The Dwell 24: Loose Parts

Based in Hudson, New York, Jennifer June, the designer behind Loose Parts, is committed to reducing waste by sustainably sourcing and fabricating adaptable furniture that people won’t throw out.

On the website of Loose Parts, the furniture company she founded in 2019, designer Jennifer June shares an alarming statistic: "Wood is the largest material category in furniture landfill waste."

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June is committed to reducing such waste by sustainably sourcing and fabricating adaptable pieces that people won’t throw out. Launched at the height of the pandemic, her Original Assembly Kits (OAK)—component-based shelving and display systems—are customizable collections of hardwood rails, metal panels, and steel fasteners that have many possible easy-to-assemble iterations.

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Her other items can also be modified. The Mamá Cari chair, named for June’s grandmother, has an adjustable backrest, for instance, and is available in different color combinations.

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In a work-from-home era suited to pieces that perform double or triple duty, says June, "I wanted to design a system that can wear many identities."

Read the full Q&A with Jennifer June below.

Hometown: Hudson, New York

Describe what you make in 140 characters. Loose Parts is a furniture system designed to adapt to changing needs and environments.

What’s the last thing you designed? The Lean-To Lounge, a new chair for the Loose Parts system. I’ve been playing around with different connection points and the Lean-To uses the support of rails resting on each other to create the slope of the seat and back.

Do you have a daily creative ritual? I go for a run in the morning. It clears my mind from any worries or pending deadlines and allows me to approach my work with a clean slate each day.

How do you procrastinate? Is it still procrastination if you’re thinking about the thing you need to do but are not doing? Then I would just call that part of the process.

What everyday object would you like to redesign? Why? I would love to redesign the classic children's playground found in most American cities. There's something kind of sad about them with their primary colors and literal reference to architecture. It would be much more interesting to create a playground full of open ended shapes that left room for the imagination. My happiest memory as a kid was playing in the trees. In my mind they could be anything—a fort, a castle—it felt like this private joy that only my peers and I could see.

Who are your heroes (in design, in life, in both)? There are many artists I admire for their clarity of vision but it’s the women in my family I look up to the most. My mom and her sisters immigrated here from Costa Rica when they were in their early 20s. They didn’t know the language or even how they were going to make money. When I think about how clueless I was in my 20s and here they were making space for themselves among strangers! That self-assuredness requires a different kind of clarity that I greatly admire.

What skill would you most like to learn? I’ve recently picked up playing the piano again and wish I was much better than my 7 years of lessons proves.

What is your most treasured possession? I could name a few essential tools in my workshop but my most treasured possession is a black and white photo of my grandmother and great grandmother I keep framed on my desk. They are smiling and both seem so happy. I love that I can feel their joy when I look at that photo.

What’s your earliest memory of an encounter with design? This may not be a very highbrow example of design but I do have a lot of early memories of our Snoopy Sno-Cone machine. I can still see the red crank in the back of Snoopy’s dog house and how he sat on top of the chimney where you fed the ice cubes. Such a smart design, it was so intuitive!

What contemporary design trend do you despise? Single use products.

Finish this statement: All design should... facilitate reuse and repair.

What’s in your dream house? Hand poured terrazzo floors.

How can the design world be more inclusive? Showcase more women and more people of color for a start. It would be easy to think that the design world is only for white men because that’s all we ever hear about; Le Corbusier, Charles Eames, Mies van der Rohe. I didn’t know I could be a designer because I didn’t think it was available to me. Design needs more points of view, more voices, more seats at the table. The purpose of design is people, and we as a people are a diverse group. So why isn’t that represented in the design world?

What do you wish non-designers understood about the design industry?  That it really is a collaborative effort. There are a lot more people involved than the one name attached to the finished product.

You can learn more about Loose Parts on their Instagram.

View the 2022 Dwell 24!




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