Latest Articles in Interviews

Black and Blum Q and A

Q&A with Black+Blum Founder

For more than a decade, London-based design company Black+Blum has been cranking out beautiful, sometimes quirky or humorous, and always functional products for the home. From its elegant tabletop accessories to its innovative lighting designs (like one light that can be either table lamp or floor lamp) to its playful bookends and ski pole-shape potato masher, each Black+Blum product comes with character. We caught up with Martin Blum while he was in stateside for the New York International Gift Fair to find out what prompted him and Daniel Black to launch the company, what it takes to bring a design to market, and what they've got coming down the pipelines.
August 18, 2011
QA ka me ki chi project

Young at Any Age

Japanese designer Mikiko Endo lets her wild imagination go to work—–so we can play.
July 24, 2011
christopher sharp portrait

The Rug Company's Chris Sharp

Founded in London in 1997 by Suzanne and Christopher Sharp, The Rug Company grew out of the globe-trotting couple’s love of exotic cultures, exquisite hand-craftsmanship and, of course, rugs. Apart from sticking to conventional retail business practices, the twist the Sharps brought to the trade—which they helped to revivify, both in the UK and abroad—is a contemporary aesthetic; currently, the company markets fashion-forward work by numerous designers, among them Paul Smith, Vivienne Westwood, the late Alexander McQueen, Tom Dixon, and duo Barber Osgerby. With success has come expansion—TRC has seventeen stores worldwide, with five more to arrive by the end of next year—but with no diminution of quality, craft or customer service, according to Chris Sharp. He sat down with Dwell recently (on an unseasonably hot early-spring morning), in his boho-chic, and appropriately rug-filled, establishment in Manhattan’s SoHo district.
July 1, 2011
mills macgregor beginners

Mills & McGregor on "Beginners"

Beginners, a new film by Mike Mills starring Ewan McGregor, Christopher Plummer, and Melanie Laurent, takes place in the Los Angeles of Richard Neutra, Deco hotels, humble Spanish bungalows, and independent bookstores. It opens with septegenarian Hal Fields (Plummer) telling his son Oliver (McGregor) that he's gay. For a double-whammy, the conversation takes place on the heels of the death of his wife, who he was married to for 45 years. The complexities of modern relationships—love, obligation, change, sadness, honesty, and mourning—are explored through two different storylines: that of Hal as he embraces life as a newly outed man who is coping with terminal cancer, and that of Oliver, which takes place after Hal passes. Oliver, while struggling to overcome his father's death, learns to love from Hal's willingness to take risks and build a new life when he was so late in years. What's most remarkable about the film is that it's inspired by the experience of Mills' own father. "Beginners started when my father came out of the closet," writes Mills in his director's statement. "His hunger to completely change life was confusing, painful, very funny, and deeply inspiring."
June 8, 2011
milton glaser portrait1

An Afternoon with Milton Glaser

Meeting design legend Milton Glaser was one of those classic moments that can only happen in New York City. I was having lunch with Alan Heller—the man behind the furniture manufacturing company Heller Inc.—when he scribbled Milton Glaser's number on a napkin, insisting I meet him. I called Milton the next day, and in turn, he invited me to his studio on East 32nd Street in Manhattan. I spent a few hours talking about history, both Milton's and New York's in equal measure, and parts of that special day are captured below.
May 26, 2011
pinkeye shoe supply

Shoe Supply's Upcycled Design

Belgian design firm Pinkeye recently created a retail space for Antwerp's Shoe Supply that upcycles an entire classroom. Situated on a quiet side street in the city's main retail district, the shop's off-the-beaten path locale tasked the designers with a hefty challenge: create an attention grabbing concept that would have mass appeal—and do it on the cheap. A local school was shuttered and instead of letting its contents lay to waste, the designers took desks, maps, lockers, chemistry flasks, and lamps to create this retro-inspired sneaker shop.
May 25, 2011
Lissoni is interviewed on his Extrasoft modular sofa in white, defined by its geometric configuration and irregular contours.

10 Minutes With Piero Lissoni

Italian architect and designer Piero Lissoni spent an evening at the Graye showroom in Los Angeles last week at a gathering to celebrate his furniture designs for Living Divani and Porro, which Graye reps in the States. Hosted by Graye owner Maria Cicione, the event was focused around Lissoni’s recent work, including thoughtfully designed sofas, beds, chairs and shelving and storage units. Lissoni, soft-spoken and humble, explained his approach to each design in a quick, ten-minute interview.
May 19, 2011
dieter rams vitsoe

30 Minutes With Dieter Rams

The word "icon" is thrown around rather freely in the design world, but when discussing Dieter Rams and his body of work, it is the only word that sticks. Last week, on the morning after attending the opening of 60s 606 is 50, an exhibition at the New York City Vitsoe shop celebrating 50 years of Rams’ 606 Universal Shelving System, I was lucky enough to sit down for 30 quick minutes with the legend. Joining us in the dining room of the Mark Hotel is Mark Adams, Vitsoe's managing director. The conversation was less an interview and more a glimpse into a conversation between two old friends and colleagues, part of which is captured below.
May 18, 2011
jonathan adler portrait

Jonathan Adler

Seventeen years ago, Jonathan Adler wasn’t a brand, he was a one-man full-time pottery production operation—“making, glazing, firing, packing, and shipping every single piece I made.” After successfully pitching an initial order for Barneys, he expanded his empire to eponymous shops in major cities across the United States and an online catalog featuring goods that range from ceramic rhinoceros boxes to wool area rugs to lamps and candleholders. Developing his business savvy alongside his ever-expanding collection was an organic process for Adler, one that has allowed the potter to grow with his company. “Getting out from behind the wheel has enabled me to be infinitely more creative,” he says.
May 17, 2011