The in­no­cence of good design

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In­no­va­tive design ar­rives when you lis­ten to your in­ner child. Re­mem­ber­ing your in­no­cence and con­tact­ing cu­rios­ity will breed an in­no­va­tive spirit needed to con­struct con­tem­po­rary art. De­sign­ing is purely ex­plo­ration. It is dis­sect­ing the known and break­ing apart the un­known, but design can­not al­ways be found in soli­tude. It is said that great design is about re­la­tion­ships and should not be ded­i­cated to the sin­gu­lar per­son. Dis­cov­er­ing some­thing new and shar­ing it with the world cre­ates com­mu­ni­ca­tion and re­la­tion­ships that are vi­tal to grow­ing. The best part of shar­ing design is the pos­si­bil­ity of spark­ing cu­rios­ity into other in­di­vid­u­als that en­cour­ages them to dis­man­tle your prod­uct, and, once again, cre­ate unique art.

Marc Thorpe, an ar­chi­tect and de­signer based in NewYork City, is well known for in­vent­ing with a child­like mind­set. He holds a B.A. in graphic and in­dus­trial design from theUniver­sity of Mary­land and a mas­ter of ar­chi­tec­ture de­gree from the Par­sons School of Design. He has gained me­dia at­ten­tion through­out the years for many con­tri­bu­tions to design and for his col­lab­o­ra­tions with Moroso, an Ital­ian design house and fur­ni­ture man­u­fac­turer. This year, he re­leased his col­lec­tion HUSK, which was in­spired by the or­ganic ar­chi­tec­ture of corn. HUSK is an ex­cit­ing col­lec­tion that re­minds artists to re­turn to their play­ful roots and ex­plore the sim­ple things that sur­round their ev­ery­day en­vi­ron­ment.

While trav­el­ing abroad, Thorpe took a pit stop at a corn­field to take pic­tures and breathe fresh air. He picked up a corn­husk and as he was peel­ing back the lay­ers, an idea for a chair design popped into his head. He went to his draw­ing board and sketched the ini­tial prototype for the chair.

Af­ter ap­proval from Pa­trizia Moroso, the owner of Moroso Ital­ian design house, he flew to Dakar, Sene­gal. to work with lo­cal crafts­men to cre­ate the struc­ture and tex­tile of the chair. They en­coun­tered nu­mer­ous prob­lems with the struc­ture due to the nat­u­ral curves and smooth lines of the design. When they fi­nally per­fected the steel skele­ton, they be­gan to weave the fab­ric through the chair.

Half­way through the weav­ing process, the chairs’ steel poles started to bend, soThorpe told the­work­men to stop. De­feated, one of the work­ers took a seat on the chair. In that mo­men­tThorpe re­al­ized what had oc­curred. The prob­lems they came across while build­ing the chair made them stop weav­ing for a rea­son. The sun was stream­ing per­fectly through the walls of theHUSK chair, cre­at­ing a spaghetti-like co­coon around the worker. Thorpe was en­light­ened by the chairs’ im­per­fect and aes­thet­i­cally ap­peal­ing qual­i­ties.

Thorpe’s HUSK chairs re­mind us to wel­come our ev­ery­day cu­rios­ity and re­mem­ber that mis­takes can lead to ground­break­ing in­no­va­tion. De­sign­ing should never be forced, but rather a grad­ual process that sneaks up when we least ex­pect it. If there are walls dur­ing the cre­ative process, some­times a lit­tle fresh air, a mis­take, or a pre­vi­ously un­seen part of ev­ery­day life will guide cre­ativ­ity in the right di­rec­tion.

Lisa Sa­muel ASID, IIDA, is a Santa Fe na­tive and prin­ci­pal of Sa­muel Design Group, lo­cated in the heart of down­town Santa Fe. She is an award-win­ning in­te­rior de­signer known for cre­at­ing unique in­te­ri­ors im­bued with warmth and el­e­gance. Lisa (info@samuelde­sign­ is pas­sion­ate about good design that sup­ports well-be­ing.

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