprehensive brand identities. When starting a business, most owners hire multiple professionals (an interior designer for the design of their space, a graphic designer for their logo and a web designer for their website) and this often results in lots of logistical headaches and a disjointed and unclear brand identity. Hiring one company to handle all aspects of the design ensures that the client will receive a complete and cohesive package. It also results in a fully satisfying design process for us, since we enjoy working on the entire scope of a project rather than just a small part. We’re control freaks. We can’t help it.

December 20’s daily design idea is be more like the G’s: identify ideal clients, find great collaborators, and rock your niche.

You can find, contact, and follow Ground Up Designers online!
Website: www.groundupdesigners.com
Blog: www.blog.groundupdesigners.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=575462506&sk=info#!/groundupdesigners
Twitter: www.twitter.com/GUpDesigners

3×3 with Jennifer Hoffman. November 4, 2010.

Jennifer Hoffman is a Designer and the Principal/Founder of Ecohaven Project.

What do you design?
Interior Design, Branding, Art Direction, Mixed Media Art + most recently – Collaborative Design.

Copyright Jennifer Hoffman

Where do you design?
Chicago, IL

Copyright Jennifer Hoffman

Why do you design?
We spend 90 percent of our time indoors, which is usually more polluted than outdoor city air. In addition, we spend our time in spaces that aren’t designed well in terms of aesthetics, functionality, accessibility + sustainability. Designing functional, beautiful + inspiring environments that are healthy + safe for the planet + its people is fundamental for good design.

In terms of Ecohaven Project + collaborative design, we’re just starting out. On the projects we’ve worked on so far, it’s been really great to brainstorm ideas with other disciplines to come up with interesting + innovative solutions for design problems. We’re big fans of IDEO’s collaborative design process because everybody has the opportunity to contribute. We also like the idea that EVERYBODY is a possible design collaborator in this forum.

November 4’s daily design idea is be more like Jennifer: take care of the earth, take care of its people, and collaborate in the process.

Jennifer Hoffman Design:

Ecohaven Project:

3×3 with Jacques Laroche. July 14, 2010.

Jacques Laroche is a computer scientist who explores the intersection between science, politics, and society. He is also an active creator and thinker, who avidly believes in the power of design.

What do you design?
I design objects and ideas that push the boundaries of standard conception. Although objects are inextricably linked to ideas, I specify objects and ideas because I have worked in the the realms of physical creation (photography, digital component design, circuit bending, music production, etc.) and of pure thought (philosophy and writing).

I believe that when one engages in the practice of writing they are in effect involved in the creation, or design, of ideas. Accomplished writers take this further by weaving their ideas into a web that catches the minds of their target audience, sometimes known as the efficient transmission of memes. The totality of this process – creation of ideas, identification of a plausible target audience, and distribution via an effective medium – constitutes an intricate design process.

Where do you design?
When I was involved in photography, my location was New York City, mostly at night and usually confined to sites with a sense of symmetry. Electronics design usually happens in my home, on a central sturdy table that’s covered with audio and video cables, wires, components and tools. Adjacent to the table is a computer where I research the project at hand as well as a library of books for the same, though analog, purpose. Writing happens either at home, at coffee shops, or in libraries.

Pathways by Jacques Laroche; chair, presumably where thinking occurs

Why do you design?
For two reasons: First, because accepting the world at face value is not an option for me. In the particular case of the design of electronics, users – or citizens (as opposed to “consumers”) – are provided with an intentionally limited options. Increasing the functionality and availabilities of a product, for example the amount of sounds on a drum machine, can be easy, but most manufacturers maintain a fairly stifling and presumptuous relationship with their consumers by controlling the availability of a feature or overall product. In effect, corporations are telling citizens “our job is to design and produce, your job is to passively and continuously consume”. From where I stand, this is unacceptable, and active design on the part of the citizenry is one definite way to counteract this fact.

Second, I believe that creation is an integral part of human purpose. Design is essential the spiritual well-being of an individual. When someone contributes something that they have personally designed (whether the item exists physically or solely in the realm of ideas), he or she will likely feel useful to and integrated with his or her family, community, society.

drum machine modification, in progress

July 14’s daily design idea is be more like Jacques: “opt for vitality rather than stagnation, contribution instead of passive consumption, life over death.”

Find Jacques on Current Perspectives.
All images by Jacques Laroche.

3×3 with Jeremy Pickett. June 20, 2010.

Jeremy Pickett is the founder and designer at Pickett Furniture, a custom furniture and studio line furniture shop in Red Hook, Brooklyn. After a long and winding career path working for other furniture makers (and a hiatus which included a round the world trip with his family), Jeremy Pickett debuted his furniture line in 2009.

What do you design?
I started the business with a studio line of furniture that debuted at ICFF last year. Since then, we have gone on to work with designers on custom pieces and built-in cabinetry that fits our aesthetic. Later this summer we will debut a new line of green and sustainable lighting that features bamboo shades and LED wiring.

Photo by John Muggenborg/Mugg Photo (left/above) and Kevin O’Brien (right/below).

How do you design?
Our overlying goal when making either a custom piece for a client or designing a new piece of furniture for our studio collection is to make sure we are creating furniture that can’t be recreated in a mass production factory. We make our furniture out of solid wood which is hand selected for each project. By retracing history’s steps using traditional hand-cut Japanese-style joinery, we are also able to create designs that defy factory construction methods.

Where do you design?
Our workshop and showroom is located on Pier 41 in Red Hook. I absolutely love our location. It’s an incredibly peaceful space from which to create. Being on a pier means no traffic noises and water views on three sides of the building. I placed my desk in a specific spot in our office so I can see the Statue of Liberty out the window from my desk chair.

June 20’s daily design idea is be more like Jeremy: bring care to your craft, find a workspace you love, and seek inspiration throughout the world.

Pickett Furniture is located at 204 Van Dyke Street, Pier 41. The showroom is open by appointment Monday- Friday 9:00am – 6:00pm. (347)404-3066.

“Like” Pickett on Facebook and be privy to Facebook-only giveaways, updates, and shared links to other great websites and design events.
“Follow” Pickett on Twitter for day to day (sometimes hour by hour) happenings and thoughts going on in the studio and workshop.
Pickett’s Tumblr blog showcases step by step galleries of projects (completed and ongoing).

3×3 with Bianca Toscano. May 25, 2010.

Bianca is b.spoke and a partner at TRUNK.  b.spoke is salvaged furniture, reinvented with a minimalist spin.  TRUNK is a boutique in Dumbo that is owned by five female designers and features fashion, furniture and accessories. All of TRUNK’s product is made locally and built well.

What do you design?
I like to give love to old furniture. In Brooklyn, I am constantly amazed at the amount of “thrift” there is to behold.  On the streets, salvage yards and at places like Build It Green NYC, there is great furniture withstanding time, waiting for renewal. I am attracted to pieces with interesting shapes and solid construction.  By witnessing the forms through a modern context, and by using all Low – No VOC paints and finishes, b.spoke gives these pieces new life, one by one.

Pillar at TRUNK; Lingerie Cabinet by b.spoke

Where do you design?
Here in Brooklyn, there is such a high level of craftsmanship with which local artists are approaching new work.  Innovation is everywhere! Whether it’s pieces with environmentally responsible materials or products manufactured locally in our neighborhoods, our city is immersed in great design. At TRUNK, we aim to connect great product to consumer, in a natural and simplified manner.  It’s like buying local produce at the Farmer’s market on the weekend, but only with furniture, fashion and accessories.

Why do you design?
A connection is made when someone finds what he or she is looking for through our work. At TRUNK it could be a dress for a wedding, a clever piece of jewelry for a friend or a unique piece of furniture for a home. People are finding, for themselves, the very thing that we are passionate about bringing to life as designers… and that’s pretty exciting.

May 25’s daily design idea is be more like Bianca: behold the thrift, seek out excellent craftsmanship, and bring life to your designs.

Buffet by b.spoke, retails for $850. Available at TRUNK, (718) 522-6488.

All photos by Marc McAndrews.

Find TRUNK at 68 Jay St.  #101 Brooklyn NY 11201, (718)522-6488.
Starting in June, open 12-8 daily.
TRUNK: made local. built well.

3×3 with Quentin Regos. May 14, 2010.

Quentin is: a designer, a contributor to Daily Design Idea, and a Maven.

What do you design?
I’ve spread myself pretty thin doing a variety of projects over the past 9 years. My best summary is that I art direct entertainment and cultural experiences. I’d like to avoid talking about specific products like a logo, poster, album cover, visual identity, band performance, web site widget. I’d much rather tell you about the users, viewers, packed audiences, and their smiles, laughs, full tummies, hookups, non-stop headbangs. That’s really what I’m designing when I work.

Jellybean Fiasco plays at Webster Hall Studio, April 1 2010
Music Management, Concert, Entertainment Industry (Rock Music)

How do you design?
My focus is on observations and processes. It is human nature to respond to our needs; it is the designer’s job to be solving for those needs before you even know you have them. It’s not that designers have to be all knowing, but they need to be aware of what’s organically happening. Rather than retroactively posing an idea to the problem, a good designer sees it all coming. The problem should only be one factor in dictating the final solution.

Midtown Comics: Krash!
Art Director, Outdoor Advertising, Entertainment Industry (Comics)

Why do you design?
I can’t help myself. I’m the guy that has friends from everywhere, from the jocks to the nerds, from restaurateurs to touring hard rock heavy metal bands, and so on. I design through and for my relationships and enjoy connecting others with new information. I’m someone that Malcom Gladwell would call a Maven. In the Tipping Point, Gladwell quotes Mark Alpert as saying, “A Maven is someone who wants to solve other people’s problems, generally by solving his own.”

Quentin at a picnic with friends at Fort Greene Park, Labor Day Weekend 2009
Photo by Maritsa Patrinos

May 14’s daily design idea is be more like Quentin: share and trade what you know.

Find Quentin at QuentinRegos.com.


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