Brian Kane came to design early and has pursued it obsessively for 40 years. Fresh out of college with a degree in industrial design, he worked for Silvio Coppolo in Milan, Italy. Still in his early 30s, he became partner, part-owner, and vice president of development and design of Metropolitan Furniture Corporation (Metro) in New York City. A dozen years later, in March 1989, he established Brian Kane Design Studio in San Francisco where he’s been ever since.
Kane’s seating resides unobtrusively in some of the most recognizable cityscapes in the world, from Manhattan to San Francisco. He also recently designed Swoop lounge furniture for Herman Miller.
Here are seven questions for Brian Kane:
1. What are you working on right now?
My current projects include the completion of the Swoop lounge area concept. Other elements are needed, such as café stools and tables, lighting, privacy screens, technology cabinets—all the things required to supply the needs of this ‘working lounge’ collaborative environment.
2. Which of your projects are you most proud of?
For sure, the Swoop collection for Herman Miller. Watching the way people act in public spaces and providing a whole-room solution for that environment was a great design problem—and I’m very happy with the final design.
I’m also proud to have my Landscape Forms’ bench solutions all over the streets of New York City and San Francisco.
3. What inspires you? Where do you go for inspiration?
Traveling. Going to cities. Their architecture, their public spaces, their energy, their museums all inspire me.
Building things—I guess I like immediate gratification!
4. What work do you most admire by another designer or artist?
The Italian design explosion of the late 1970s and 80s. That passion and creativity led to the development of so many great products. The works of Mario Bellini and Vico Magistretti really had an impact on me. LeBambole and Sinbad to be specific.
My other heroes are all minimalists: Le Corbusier, Charles and Ray Eames, Deiter Rams, Antonio Citterio, Jasper Morrison.
5. What would be your dream project?
I’ve always done my best to use innovative green materials in my designs. I’d like to continue this effort—finding new materials and manufacturers that are willing to innovate.
Another dream project would be to offer my design services (no fee) to some non-profit organization that needs my design talents. Possibly this blog will put someone in touch with me.
6. What place in the world would you most like to visit?
My fascination with travel keeps taking me to different parts of Italy. We lived in Milan in the 70s, and I have never been able to get enough of it.
7. What one thing do you want to accomplish before you die?
I’m working on this one!