Of course Mark Goetz designs furniture that looks good and functions well, but to him, that’s not enough. He wants people to like his pieces, too. “You could live with a good solution and not really like it. Objects should be loved and wanted as well as provide a solution,” he says.
Over the course of his career, Goetz solutions have found their way into the headquarters of the Chicago Bulls, the Kennedy Center in Washington, and the president’s office at Harvard. He’s designed an extensive collection of chairs, casegoods, and tables for Bernhardt Design and others.
A daunting challenge for Goetz was to create a sofa for the Herman Miller for the Home collection that would complement its classic Eames, Noguchi, and Nelson pieces. The result is the Goetz sofa, a clean, unfussy design with a veneer shell and padded upholstery and pillows that is substantial enough to relax in or even to nap in. Goetz also created the Aside chair for Herman Miller.
Here are 7 questions for Mark Goetz:
1. What are you working on right now?
I’m designing some new seating for Geiger, and together with communication designer, May Liu, I just completed my first line of textiles for the Momentum Group.
2. Which of your products are you most proud of?
Certainly I’m most proud of having a piece within Herman Miller’s modern classics. The fact that the sofa is named “Goetz” makes it the project my father is most proud of.
3. What inspires you? Where do you go for inspiration?
I get inspired by so many things: history, nature, materials. Most of all, I come up with ideas when someone expresses a need. Solutions occur to me during conversations. Even though I work with companies, I am most interested when someone tells me what he or she feels is necessary. This could be a nurse in a hospital explaining to me how difficult it is to lift a patient out of a chair. Or it could be as basic as someone telling me what kind of sofa they like to watch a game from. Through listening new ideas come into my head.
4. What work do you most admire by another designer or artist?
I admire work that remains. It makes no sense to design an “eco-friendly” piece that is trendy or poorly made. I am interested in pieces that can physically last and that have an aesthetic that will endure. That is what I most appreciate about the Eames collection. When I visit a museum and see original prototypes or early manufactured designs, I realize that although these objects fit our contemporary world, the ideas and creative thinking happened a long time ago.
5. What would be your dream project?
I have worked on seating for most of my twenty-plus year career. I have designed chairs that are used in a wide range of applications. These days, I am questioning the established notions around seating and always asking myself what other approaches could improve the way we work or even relax. My dream is always to add to the ongoing development of seating.
6. What place in the world would you most like to visit?
Living in New York, I tend to crave wide open expanses. Places where I can look far off into the distance. Therefore, I love going to mountainous regions. I would like to visit more of our national parks.
7. What one thing do you want to accomplish before you die?
I enjoy my life as a designer. I love working with different people on a number of diverse projects. I also enjoy teaching. As long as I can continue to learn and improve, I would feel fortunate to keep designing and teaching for the rest of my life.