Latest Articles in Interviews

Toaster Mica

The Toaster Project

One of the most exciting books to come across my desk in the last while is designer Thomas Thwaites' incredible The Toaster Project: Or a Heroic Attempt to Build a Simple Electric Appliance from Scratch. In it Thwaites recounts his efforts to source and collect the materials necessary to make a toaster (and we're talking about extracting bits of mica and steel from the earth here), and then build the thing. The result is a hilarious, wonderfully wrought account of how hard it is to really make anything from scratch, much less an electronic device. I asked Thwaites a few questions about the book whilst he was in transit to the Pop!Tech conference in Camden, Maine. His answers were revealing. His book is even better.
October 24, 2011
rolling record jack white

Jack White on Design

We got the low down on Jack White’s Rolling Record Store in our October issue, but the man had much more to say. Here, he talks about unfinished furniture designs, high school with Harry Bertoia, and why we should all be listening to Captain Beefheart.
September 28, 2011
Yasuaki Onoda of ArchiAid in his studio.

Yasuaki Onoda of ArchiAid

Architect as emergency response worker: that’s the concept behind ArchiAid, an organization founded after Japan’s March 11th tsunami and earthquake that aims to help revive the battered coastal region. The group of over 200 architects—which includes UCLA Department of Architecture Chair Hitoshi Abe and dozens of other well-known Japanese architects—have held symposiums and workshops, joined local planning committees, interviewed disaster victims about the history of their obliterated villages, and drawn up town plans that take safety, sustainability, and culture into account. I caught up with Yasuaki Onoda, a founding member of ArchiAid, professor at Tohoku University’s Department of Architecture in Sendai, and collaborator with Toyo Ito on the Sendai Mediatheque building. When I left his design lab at around ten in the evening, he and his students were still bent over their models, tirelessly designing the future towns of Tohoku.
September 20, 2011
Tom Moser Deacon

Three Questions for Tom Moser

This morning I spoke with Tom Moser, the man who founded the Auburn, Maine, furniture and woodworking firm Thos. Moser, about the reissue of his 1977 book, How to Build Shaker Furniture. We spoke about the endurance of Shaker designs, the book, and what he hopes to achieve through his work. The former Bates College professor told me that he hopes his book, which was out of print for about a decade, catches on again. We covered the Thos. Moser Deacons's bench in our October Made in the USA issue, and as part of the release of the book, Moser has offered a great PDF that describes how the Deacon's bench is made over at Popular Woodworking. Read on.
September 15, 2011
San Francisco Skyline, Liz Hickok

Molding the Modern City

Many of us have taken “professional development” courses, if only to keep up with the pre-teens already coding their own social network or cutting their first film. When it comes time to break free from basic HTML coding skills and transition towards the hip, multimedia style of HTML5, pleasant surprises are not usually found hidden within in the code. But courses at BAVC, San Francisco’s Bay Area Video Coalition, can lead to some thrilling discoveries—especially if the course is taught by SF-based photographer and installation artist, Liz Hickok.
August 24, 2011
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