Design, Education, What's Up
May 1, 2012
Recently in the Wall Street Journal, Brian Kane revealed that every design begins the same way: with paper and a pencil. “That is my favorite part of the process—having a good concept come alive on my drawing board!”
To sketching, Kane adds observation. In the case of Swoop, Kane drew on his experience teaching students at the California College of the Arts. He noticed students didn’t sit, as much as they drape themselves across furniture, and they constantly rearranged their furniture for working, meeting, or socializing.
Under Kane’s pencil, a line of modular lounge seating took form. Composed of tables, chairs, and lounges, each piece designed to be arranged, and rearranged. Curved arms encourage relaxation, while discouraging students from setting their soda cans on the upholstery. And deliberately few seams reduce the places for crumbs to collect.
For Kane, “It’s all about comfort and innovation.” Two qualities evident in his designs for Swoop.
Check out Crafting Chairs For How We Sit Now to learn more about Brian Kane’s career designing furniture.
February 11, 2011
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.
Design, What's Up, Work/Life
December 1, 2010
When Brian Kane, designer of Herman Miller’s new Swoop lounge furniture line, was looking for vacation property in Calistoga, California, back in 1989, he had no idea he’d end up with an 1884 one-room schoolhouse. Or that he and his wife would spend the next 21 years renovating the historic landmark.
The schoolhouse was originally built for the children of Italian immigrants who came to work in the vineyards of Napa Valley. “And when we pulled in and saw its potential, we just had to have it,” says Kane.
And now, after literally thousands of hours (not to mention nails, screws, and staples) they’re almost done.
The most satisfying part, he says, is just looking at the finished product. “It’s always a little startling to see the before and after, but it’s also very rewarding.”