With its streamlined-yet-slightly-eclectic interior and striking panoramic view of the Manhattan Bridge, there’s no doubt that creativity is the main objective of TODA, a multidisciplinary design studio in the DUMBO neighborhood of Brooklyn. This tour from Apartment Therapy Tech takes a look inside the company’s space, a mix of neutral tones and minimalist style with pops of color and artistry that aren’t surprising in a studio dedicated to visual communication, industrial design, and architecture. Get a peek inside the inspiring, versatile space here. Read more
Three years ago, we featured the home office of Kate Bingaman-Burt, an illustrator and professor of graphic design based in Portland, Oregon. Hers was a vibrant, character-packed workspace that seemed to have a particular sense of joy when it came to color and design. So when we heard she moved into a shared studio, we had to see the result. Get a taste of her new space in this quick tour. Read more
Toronto is the home base for the lively workspace of Bento Box, a boutique Web and business development studio that stopped us in our tracks when we saw how many of our SAYL Chairs filled its offices (very impressive). Take a look at their space — also home to coworking artists, designers, and developers — in this latest tour. Read more
With a mission to design, build, and advocate for buildings that improve health and strengthen communities, MASS Design Group is creating change for the good. Celebrated for the innovative design and cost-efficient construction of its Butaro Hospital in Rwanda, the firm is currently working on several new projects across the globe, including two much-needed facilities on the island nation of Haiti, which is still recovering from the earthquake of January 2010. This fall, Herman Miller will be proudly sending a team to the site to help facilitate a furniture workshop for its new Cholera Treatment Center. Take a look inside the group’s Boston-based workspace and get a glimpse at the beginning of the Port au Prince project in this quick tour. Read more
In his latest series UK-based photographer Todd McLellan takes old technology – a typewriter or rotary phone – and explodes them, meticulously laying out every tiny screw and bolt and wire to create beautiful images. Here he shares his 3-studio workspace and a few things that inspire him.
How long have you been working as a photographer? What drew you to shooting? I graduated with a BFA in 2002 from the from Alberta College of Art & Design. Assisting for 4 years I officially started shooting full time in 2006. I originally went to college to specialize in graphic arts/design, but changed my major after the first year. I really had a hard time sitting in the same room working on drawings all day. Photography allows you the freedom to explore the environment around you. I appreciate this and wanted to fully discover the medium.
Tell us about your workspace. Any special considerations that effected the way it is set up? I actually share a workspace with two other photographers. It’s a large setup with a car studio and two smaller studios. I feel very fortunate to have the freedom of space. The first part of the series started in the studio space but found some of them would take me far too long with many interruptions. I recently moved it to my office above the studio and am able to work on the projects much easier.
Your new work, Disassembly, strips down electronics to their elements. You’ve managed to capture a real beauty in the bits and pieces that come together to form once ubiquitous pieces of technology. The typewriter and rotary phone certainly no longer have a place in our home offices. Was there a reason you didn’t choose a laptop or cell phone? Most everything that I have taken apart has been mechanical. If you press a button or turn a knob you can physically see it doing its job. They are very interesting and complex inside. New technology although very complex, is not on a level you can see physically. I have taken apart my iPhone before and inside there are minimal parts.
What inspires you in your work? Things I see, sounds I hear, conversations with people, it’s amazing what can come up if you let your mind wander.
Ben Goss is based in Sydney, Australia but as a true global worker his illustrations appear in publications all over the world. You’ll find his work in The Guardian, Black and Whitemagazine and our recently released Better World Report (pictured above). Goss takes us on a tour that covers his three work spaces from his day job at Yello and his home office where he does his illustrating to his painting studio which he shares with another artist.
1. YelloI am here with a whole bunch of talented and creative people where brand strategy and well-crafted graphic design get done. It’s a big warehouse space converted into commercial studios. Good natural light come in. We have musical wars on the shared iTunes and it’s under a flight path so on occasion a low flying 747 roars by in the afternoon and drowns out the music.
2. Home Studio Where the sketching and illustration business gets done. I like to have lots of source material arround me books, web, magazines. The table is an old drafting table that can tilt to 90 degrees. The room is small but there’s enough space to move around and make a mess.
3. Painting Studio I share this space with another artist. We are seldom there at the same time and work around each other when the other is busy preparing for an exhibition. It is a great place to paint. It has good light with big floor to ceiling windows. Many days and nights are spent here working on large scale pieces.
David Airey is a graphic designer, author and since going out on his own in 2005 he’s become a touchstone for people working outside of the office. His post on how to transition to a life as a self-employed designer caught my attention in March of last year. Looking back through emails we’ve been dancing around this interview for a while now. I’ve reposted some of his writings here on Lifework but now we get a tour of his home workspace in Northern Ireland. And we’re not alone in our admiration of this designer – his design blogs Logo Design Love, davidairey.com and brand identity showcase Identity Designed attract more than one million monthly Pageviews.
Above: The view from Airey’s home office in Northern Ireland.
You’ve undergone major changes in your worklife – first when you moved from working in an office to basing yourself out of your home and then again when you moved homes. Can you tell us about those transitions? The first change (switching from an office to working from home) was in 2005 when I chose to become self-employed. My past employer became my first retainer client, giving me two or three days of contracted work per week (for 18 months or so). Because of which, I can’t remember too many nerves about going it alone.
People ask if it’s hard to motivate myself. I mean, there are always plenty of distractions when your home doubles as your workspace. Thankfully, I’ve never had much trouble. Maybe it was my upbringing — my dad made me appreciate the value of hard work.
What do I miss? Walking to work. I used to walk through the centre of Edinburgh each morning and evening. Loved it. Nowadays my daily commute takes five seconds. 10 if you count both ways.
Moving house is something I’m used to. Since first leaving my parent’s home when I was 19 I’ve lived at about 15 different addresses. That’ll be why there’s not a lot in my office — you tend to shed the junk each time you move.
You’ve set up a home workspace twice now – what did you do differently the second time? It’s six times. Six house moves since 2005. Each time for the better, though, but I don’t know if I’ll ever be completely happy with how my workspace looks (typical designer).
How does working from home impact your work? It’s hard to say. The work I produce now is of a much higher standard to what I was doing in my office days, but I’ve learned a hell of a lot along the way. Maybe if I stayed in an office, with more ease of receiving feedback from others, I’d be doing better. I don’t know.
You’re not only running a successful design business you also manage regularly post insightful pieces on your blog. How do you manage your time? I just do one thing at a time, whether it’s working on a client project, publishing a blog post, replying to emails, spending time with friends and family. But I limit the number of clients I work with at once, and each of my three blogs are only updated once or twice a week, so I’m probably not as busy as it might seem.
What inspires you in your work? Inspiration isn’t easy to pin down. I don’t think it’s necessary for the work I do. For me, what’s more important is motivation, and there’s one main aspect that keeps me going: I hope that one day I can fully support a family of my own, and if I’m to do that, I know I need to keep improving, keep streamlining my process, keep learning new skills, new approaches. The fact that I love my job and have a passion for design is a big motivator, too.
Above: Bolander’s office is 100 feet across a driveway from his home in Malibu.
While studying architecture you also learned to build furniture. How do those skills impact the buildings you design today? I still design some furniture and every once in a while even build something. I think that designing and building furniture gave me a better sense of both material and assemblage, details of how different pieces (small in the case of furniture and larger with architecture) unite.
Above: The Mosquito table and Hoist stool designed and fabricated by Bolander.
For the Whitehouse Chicago office I designed the edit desks, the reception desk and also a table that we ended up using both in the lunchroom/café as well as in the conference rooms and other meeting areas.
It is a simple plywood table that is built with just a couple of sheets of plywood and simple tools. It is made of a top and two base pieces that all just key together. To illustrate the table to the client I built a rough prototype myself in a few hours.