October 5, 2010
This week’s Design for You prize is the Setu chair by Studio 7.5. Here’s their story:
“Burkhard Schmitz, Claudia Plikat, and Carola Zwick began their partnership in 1992. They were looking for the freedom to work on projects that interested them. And for the freedom to do so without bosses and titles.
And that’s pretty much how they’ve operated ever since. “Everybody does everything,” says Burkhard, speaking for the group that now includes Carola’s brother Roland Zwick. “That’s how we cultivate ideas and maintain our openness and curiosity.”
The group’s name—Studio 7.5—comes from an early idea to rent a 7.5-ton truck, put a model shop in it, and drive from one project site to another. Obviously, freedom of movement is a big deal for these designers. They move freely—and smartly—when designing products for their clients.
Going from concept stage to the model shop, sometimes within a day or two, they begin to create rough prototypes. And like kids let loose with a pile of clay, this is their favorite activity.
You really have to work in three dimensions when designing products,” notes Claudia. “So we don’t spend much time on fancy renderings. Computer drawings just don’t give you the feel, the touch, the smell.”
And they love designing furniture. “What’s so interesting about designing furniture as opposed to, say, a tape recorder, is that the designer who designs the recorder comes in last in the chain of command,” explains Roland. “It’s just the beautification or ‘packaging.’ With furniture, it’s far more holistic.”
They find designing office chairs in particular to be the most rewarding. One reason is their experience working with Herman Miller on their award-winning Mirra chair and their newest design called the Setu chair. “We define not only how the chair looks but how it performs,” says Carola. “We’re very involved with its physical behavior, because beauty is not only what you see, it’s also what you feel.”
September 15, 2010
Los Angeles-based Phil Lumbang is one of the five artists chosen to paint an Eames rocker in our Design For You contest. Here he shares his workspace with us and a little bit about the process of painting.
How long have you worked in your current studio? And where is it? Well, I work out of my apartment, but I have a pretty big balcony where I can paint and get all my work done. My place is only a few block from MacArthur Park in Los Angeles and I’ve been here for about a year.
Describe your style? How would you define your aesthetic? Simple is best. Bold black lines and a sense of wonder. I have these characters that I always draw; bears, birds, and elephants mostly. I like to keep them very iconic and easily recognized.
As an artist how do you keep your space organized? I’m thinking here of the physical space but also your computer. Are there any particular programs you find really useful? Oh boy, I’m probably the most unorganized person I know. Paint, brushes, paper everywhere, but in that pile of mess I know where everything is! My computer is the same way, I just toss everything on my desktop. Luckily there is a fancy search feature for when I forget where things are. I have a degree in graphic design so Photoshop and Illustrator are some of my favorite programs to use.
What would you change about your workspace if you could? MORE SPACE!
What do you most love about your space? It’s outdoors and I can work in the sunshine.
What inspires you? Cartoons are my biggest inspiration. Anything thats makes me smile. And just having a crazy imagination.
Tell me about the experience of painting the Eames chair? How much prep did you have to do? What inspired the final design? Painting the Eames chair was really fun. I am use to painting on flat surfaces and it was a welcomed changed. I’ll be honest I didn’t have anything planned out, I had a loose idea in my head but kept adding things as I went. First I put down white as a primer but as soon as the white hit the blue I thought it looked pretty awesome. Then I went on from there. The final design is a bear sitting down in a snow-capped valley with chocolate syrup being poured down the mountains… I really dont know how it turned out that way… I guess I was hungry!