Balance, Design, Products, Technology
March 26, 2010
Around the web this week:
1. An Accident of Hope Summer Pierre is an illustrator and author of The Artist in The Office: How to Creatively Survive and Thrive Seven Days a Week. Her blog is heartwarming, smart and packed with interesting interviews about people’s work lives. Where to start: The John Porcellino interview.
2. Contemporist Launched in 2007 this picture-driven site showcases great new design and contemporary architecture from around the globe. Where to start: Click on architecture for some great projects.
3. Blue Ant Studio If you like mid-century design you’ll love this blog. Where to start: The Art Studio. I love the Chair Exam poster.
4. The Office Stylist For everything you ever wanted to know about a home office. Where to start: A great post on hiding cables – the bane of every home office.
5. Arch Daily You will never need to buy another architecture magazine again. It’s all here. Where to start: Check out building of the year. There’s some incredible work here.
Balance, Design, Products, Technology
March 17, 2010
Monkeys Always Look is the name of an opinionated and funny design blog and etsy shop run by designer Allison D. Cecil. She works from her San Diego home with her husband, tortoise, three great danes and “a really angry cat.”
What sort of work do you do and how does that impact the space you work in?
I am a housewares designer/maker, trapped inside a vintage treasure hunting horticulturist that fantasizes about paper and typeface I need LOTS and LOTS of room since I have so many different products that I make and sell. Each product seems to require a different tool, dedicated work space, oversized piece of large machinery or fun gadget I had to buy and to justify buying it I make something with it to sell. To my very patient husband’s horror it has taken over the entire house, backyard, garage, legal air rights and walls in our tiny little house.
How long have you been in your current work space and what size is it? I started my business almost two years ago in our 130 sq foot spare bedroom. I still use that bedroom to do computer design work related to my business and all the packing and shipping of my wares. In the last year my business has taken over the house and I consider my workspace to be 1200sq feet, which is the size of our little tiny house. In the living room I stamp silverware, photograph items, and nap on the couch. In the dining room I cut stationery, pile up outgoing orders and pig out, and in the kitchen I make candles, horde photo props, and make coffee (the most important meal of the day).
Do you have any tips on how to organize a work space? Well I *try* to stay organized by storing things in lots of antique tins, wooden boxes and other vintage booty I find along the way. I also find that piles and piles and piles of stuff where the most important stuff is hidden somewhere in the middle is helpful for me. Not because I can find anything, but reminds me that I have a lot of work to do and shouldn’t be goofing off.
What are some of the pitfalls of working from home? A triple soy cheese veggie burger and an entire bag of frozen french fries is only 3 minutes in the microwave and a bite away. I think the biggest pitfall is that work is never over. I will find myself checking email on the way to the bathroom at 3am.
What do you most enjoy about working from home? Probably what most people love about working from home…, Oprah marathons, the bon bons, 3 hour lunches, on-staff masseuse, emailing in the nude, you know the usual.
Do you have a desk accessory you can’t work without? I love a good tape dispenser.
How big a role does technology play in your work? While so much of what I do is handmade, my “shop” is on-line. So while producing the actual items requires more muscle than technology, I couldn’t live without my Mac to blog it, sell it, tweet it and communicate with clients and customers.
Balance, Design, Products, Technology
March 16, 2010
Lara Parent is a Michigan-based photographer and blogger. We’ll be following her amazing office over the next year as she changes the ‘inspiration walls’ that surround her desk. The idea is to create a kind of visual diary of the space, so look out for upcoming posts tagged ‘Talking Walls’. But first we talked to Lara about working from home…
How much time do you spend in your home office? What kind of work do you find yourself doing there? Anywhere from 2-6 hours on any given day or evening. I mostly work on my photography: everything from exploring and editing to making photographs in my space. I have only been digital for a little over 4 years, so I feel like in this transition from film and the darkroom to the digital darkroom I am constantly learning. Lately I have also been making and editing videos and doing some occasional tiny sketches–some for a new body of work I am starting. When I first started out in photography, my focus was fine art for gallery and museum exhibitions, but I never lost my love for photographing people and collaborating with my subjects: I am fascinated by other people’s stories.
How would you describe your home office? What is the design aesthetic? I surround myself with objects from nature, man-made objects and images or illustrations that inspire me. I don’t know that I have a set design aesthetic…I guess it could be described as flexible and open, ever-changing. My office is a place where I can focus, create, think and just be. It has beautiful morning and evening light that never fails to inspire.
Does anyone else use your home office? I love it when my husband comes in to hang out, talk, or to give me feedback on my work. Our dog, Lucy, loves to nap in the space and bask in the patches of light throughout the day.
How do you organize the space? With great difficulty…a consistent way or system of organization is something I have yet to perfect. My husband who is an industrial designer, did an incredible job at laying out and creating a wonderful office space from a spare bedroom. He designed and built my main work surface and also helped me to figure out which work areas would work best for different projects and tasks. He also found ways to create the maximum amount of storage–control the clutter–in the existing space by knocking out a section of a wall to create a more accessible closet, to utilizing the space next to a dormer for built-in shelves that house my files and photo equipment. I have three main work areas in my office: the main desk [below] that houses my computer, scanner, printer, external hard drives, and Wacom tablet. I do a lot of my editing and other work on the computer at this area; another work surface on casters where I do most of my writing and sketching; and three of IKEA’s Malm cabinets that make up a nice work surface (when it is clear of stuff!) for cutting and packaging.
What piece of technology helps you most in your work? My laptops and my iPhone. I love portability and on occasion, the ability to work on a few things at one time. One of the things I enjoy most about the iPhone is that I always having a camera with me. I am forever stopping on walks or pulling over in my car to capture something beautiful or interesting.
What impact do you think color has on a workspace? A great deal of impact. I absolutely love color and always find it incredible when someone can make bright and saturated colors on their work space walls work for them. Because so many of the images and objects on my walls and shelves are full of color, when the background isn’t neutral, the color ends up competing with those images and objects and I have a hard time focusing on what I have posted. I get my color fix by the other blocks of color in my space: Goldfish FLOR carpet tiles, a window seat cushion in a similar orange, and my green office chair.
What desk accessory can’t you do without? My set of Prismacolor colored pencils (and a black marker, and paper with a bit of a tooth to it).
Is there a piece of furniture you’d love to replace? Furniture-wise, no. I adore my green Eames Aluminum Group chair and all of my work surfaces. I love that my chair and one of my tables are both mobile. Casters are essential! If there is anything I’d like to change, it would be the color that I painted my west facing tackboard wall. I love green. I love color. But after living with it for a few years and seeing how the green competes with the images, I’ve realized I must repaint in a more neutral color–likely white.
What inspires you? I am fascinated with people…how others see and what their stories are. I was always that kid who loved looking at other people’s photo albums, home movies, and the art and objects that people had in their homes. My husband also constantly inspires me: his thinking processes, the objects and spaces he creates and his kindness. I am inspired by people who are thinkers, who create, who are dedicated, who have passion, and who work to make things better. Light, nature and color are another a huge source of inspiration. I do my best thinking on days when there is a lot of light or at the lake when the clouds are dark and the light is dramatic. So much…
February 26, 2010
Wayne Pate is a self-taught designer/ illustrator who lives in Brooklyn, NY. His whimsical illustrations have graced the packaging and pages of Jack Spade and Elle Decor UK. In addition to his client work, he maintains an online store which he operates from a studio space at the ground floor of his home. Today Wayne gives us a glimpse into a normal workday and the challenges of maintaining an office at home.
How long have you been working from home? I’ve been working from home on and off over the past ten years.
What are some of the challenges you’ve faced working from home? I would say the biggest challenge is staying focused on your work when there are so many distractions all around you. Ah, nap time. No! No! Another downside is you spend a lot of time by yourself so it’s important to stay productive during work hours, even when you have some down time use that time to catch up on bills and all the other tedious chores. Talking to yourself is something that goes unnoticed by the person starring in the one man play!
Where do you do most of your work? I have a cozy little office/studio on the ground floor of our brownstone in Brooklyn. The office/studio is in the front of the house so when I look out the window I still feel connected to life outside.
What’s a normal work day like for you? I’m up early with the kids so I have my breakfast and cup of tea consumed early on. When the nanny arrives I immediately take a shower and get dressed as if I’m going to an actual office. Once I’m in the office I check emails and plan the day accordingly. I try to break for lunch between 12:30 – 1:30. Lunch only last long enough to eat. No lingering! I work through to 6:30 to spend time with the kids and off to bed them back to work if need be.
Can you offer any tips to someone considering working from home? The golden rule, treat your home office as if it’s an actual office that you have to commute too and one that has other employee’s. You keep your professional edge and it’s good for you mentally.
February 8, 2010
Forget about a board. Why not just use the wall? One of the reasons this works so well is there’s a strict order to it. Using images that are the same size gives clarity to the chaos of disparate photographs. Via designer Shiela Vu’s Flickr pics. Below is another inspiring image from her office, this time with a board, and it also works beautifully.
Her blog is I Heart Chivalry and if you check it out today you’ll see Sheila has picked up on the Google television ad – one of the best Superbowl ads from yesterdays game. I have to admit it – I watch for the ads not the sport. I loved the e-trade ads with the babies. Cheap shot, I know, but they are funny. And, much to the horror of the people watching with us, the Dove for Men ad made me teary. Which one was your favourite?
February 4, 2010
The famous photograph of the Herman Miller designers and founder DJ De Pree has always intrigued me (from left top row: Robert Probst, DJ De Pree and Charles Eames. And seated, Alexander Girard, George Nelson and Ray Eames). I love the camaraderie captured. I’m sure it wasn’t always there! But for a split second a real joy was captured. I’ve always wondered who took the photograph? It’s a very interesting story. The official photographer that day was Judith Olausen (her image is above). She’s shot a lot for Herman Miller and I’ve been in email contact with her. Judith generously offered to scan the negs from the shoot. I’m excited to see these shots. I’ll post those all as soon as they come in!
According to our archivist, Linda Baron, the photographer who took the image of everyone laughing (below) is Melissa Brown. The story goes that there was a break in the shoot and they were all joking around when Melissa snapped this shot. I’m yet to track down Melissa (anyone got any leads there?)
January 15, 2010
We’ve had a great response to Dave Cuzner‘s interview with artist Matte Stephens so I’ve decided to share the work Matte did for Herman Miller’s ‘See’ magazine. Unfortunately we no longer publish ‘See’ and the story, which was about the Pacific Northwest, that Matte illustrated never saw the light of day. We’re thrilled now to share the images with you.