August 9, 2012
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
April 4, 2012
Jim Franco is an interiors and lifestyle photographer who also paints and makes surfaces for the prop-rental house he co-owns. And that means that his work space spreads out between two studios and the prop house itself. One studio contains his office upstairs, which allows him to shoot downstairs. The second gives him room not only to photograph, but also to drag out his saws, sanders, paint, and plaster to craft the prop surfaces. “My work spaces are either super neat or very messy,” he explains. Get a glimpse at the tidy side of his life and take as a listen to the music mix playing throughout his day. Read more
Balance, Design, Products, Technology
January 30, 2012
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.
December 14, 2011
This week, Boston-based artist Leah Giberson delivers a first for us: a music mix compiled from a home office containing a turntable, a tape desk, and a Bose Wave. (Feels futuristic and old-school all at once, doesn’t it?) Take a listen to the sounds that are filling her studio in our newest
What do you listen to while you work? Like most people, it depends what I’m working on. When writing or reading, I really need to minimize distractions, so I often wear my headphones without listening to anything at all. If I’m painting, though, it’s usually a mix of Americana, folk, roots, country, blues, punk, indie rock, and a bit of electrofunk thrown in for good measure. There are also lots of times I end up listening to public-radio programs and podcasts much of the day. If it’s an interesting story, it works just as well as good music to distract the left side of my brain and allow the other side do its thing—plus it makes me feel like I’ve learned a little something about what’s going on in the world despite the isolation of working from home.
September 22, 2011
Jennifer Bass and Lance Glover are founders of Treehouse Design Partnership, a Los Angeles-based firm specializing in environmental graphics, identity, book and furniture design. Jennifer’s book on her father, Saul Bass: A Life in Film and Design, co-authored by Pat Kirkham, is due out in November 2011. Lance also teaches at the Art Center College of Design and is a member of the improvisational music/video collective Health and Beauty. Below, the couple describes how the studio integrates their design practice with their many other interests, including art-making, instrument-building, writing and music.
We moved our office to this space about 12 years ago, a modest 1,000 square foot corner of a 1950’s bow-string truss warehouse on what was then a sleepy industrial block of Culver City– since then the neighborhood has changed dramatically, with new art galleries, restaurants and bars cropping up almost daily.
Our intent for the space, in addition to being a home for our graphic design studio, was to balance our various activities and interests. To that end there is a soundproofed shop for building things (with a combination of new and inherited tools from Lance’s grandfather), space for making music and storing music gear (the main floor often becomes one big rehearsal room, and our daughter Amanda’s drum kit sits in a loft space above the shop), places to stash Lance and Amanda’s silkscreens and Jennifer’s many objects from nature that she uses both in and for inspiration in her art (tumbleweeds, branches, seed pods, rocks etc.), an area for flat files, samples library, bookshelves, a small kitchen, and a few under-the desk snoozing spots for our two dogs, Ben and Puma.
It is a space unstructured enough to allow for continuous experimentation– the only fixed elements, aside from walls demarcating the shop and Jennifer’s office are the kitchen and the bookshelves- everything else is on wheels or portable sawhorses.
We find that working in this environment brings an open-ended sense to our time there– on those days we’re not crunching a deadline, when the skylight darkens it’s a cue that it’s either time to go home or to step away from the desk (or workbench) and make a little noise…
Balance, Design, Products
July 14, 2011
This month’s CreativeMornings breakfast lecture lands at Herman Miller’s Los Angeles showroom with Poketo founders, husband-and-wife team, Ted Vadakan and Angie Myung. Poketo began in 2003 with a line of limited-edition vinyl wallets and has expanded into a product range that includes office accessories and fashion items. Last week they visited the Herman Miller showroom (below) to get ready for their talk – see their shots of the showroom here. I asked the duo to share their studio space and answer a few questions about their work life.
How long have you worked in your current studio? And where is it? We’ve been in our studio for over 4 years now. It’s in the Arts District of Downtown Los Angeles. A really growing part of downtown… cool restaurants, bars, cafes and still a very pedestrian part of downtown LA. It’s not far from the hustle and bustle and still maintains a cool neighborhood feel and a strong sense of community among the residents here.
Describe your style? How would you define your aesthetic? It’s hard to define our style. Both Angie and I design and curate all of the artists and the products on Poketo. We’ve collaborated with other 200 international artists for Poketo. We both have eclectic and different tastes, but, when we both like something, we know it right away. We like to think of our aesthetic as happy, modern, colorful, bright, full of personality, and accessible.
How do you keep your work space organized? Our space is a small 1200 square foot open floor plan. We have no dividers to separate work spaces. The way we work is pretty democratic, everyone chimes in at any given time on different topics in the office. Organization is maintained within each of our desks and small shelves above them. Because we house most of our products here at the studio, light industrial shelves are important for storing all of the thousands of goods we carry.
When you set up your office what did you have to keep in mind? Were there any particular obstacles to overcome? We set up the office as open, flexible, and modular as possible. Because we do everything here from design, outreach, packing/shipping, meetings and events, we wanted a space that flowed freely and furniture that could be moved around easily. For example, on any given day, it could be a normal day of designing at our desks, doing a photoshoot and the next day could be an artshow with tons of work on the walls and hundreds of people in our space. We needed a studio that could function as both office and event space, one that could change at whim with a fair amount of ease.
What do you like about the office space? I do like the shelf above my desk as it holds art, personal gifts from artists, and other knick knacks from our travels. The office turntable is also highly coveted, everyone here brings their records in for a spin.
What desk accessory can’t you do without? I can’t live without my Poketo Desk-It and Bookmark Tabs. The Desk-It keeps my week straight and the tabs I use to mark inspirations in magazines and books.
What would you change about your work space? As we are growing, more and more people are in the office. As much as I love an open floor plan, having a separate area for meetings and brainstorm sessions would be amazing. I would love a giant room with huge dry-erase walls, a long table, and comfy chairs- a room solely for ideas and play.
What inspires you? We recently renovated the kitchen in our home. Cooking has now become a huge inspiration… and then, eating.