Well—it's the last week of this journey (the final presentation will be next Tuesday), and its hard to believe that it is somewhat coming to a close. The good thing is: the last week is not a light one, today I got to visit some of the places I have been looking forward to since the beginning of the fellowship. Starting with Studio Dror... that was until the weather scuppered out plans. Thankfully that is rescheduled and so it can have a whole piece of writing dedicated to it alone!
Plenty more to see and do, and I was more than happy to brave the weather to get the chance to see Suzanne Tick's studio. Suzanne is a pretty big deal—I saw some of the work she has done in the glass field at Skyline in Chicago. Anyway, shes a powerhouse in the interiors area, specifically in fabrics and textiles. The aesthetic of the studio is more architectural than most other textile companies which makes them stand out as less decorative and more sculptural. The development of product is incredibly technical and process driven, which allows them to focus on exploring new fibers and manufacturing techniques. They also make sure that they spend their time staying in touch with and studying culture, society and politics and look at how these influence their products and what trends may emerge because of them. It was awesome to step down stairs and get a look at a real life, human operated loom, which was my first, and to hear the operations which allow for the investigative process which allows the designers to construct contextual color blends which lead to spectacular colors and textures in weaves. I have to say, it was also really great to spend some time with Suzanne herself—I haven't had many opportunities to spend time with designers who these companies are named after much, and so I had a few questions to ask her which were really enlightening. One of the most insightful moments from this conversation was in response to the question "do you have to be cut-throat or aggressive as young designer to get ahead and get noticed". Suzannes answer was that you do, but that it was way more than that—its about guts, its about instinct and detail, success means you have to have a head for business as well as design. There was also a really great thought which was that her success was in part due to her desire to disrupt, but you can't expect to purely disrupt—you have to also be inclusive, good disruption is about making sure that the disruption itself is understood, that the vision behind the disruption is understood. Tha'ts the quote for the day right there.
From there, it was on to Fritz Hansen to be surrounded by wonderful danish furnishings. This was a great opportunity to catch up on the history of Fritz Hansen and Arne Jacobsen.
Right next door on Wooster is Luceplan, which I'll admit I hadn't come across before, but which showcases some more Italian innovation in lighting. Founded by 3 architects (and later, one engineer), the focus is very much on materiality and technology. There are some real gems of design in here—the Costanza, (not only because it shares a name with that Costanza, but the adjustment mechanism is beautiful) and the Cappuccina (because of that simple functionality) for example. Everything is still manufactured in Milan, and their aquisition by Philips in 2010 looks like it could only make them stronger as integration with IoT becomes bigger in the lighting industry the future... if it does.