Dwell 24: Alex Brokamp
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Dwell 24: Alex Brokamp

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By Dwell
Cincinnati-born designer Alex Brokamp has come along way from making skateboard ramps in his parents’ driveway.

Currently studying for a master’s degree at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena‚ Brokamp‚ 28‚ has already worked for Matter Made‚ Rookwood Pottery Company‚ and Brendan Ravenhill Studio. This past spring‚ during New York City’s design week‚ he won a NYCxDesign award for his Collate Table Collection‚ which he made using CNC-cutting to create patterns on aluminum tabletops. 

The Tsukiji Light by Alex Brokamp, which was inspired by the Tsukiji fish market in Japan.

He is also exhibiting at Paris’s Maison & Objet this month‚ where‚ along with five other studios‚ he will represent the United States. His approach‚ he explains‚ is to find the middle ground between experimentation and function: "The balance is to be lighthearted‚ but to execute in a careful‚refined way."

Learn why Brokamp is currently learning about different upholstering techniques, and see his other responses to our Q&A, below.

Hometown: Cincinnati, Ohio

Current Location: Los Angeles, California

Describe what you make in 140 characters. As a designer, I am focused on bridging technical knowledge with a lighthearted simplicity to produce furniture, lighting, and objects.

What's the last thing you designed? The Handle With Care Table. The table is made from mirror-polished aluminum and utilizes digital printing on low-iron glass. The goal of this piece was to playfully distort material contexts. I also completed the Tsukiji Pendant Light recently, which was inspired by the Tsukiji fish market in Japan.  

Do you have a daily creative ritual? Coffee. Also, if I have time, I like to skateboard in the morning before heading into the studio. 

How do you procrastinate? By getting lost on YouTube 

What everyday object would you like to redesign? Why? Maybe a set of door handles and pulls, because they are objects most people come into contact with multiple times a day.

Who are your heroes (in design, in life, or in both)? My design heroes include Konstantin Grcic, Stefan Diez, Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec, Misha Kahn, and Jonathan Muecke. In life, my heroes are my family and friends. 

What skill would you most like to learn? I am currently working on an upholstered chair, so at the moment, I am learning a lot about different techniques for upholstering.

Collate coffee and side tables by Alex Brokamp 

What is your most treasured possession? A carved wooden turtle my grandparents gave me when I was born

What's your earliest memory of an encounter with design? Designing and building makeshift skateboard ramps in my driveway with my dad and friends when  

What contemporary design trend do you despise? I enjoy all trends, when used in the right context.

Are you left-handed or right-handed? Right

Finish this statement: All design should...try to instill a meaningful connection between an object and the consumer by balancing the physical and emotional attraction to that object.

I sketch with a…pen.

I do my best work...first thing in the morning.

My studio is…a hive of productive clutter.

Instagram is...a promotional tool.

The Peapod Light by Alex Brokamp.

Choose one: Bauhaus, Memphis, or Brutalist? Brutalist

Rank the following: (1) Form, (2) Function, and (3) Fun

Choose one: Less is More, Just Enough is Enough, or More is More? Less is More

Choose one: Past, Present, or Future? Present

If you had to pick a favorite material, what would it be? Aluminum

What’s in your dream house? I would love a nice, open design studio that has a small shop attached to it so I can work on mock-ups and prototypes. A basketball court or skatepark would be nice as well. 

You can follow Brokamp on his website or on Instagram

Want more? 

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