Five Things recently spent several days helping out at the awesome designjunction show in the Artbeam building, Chelsea, New York; part of NYCX Design week. The show was jam packed with beautiful new products and worldwide brands; encompassing areas such as furniture design, lighting products and funky designed stationery items. One of the items that caught my attention at the show was the gorgeous Fusion chair, designed and produced by Toronto based furniture design studio – Studio Lulo. Studio Lulo’s aim is for their ‘products are designed to endure the test of time using high quality materials and specialized for both commercial and residential use.’ After chatting several times at the show the studio’s designer owner – Jose Navarette – kindly agreed to answer five questions for Five Things.
1. What inspired you to make this beautiful modern furniture?
I admire modern and contemporary designers such as Jaime Hayon, YabuPushelberg and Tom Dixon, I aim to infuse a modern look to my designs but try to maintain a certain level of traditional techniques during the manufacturing process.
When I moved to Canada in 2006 I started working as a drafts man in a furniture factory, during this time I learned a lot. I remember sneaking into the frame shop and upholstery room to just observe these guys take raw materials, process them and watch what I had drafted a few days ago materialize into a finished product.
One day I decided that I wanted to make my own designs, I had an idea in mind so I drew some sketches. I prepared the 3D CAD models, made a cardboard model for visualization, and had the parts of the frame cut in a CNC machine. I contacted an upholsterer friend and after a lot of work we manufactured our first piece, The MIA swivel chair. This process was truly inspirational to me, I enjoyed it so much that it became a motivation to keep doing it again and again.
2. How relevant are beautiful products like this in the digital age?
Digital sharing platforms ( twitter, Instagram and Facebook for example ) allow us to share our product and process with a broad audience and this is a beautiful thing. Likewise we can be inspired by what others are doing and hopefully inspire others too.
From a design and manufacturing stand point there is a great abundance of digital tools that when used properly can be very powerful during the design and engineering process, however they are just tools and they have nothing to do if a product is beautiful or if it isn’t.
I believe a beautiful product is the one that stays true to its concept, serves a practical purpose for the end user and has a honest use of materials regardless if digital tools were used in its creation or not.
3. What has been the biggest achievement so far for the company?
As a new company with less than 6 months of operation we have been lucky, I would say that the greatest achievement so far has been able to participate in a few trade shows where our products have received a great reception within the design community both locally and internationally.
4. How important is branding to the success of a product like yours?
I think it is really important, specially in a very saturated market like ours. When you are trying to communicate a message to your audience ( Clients ), they need to be able to relate to that message, and branding is the tool that allows you to differentiate yourself and have your audience remember your products.
5. What are your five things? Five products, places, memories ( or anything) that mean most to you, and why.
1. The smiles of my baby girl, they warm up my heart and soul.
2. I love travelling, it all becomes real the instant when you are on a plane ready to take off and the plane lifts from the ground and you realize that you are flying.
3. Little things like a warm hearty meal surrounded by friends and family during a cold winter day.
4. I’ve always being one with nature, I think the smell of fire wood evokes memories from my childhood when I spent a lot of time camping with my family, and I just had the greatest time.
5. I love fireworks and the sound they make, nothing to say about that.
Huge thanks to Jose for taking the time to answers the questions in such wonderful detail. If you like Studio Lulo furniture you can check them out at the website >> Studio Lulo.