Designer Peter B. Staples brings a cinematographer’s eye to his designs for Blue Green Works, the studio he founded last year with longtime collaborators James McAvey and Dan Persechini, who handle the business side of things.
Staples studied film in college, when he considered the field the nexus of his curiosities about architecture, fashion, and narrative, but eventually found his way to design, where his multifaceted interests have informed his work.
Take the studio’s inaugural Palm lighting collection, which was inspired by the "brutal beach modernism" and storied hedonism of Fire Island Pines, the gay vacation destination. "The luminaires were conceived around sex and voyeurism," Staples says. "They change as you move through them and play with different vantage points or transparencies."
The studio is based in New York, and the city is providing more inspiration for its next act. "Here, people live out their dreams on the streets and in the restaurants, inside stores and bars," Staples says. "I think it’s all kind of like a movie."
Learn more about Staples by reading the Q&A below.
Hometown: Moline, Illinois
Describe what you make in 140 characters. We make lighting fixtures using steel, brass, slumped glass, and fiberglass.
What's the last thing you designed? We just launched our first collection of lighting: it's a total of seven pieces between two series.
Do you have a daily creative ritual? Music and coffee.
How do you procrastinate? Listing to the same song on repeat until I find some clarity.
What everyday object would you like to redesign? Why? Ceiling fans and televisions. I just think we could do better. They should be great objects, not just appliances.
Who are your heroes (in design, in life, in both)? Horace Gifford, Jim Jarmusch, Piet Hein Eek, Rihanna, Billy Cotton, Frank O'Hara, and Nina Simone.
What skill would you most like to learn? Carpentry.
What is your most treasured possession? I have a painting of Olivia Hussey from Franco Zeffirelli's Romeo and Juliet that my grandmother painted from a photo in Life Magazine. It hung in the entryway of their house when I was a kid and I always loved it. It's mesmerizing — Juliet has this amazingly intense gaze and the composition is a bit off. I have it in my apartment now and I'm more in love with it every day.
What's your earliest memory of an encounter with design? I grew up in a Gustav Stickley house surrounded by craftsman furniture. I remember it as being rich and moody like the inside of an instrument: a lot of wood, a lot of resonance. I also remember playing on a golden shag rug and dancing to the Velvet Underground.
What contemporary design trend do you despise? Despise is a strong word but I'm worried about how much marble we have left.
Finish this statement: All design should... Serve a purpose while making you feel something.
What's in your dream house? A Joe D'Urso coffee table, a Piet Hein Eek cabinet, some great Stickley chairs, some Donald Judd art, white slipcovered sofas, and my friends.
How do you want design to be different after we emerge from the pandemic? More realistic. More open. More approachable. More conscious.
Get the Pro Newsletter
What’s new in the design world? Stay up to date with our essential dispatches for design professionals.