The Design Life: How Do the Dwell 24 See the World?

The Design Life: How Do the Dwell 24 See the World?

We surveyed our designers to find out—the results may surprise you.
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We asked this year’s Dwell 24—our annual roster of the most exciting new names in design—about everything from how they procrastinate to the one object they’re yearning to reinvent. Check out their responses below.

My studio is...

  • 87% A hive of productive clutter 
  • 13% A study in head-clearing minimalism

If I had to choose one... 

  • 44% Brutalism 
  • 30% Memphis
  • 26% Bauhaus

The last thing I designed was...

  • Face mugs and vases for the "We Are Everywhere" Pride show in Oakland. —Viviana Matsuda, Mud Witch
  • A policy document for a communal woodshop. —Joyce Lin
  • A new type of wall-covering, made from a range of environmentally responsible materials. —Tiffany Loy 
  • We are currently busy with flower pots. —Martin Duchêne and Charlotte Gigan, Studio Biskt
  • A doorstop. —Gregory Beson, Studio Beson

My daily creative ritual is...

  • Deep breath in, deep breath out, and constantly reminding myself to just be observant as I go about my day. —Thabisa Mjo, Mash.T Design
  • Linking up with my team on WhatsApp for constant banter. — Ciaran McGuigan, Orior

  • Getting stuck in traffic on my commute is my greatest source of contemplation and creation. —Joyce Lin

I am...

  • 92% Right-handed
  • 4% Left-handed
  • 4% Ambidextrous 

My favorite material is... 

  • 26% Steel
  • 21% Wood 
  • 9% Clay 
  • 9% Wool 
  • 5% Marble 
  • 5% Resin 
  • 5% Concrete 
  • 4% Fabric 
  • 4% Paper 
  • 4% Hair 
  • 4% Any pliable material 
  • 4% All of the above

Ways I procrastinate...

  • If I want to procrastinate big time, I walk the entire length of L.A.’s Wilshire Boulevard—16 miles of divergent neighborhoods and architectural styles. I take a friend and make a day of it. A meal in K-Town is mandatory. —Thomas Musca, Cassius Castings 
  • I like to cook. Every week I invent a new recipe. I like to lie in the sun with my cat. Read comic books. Play board games. Run. Eat ice cream on the beach. —Alex Rocca

The everyday object I would like to redesign is...

  • The fanny pack. I want to like it, but there are some major design flaws regarding size and position, which is why I made my own that I use every day. —Joyce Lin 
  • A humane redesign of the cell phone, such that it returns to its original role as tool, rather than all-consuming, addictive, soul-crushing device. (I have a problem managing my phone usage, clearly.) —Sean Kim, Wooj 
  • The face mask. If it were both effective and extremely comfortable, it wouldn’t feel like a hassle to use it. —Tiffany Loy

My heroes in design and life are...

  • Well, my fictional heroes are Tom and Jerry, but someone who gives without expecting something in return is a real-life hero. —Richard Yasmine 
  • Nature. Everybody copies her. —Llane Alexis

I do my best work...

  • 39% In the morning
  • 17% In the afternoon
  • 13% In the evening
  • 31% Late at night

I work best with...

  • 64% Music 
  • 23% Silence 
  • 13% Podcasts

The skill I would most like to learn...

  • I’d like to practice making cordage and become more knowledgeable about knot tying. It seems truly magical to create something so useful from what might be regarded as detritus. —Gregory Beson, Studio Beson 
  • If metaphorically, I can say "control my emotions." —Richard Yasmine

My most treasured possession is...

  • An opal strung on a necklace that my father gifted my mother for one of her birthdays. She passed it on to me before she transitioned. We are both Libras, and opal is our birthstone. It’s shaped into a sphere bead, which is almost impossible to do because opal is a soft stone. It wasn’t until several years ago when opals became trendy that people commented on how beautiful it is. —K’era Morgan, k-apostrophe

I follow...

  • 44% Form
  • 26% Function
  • 30% Fun

My earliest memory of an encounter with design...

  • It really came in the form of fashion. I remember being five or six years old and showing up at school in a huge pink satin baby doll/ballerina/tutu dress and everyone looking at me like I was weird. —Thabisa Mjo, Mash.T Design 
  • As a kid growing up in Havana, playing baseball was practically mandatory. I hated the sport and still do. But the hand-stitched mitts and baseballs were so beautifully made and are of heirloom quality.    —Llane Alexis

A contemporary design trend I despise is...

  • Minimalism. I think it’s very arrogant and has notes of classism. —Viviana Matsuda, Mud Witch 
  • Design that embraces the use of expensive material as the predominant feature of the work really bothers me. I think opulence for opulence’s sake is pretty gross, given the state of the world at the moment. —Sean Kim, Wooj 
  • Epoxy resin tables. —Esi Hutchinson 
  • Trends are fine. It’s more the general lack of originality within these trends that is a bit sad. —Laurids Gallée

What I wish non-designers understood about the design industry...

  • A very large amount of what designers say is absolute hand-wavy garbage, and for the most part we are not to be trusted. We’re desire creators—and are probably very responsible for the amount of waste that society produces. —Sean Kim, Wooj

I sketch with...

  • 43% Pen
  • 43% Pencil
  • 14% Computer 

Instagram is...

  • 48% A promotional tool
  • 35% An amplifier for design ideas
  • 13% A homogenizing force in the design world 
  • 4% I don’t use Instagram

The design world can be more inclusive by...

  • Not only including BIPOC, fat, queer, differently abled folks etc., but also creating an environment where they are comfortable. Asking folks how to make them more comfortable is the best way—and only way—to know what people’s needs are without assuming. Assuming people’s needs can be harmful and offensive. —Viviana Matsuda, Mud Witch
  • Lowering tuition costs for design schools and providing more financial support for emerging artists and designers who do not have family wealth as a safety net. —Joyce Lin 
  • Many groups are excluded from accessing and using certain types of design. Similarly, there are areas of the design sector that are not yet open to designers from all communities, which limits the pool of experiences influencing the design of objects around us. The greater diversity in experiences feeding into the industry, the more sensitive the industry will be to a wider range of individuals. —Mac Collins 

I believe...

  • 0% Less is more
  • 22% More is more 
  • 78% Just enough is enough 

All design should...

  • Evoke a kind of emotional connection. —Richard Yasmine 
  • Be open source. —Martin Duchêne and Charlotte Gigan, Studio Biskt 
  • Be honest. —Casey Johnson 
  • Last. —Ciaran McGuigan, Orior

My dream house has...

  • A Chieftain chair by Finn Juhl, 005 coffee table by Soft Baroque for Vaarnii, and an original painting by Chris Ofili. An iteration of the Soap table by Sabine Marcelis as my office desk, and a side table by Simone Brewster. —Mac Collins 
  • A tree. —Jonathan Omar and Lionel Dinis Salazar, Döppel Studio
  • Windows everywhere and Pierre Paulin’s Osaka couch. —Paola Sabourin and Zoé Costes, Sabourin Costes 
  • A spacious woodshop with air-conditioning, dust collection, and spray booth. —Joyce Lin

After the pandemic, I’d like design to be different...

  • Less mass-produced, more bespoke, more appreciated. —Tiffany Loy
  • More realistic. More open. More approachable. More conscious. —Peter B. Staples, Blue Green Works 
  • I think it would be helpful for the world if design were more sustainable physically and economically. —Esi Hutchinson

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