written by:
October 31, 2012

Minnesota-based designer Matthew Plumstead has had quite the year. His Integrated Workstation project for Herman Miller won a Red Dot award for best design concept and his Kickstarter campaign recently raised enough funds to put Clip Tree, his valet launched at ICFF, into production.

One of Plumstead's paintings.
2 / 4
Standing integrated workstation by Matthew Plumstead
Plumstead designed Integrated Workspace to accommodate all of the postures one might have throughout the workday—a traditional desk, standing station, and daybed.
3 / 4
Clip Tree by Matthew Plumstead
Plumstead describes the Clip Tree valet as sheet music where the bars are posts and the notes are the adjustable clips."I became focused on entry hall," he says of the concept. "I was trying to come up with a system with fairly simple parts for shipping and manufacturing, and for it to be configurable so people would have authorship over the object."
4 / 4
Designer Matthew Plumstead

Before graduating from Cranbrook with a degree in 3-D Design, Plumstead was painter. An architect frequently visited his gallery shows, noted that he had an architectural logic in his works, and suggested he change fields. That idea piqued Plumstead's interest. Since he had no background in building, he decided "it was probably good to try and learn how to put things together" and enrolled at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. "At that point, I was hooked and scrapped architecture and stuck with furniture." He then went on to earn a BFA in furniture design from MCAD.

plumstead dual band painting
One of Plumstead's paintings.
"My focus is on looking at human behavior in a home or office and finding ways to make those areas more harmonious and activities more mindful," says Plumstead about his creative process. "I start by looking at an underutilized space and finding out how can I make it better for a person."

Standing integrated workstation by Matthew Plumstead
Plumstead designed Integrated Workspace to accommodate all of the postures one might have throughout the workday—a traditional desk, standing station, and daybed.
With Integrated Workstation, Plumstead took another look at office furniture. "It's an interesting time for the typology since politics have changed," he says noting that in the past, the main objective of offices was to fit as many people in as possible. Now, offices are trying to show that they value the well-being and comfort of their employees, especially since the traditional 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. workday isn't the norm for a growing number of people. "What's the strongest political statement that you can make?" he posits. "Introducing a place where you can put your feet up."

Clip Tree by Matthew Plumstead
Plumstead describes the Clip Tree valet as sheet music where the bars are posts and the notes are the adjustable clips."I became focused on entry hall," he says of the concept. "I was trying to come up with a system with fairly simple parts for shipping and manufacturing, and for it to be configurable so people would have authorship over the object."
Though Plumstead is hard at work getting his studio up and running and Clip Tree into production, he found the time to answer our questionnaire:

Ideal working environment: A rehabilitated warehouse space within an easy bike ride of my house. Lots of desk space, books, prototypes, and natural light.

Lucky break: Being selected for the ICFF Studio Award this year really helped to put the career wheels in motion for me right out of graduate school.

Dream commission: Being asked to design an office system or maybe a limited-edition object with no budget constraints.

Hero: Achille Castiglioni, Dieter Rams

Annoying buzzword: Honest (as in "made of honest materials")

Best compliment: Nice Shoes

Currently reading: The Hobbit—I first read it when I was ten and decided now would be the time to re-read it before the movies have their way with it.

Last film watched: I have to sheepishly admit it was The Avengers... It's not my fault; I collected comic books when I was a kid! That's how they get you!

Most recent playlist: I am hooked on Coexist by The xx, Beams by Matthew Dear, and The Haunted Man by Bat for Lashes.

The house is on fire, the first thing you grab is: An original Eames leg splint

Your eureka moment: For my first furniture design class, I made a contact lens case out of steel, cork, and beeswax (it was functional, really!). I knew then that this was the path to artistic and intellectual fulfillment.

Best advice: Not sure if it is the best but it is the most recent: "Jump off of the cliff and build the plane on the way down."

Worst-ever idea: Too hard to crown just one as the winner

When not designing: I'm explaining how and why everything works the way it does to my two-and-a-half-year-old daughter, Clara.

The best seat in the house: I have a pair of vintage Scandia chairs by Hans Brattrud that are awesome. They are so elegant and smart.

Wish you had: My own 3-D printer

Looking forward to: Going for a run with my daughter

Join the Discussion

Loading comments...

Latest Articles

green machine smart home aspen colorado facade yard bocci deck patio savant
Smart technology helps a house in Aspen, Colorado, stay on its sustainable course.
June 25, 2016
Rare green AD65 radio from Ecko.
The aesthetic appeal of personal electronics has long fueled consumer interest. A new industrial design book celebrates devices that broke the mold.
June 25, 2016
modern backyard deck ipe wood
An angled deck transforms a backyard in Menlo Park, California, into a welcoming gathering spot.
June 24, 2016
dscf5485 1
Today, we kicked off this year’s annual Dwell on Design at the LA Convention Center, which will continue through Sunday, June 26th. Though we’ve been hosting this extensive event for years, this time around is particularly special.
June 24, 2016
under the radar renovation napa
Two designers restore a low-slung midcentury gem in Napa, California, by an unsung Bay Area modernist.
June 24, 2016
light and shadow bathroom walnut storage units corian counter vola faucet
A Toronto couple remodel their home with a special emphasis on a spacious kitchen and a material-rich bathroom.
June 24, 2016
Affordable home in Kansas City living room
In Kansas City, an architecture studio designs an adaptable house for a musician on a budget.
June 23, 2016
modern lycabettus penthouse apartment oak vertical slats office
By straightening angles, installing windows, and adding vertical accents, architect Aaron Ritenour brought light and order to an irregularly shaped apartment in the heart of Athens, Greece.
June 23, 2016
kitchen confidential tiles custom cabinetry oak veneer timber house
A modest kitchen addition to a couple’s cottage outside of Brisbane proves that one 376-square-foot room can revive an entire home.
June 23, 2016
feldman architecture 0
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
June 22, 2016
Blackened timber Dutch home
A modern dwelling replaces a fallen farmhouse.
June 22, 2016
hillcrest house interior kitchen 3
Seeking an escape from bustling city life, a Manhattan couple embarks on a renovation in the verdant Hudson Valley.
June 22, 2016
angular
Atelier Moderno renovated an old industrial building to create a luminous, modern home.
June 21, 2016
San Francisco floating home exterior
Anchored in a small San Francisco canal, this floating home takes its cues from a classic city habitat.
June 21, 2016
modern renovation addition solar powered scotland facade steel balcony
From the bones of a neglected farmstead in rural Scotland emerges a low-impact, solar-powered home that’s all about working with what was already there.
June 21, 2016
up in the air small space new zealand facade corrugated metal cladding
An architect with a taste for unconventional living spaces creates a small house at lofty heights with a starring view.
June 21, 2016
young guns 2016 emerging talent marjan van aubel london cwai ming ng current window
Marjan Van Aubel makes technology a little more natural.
June 21, 2016
urban pastoral brooklyn family home facade steel cypress double
Building on the site of a former one-car garage, an architect creates his family’s home in an evolving neighborhood of Brooklyn.
June 20, 2016
Modern Brooklyn backyard studio with plexiglass skylight, green roof, and cedar cladding facade
In a Brooklyn backyard, an off-duty architect builds a structure that tests his attention to the little things.
June 20, 2016
the outer limits paris prefab home living area vertigo lamp constance guisset gijs bakker strip tablemetal panels
In the suburbs of Paris, an architect with an eco-friendly practice doesn’t let tradition stand in the way of innovation.
June 20, 2016
amaroso40040
When a garage damaged by termites had to go, a studio emerges.
June 19, 2016
the blue lagoon iceland geothermal spa hotel water visitors
The famed geothermal spa outside Reykjavík, Iceland, is entering a major new phase—paving the way for the area’s first five-star hotel.
June 19, 2016
heaven on earth maya lin topography what is missing california academy sciences wood video
A new monograph by Rizzoli explores the memorial project by the renowned artist.
June 19, 2016
gable game austin texas cantilevered home facade windows upper level car port
For Dwell's annual issue dedicated to indoor/outdoor living. Here, we introduce you to the photographers and writers who made it happen.
June 18, 2016
Modern prefab lakeside home in Bloomingdale, New Jersey
Every week, we highlight one amazing Dwell home that went viral on Pinterest. Follow Dwell's Pinterest account for more daily design inspiration.
June 18, 2016
Rectangular bento glass table with compartments.
These top-notch projects by design students earned a spot on our honor roll.
June 18, 2016
bozley all
Jory Brigham picks up his family’s trade and takes it in unexpected directions.
June 17, 2016
ph133407
The outlandish Belgian fashion designer, a member of the iconic Antwerp Six, creates a quirky pattern-filled capsule collection for the Swedish mega-retailer—with a high-tech twist.
June 17, 2016
2016 Triumph Pavilion
A creative take on the classic children's toy.
June 17, 2016
planar and simple chicago farmhouse addition kitchen mutina cabinets tiles pella window kohler faucet
A relaxed interior and radical roof make a home more sociable and energy-efficient.
June 17, 2016