Ep. 28: Norm Abram

This Old House Master Carpenter Norm Abram charms us with stories of a youth spent building pinewood derby cars and learning the trade from his father, who lives on in the walls of the house they built together as adults. He got his start in TV by accident, but thanks to an unfailing dedication to patience and safety, that’s about the only major accident he can speak of. These days, he’s on a mission to bring today’s youth into tomorrow’s trade labor force. Plus, he reveals the secrets of his famous wardrobe. Listen:

What’s the best advice that you’ve ever gotten?

My father always taught me to be patient and safe when working in the shop or the job site. That advice results in working efficiently, minimizes mistakes and avoids injuries.

How do you record your ideas?

I usually write them down on a small pad I always have on my desk. Lately I use the Notes on my iPhone as well.

What’s your current favorite tool or material to work with?

I have been working with all kinds of material my entire life and I have yet to find a material that I would favor more than wood.

What book is on your nightstand? What’s the best book you’ve read this past year?

Devil in the White City by Erik Larson. Unfortunately, due to a very busy schedule last year reading books took a hiatus!  However the best book I read previously was An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth: What Going to Space Taught Me About Ingenuity, Determination, and Being Prepared for Anything by Col. Chris Hadfield.

Photo by Anthony Tieuli

Photo by Anthony Tieuli

Favorite restaurant in your city?

The town I live in does not have a restaurant, but there are a lot in the Boston area, so if I had to pick only one it would be Jasper White’s “Summer Shack” in Cambridge.

Norm working with his dad

Norm working with his dad

What might we find on your desk right now?

All little bit of everything surrounding the laptop I’m using to answer these questions.

Who do you look up to and why?

Even thought my father has been deceased for some time, I will always look up to him. He was my mentor, a man who worked hard to support our family and the most importantly he was the most humble and kind person I have ever known.

What’s your favorite project that you’ve done and why?

The one thing I’m most proud of is the Tiger Maple Highboy I built on the New Yankee Workshop in 2005. It was challenging and took a lot of time to build, but most importantly it made me become a better woodworker.

Norm as a youngster working with his dad on their trailer

Norm as a youngster working with his dad on their trailer

Young Norm and his sister helping their dad, who built the house they grew up in.

Young Norm and his sister helping their dad, who built the house they grew up in.

What are the last five songs you listened to?

I have a iPod with thousands of songs in various genres set on shuffle so it would be different every time I connect. So today: A Road Not Taken, You Move Me, No More I Love You’s, April in Paris and Heart-Shaped World.


Catch up with Norm and the crew of This Old House on thisoldhouse.com.

Learn more about Generation Next here and find out more about the Mike Rowe Foundation and its scholarship here.


NL-Clever-Musicbed.jpg

This episode of Clever is sponsored by Musicbed. Musicbed is a full service licensing platform that provides a highly curated selection of songs to filmmakers for use in media projects. They’re all about making quality music easily accessible, empowering creatives to tell better stories, and supporting musical artists. Start exploring their extensive library of over 650 artists: http://mscbd.fm/clvrpnw

They’re also offering 20% off exclusively to our listeners. Just enter promo code CLEVER at checkout to receive 20% off your next non-custom license. 


Special thanks to Chris Modl of Yore Studio for editing this episode.
Music in this episode courtesy of El Ten Eleven—hear more on Bandcamp.
Shoutout to Jenny Rask for designing the Clever logo.

Ep. 27: Debbie Millman

Brand strategist, OG podcaster and all-around badass, Debbie Millman, traces the genesis of her branding talent back to the Stayfree packaging at her father’s pharmacy, shares the poignant details of how a pair of lime green Levi’s helped her cope with a painful childhood and just generally oozes wisdom and deep thoughts with every word. Plus, she offers a revelatory distinction between courage and confidence and has an enduring fondness for potato chips.

Photo by John Medere

Photo by John Medere

What is your earliest memory?

My earliest memory is waking up in the hospital after a hernia operation. I was four years old. My parents were looking down on me; I was in some sort of crib. I was in tremendous pain, but as I saw the look of worry on their faces, I asked “Is the operation over?” I thought if I pretended I didn’t know the operation had even happened, they wouldn’t know what kind of pain I was in and wouldn’t worry about me.

How do you feel about democratic design?

I feel that it is the most profound manifestation of the human spirit we’ve seen in a long, long tme.

What’s the best advice that you’ve ever gotten?

From a fortune cookle: Avoid compulsively making things worse.

A spread from Debbie's book, Self-Portrait as Your Traitor

A spread from Debbie's book, Self-Portrait as Your Traitor

Cover image of GDUSA September/October issue

Cover image of GDUSA September/October issue

How do you record your ideas?

On paper.

What’s your current favorite tool or material to work with?

A pencil.

What book is on your nightstand? 

Three: Elizabeth Alexander’s The Light of The World, Esther Perel’s The State of The Affair, and Dani Shapiro’s Hourglass.

PRINT magazine cover design

PRINT magazine cover design

Illustration for Print Magazine

Illustration for Print Magazine

Why is authenticity in design important?

Authenticity is important in everything. Why should design be excluded?

Favorite restaurant in your city?

CookShop or Gramercy Tavern

What might we find on your desk right now?

A mess.

Who do you look up to and why?

I look up to Gloria Steinem. She paved the way for everything I think is important.

American Poets Magazine

American Poets Magazine

Debbie paid homage to Sally Ride’s accomplishments with a soft sculpture using felt typography, fabric and computer graphics. Published in The New York Times.

Debbie paid homage to Sally Ride’s accomplishments with a soft sculpture using felt typography, fabric and computer graphics. Published in The New York Times.

What’s your favorite project that you’ve done and why?

My favorite projects are the design and brand positioning of the NO MORE movement and the Joyful Heart Foundation. These projects have made my life make sense.

What are the last five songs you listened to?

Frederick - Patti Smith
Ring of Keys - Fun Home soundtrack
Elderly Woman Behind The Counter - Pearl Jam
To A Child - Laura Nyro
Sorry -Beyonce


View more of Debbie's work on debbiemillman.com and follow her on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Also, check out the Design Matters podcast!


This episode of Clever is sponsored by Musicbed. Musicbed is a full service licensing platform that provides a highly curated selection of songs to filmmakers for use in media projects. They’re all about making quality music easily accessible, empowering creatives to tell better stories, and supporting musical artists. Start exploring their extensive library of over 650 artists: http://mscbd.fm/clvrpnw

They’re also offering 20% off exclusively to our listeners. Just enter the promo code CLEVER at checkout to receive 20% off your next non-custom license. 

And special thanks to our sponsor, BenchMade Modern, who makes affordable, custom-sized, modern sofas in days... not months. Use code CLEVER for 15% off your order at benchmademodern.com.


Special thanks to Chris Modl of Yore Studio for editing this episode.
Music in this episode courtesy of El Ten Eleven—hear more on Bandcamp.
Shoutout to Jenny Rask for designing the Clever logo.

Ep. 26: Derek Chen

Furniture designer, engineer and manufacturer Derek Chen identifies his childhood in the midwest as the origin of his love for American design, details how he transitioned from his first career as a management consultant to his second career as the CEO and Design Director of Council, a modern American furniture brand, and celebrates the merits of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang as a model of ingenuity. Plus, he invented a technique for cleaning his room with a 2x4. Listen:

What is your earliest memory?

Being at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in NYC, probably around 1971. The noise, the crowds, and mostly the giant balloons. Specifically, the balloon of Underdog, my biggest hero at the time.

Derek's first chair design. "This chair is not BIFMA certified. I'm quite sure this was my first and last experiment with graphical elements. I've been a strict minimalist ever since."

Derek's first chair design. "This chair is not BIFMA certified. I'm quite sure this was my first and last experiment with graphical elements. I've been a strict minimalist ever since."

How do you feel about democratic design?

I love it.  I’ve always believed Ikea is a good thing.  But for every Ikea there has to be a Cappellini that pushes the needle forward without engaging in the popularity contest.

Derek's Section Bench

Derek's Section Bench

What’s the best advice that you’ve ever gotten?

Just do the right thing. You can always make money, but you can’t get your integrity back.

How do you record your ideas?

I scribble on scraps of paper and on the backs of envelopes, then scatter the scraps everywhere.  If I really can’t afford to lose a thought, I send myself an email.

Poise Tables by Box Clever for Council

Poise Tables by Box Clever for Council

What’s your current favorite tool or material to work with?

The newest one.  I love learning about new materials, and I love buying new tools.

What book is on your nightstand? 

My Kindle, though admittedly I just use it to watch Warriors games from my DVR. Also, a client recently gave me a copy of Let My People Go Surfing by Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard. It’s a nice reminder that you don’t need to sell out your principles, integrity, and priorities in order to succeed.  

Why is authenticity in design important?

Originality and creativity and authenticity go hand in hand in hand...you’re either creating or you’re copying. But I don’t believe that design is necessarily a collection of entirely unique and independent creative thoughts.  It’s a conversation with history; we know what we know and we build upon it, riff off it, expand on it with authentically new ideas.

Favorite restaurant in your city?

At Commonwealth (which we worked on) chef Jason Fox is really creative with food. As someone who works in a different creative medium, it’s really fun to experience someone’s creativity with an entirely different palette.  

What might we find on your desk right now?

You might find a lot of things, but there are a lot of things that I can’t find on my desk right now.  It’s a mess.  I see a 3d printed cell phone case, a few pairs of glasses, a tube of putty (in hard-to-find white), some furniture levelers in blackened steel, some miter saw parts, a replacement switch for the welder pedal, all amid drifts of paper.  Where is my phone?

Who do you look up to and why?

In all of the chapters of my life, it’s been the person with the most integrity. This starts with my parents, of course, and the list includes Mike McCollom, my high school track coach, Joyce Nitz, a partner at Accenture, Jerry Helling of Bernhardt Design, and President Barack Obama.

What’s your favorite project that you’ve done and why?

All of them, especially the next one.

What are the last five songs you listened to?

I’ve been listening to African music at work. Les Seigneur Rochereau, among other artists. It’s good to work to: it’s pleasant, it has a steady amble without too much drama, and the lyrics aren’t distracting (because I don’t understand them).

A couple of Derek's coffee tables with a styrofoam core. Derek says: "Ii'm interested in the line between natural and man-made products. The blue table is wood veneer that's been scanned, photoshopped, and re-printed. I called it 'faux fir'."  

A couple of Derek's coffee tables with a styrofoam core. Derek says: "Ii'm interested in the line between natural and man-made products. The blue table is wood veneer that's been scanned, photoshopped, and re-printed. I called it 'faux fir'."  

Wooden vases, Urbana Design

Wooden vases, Urbana Design

Perimeter Collection by Brad Ascalon for Council

Perimeter Collection by Brad Ascalon for Council


Learn more about Derek and Council Design at councildesign.com, and follow them on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

Amy and Derek!

Amy and Derek!


Special thanks to Chris Modl of Yore Studio for editing this episode.
Music in this episode courtesy of El Ten Eleven—hear more on Bandcamp.
Shoutout to Jenny Rask for designing the Clever logo.

Ep. 25: Taniya Nayak

Interior designer and TV personality Taniya Nayak confesses to us that she probably did some damage to the ozone layer in her youth, but it’s OK because she won first place in a high hair contest. With endearing candor, she opens up about childhood bullies, her struggles with fertility and how she defines success. Plus, while filming, she accidentally found a sex toy in a teenager’s bedroom, ew.

Photo by Michael Giragosian

Photo by Michael Giragosian

Taniya at 3 years old (awwwwww.....!)

Taniya at 3 years old (awwwwww.....!)

What is your earliest memory?

Dance recitals in my pink tutu when I was 5.

What’s the best advice that you’ve ever gotten?

Try not to take anything too personally. No one thinks more about you than you do. 

AND 

Scars give you thicker skin

Ducky's from a Restaurant Impossible episode

Ducky's from a Restaurant Impossible episode

I don’t know what it is about putting a pen to a napkin that’s magic...

How do you record your ideas?

Cocktail napkins (for some reason- this is always when I have my best ideas)

What’s your current favorite tool or material to work with?

Scissors.

What book is on your nightstand and what are you currently reading?

The Secret (on my nightstand) / Reading now: The Girl On The Train

Taniya's condo in Ft. Lauderdale / Photo by Michael Giragosian

Taniya's condo in Ft. Lauderdale / Photo by Michael Giragosian

Why is authenticity in design important?

Just as authenticity is important for humans, it is for design. You can see right through it when it’s not authentic.  

Favorite restaurant in your city?

Fuji

What might we find on your desk right now?

A huge bottle of water with lemon.

A residential design project

A residential design project

Who do you look up to and why?

I’m all about powerful women. I’ve had many role models/mentors in and throughout my life for various reasons. I think that it’s important to take advice with an open mind and an open heart from people you respect and look up to. 

What’s your favorite project that you’ve done and why?

I really love working with my husband on his restaurant projects. They become sort of a love child of ours when they’re done. 

Ruth's Chris Steakhouse in Tulsa, OK

Ruth's Chris Steakhouse in Tulsa, OK

The Poynt in Newburyport, MA

The Poynt in Newburyport, MA

Spunky Monkey from a Restaurant Impossible episode

Spunky Monkey from a Restaurant Impossible episode

What are the last five songs you listened to?

Shape of You - Ed Sheeran
Love the Way You Lie - Rihanna/ Eminem
I Took A Pill in Ibiza - Mike Posner
Don’t Mind - Kent Jones
Stir it Up - Bob Marley

Taniya and her mom Leela, Taniya's bulldog Flynn, Taniya and her husband Brian, Taniya and her nephews Vijay and Curren, Taniya and her sister Yoshike in the 90s (mall hair!)

Taniya and her mom Leela, Taniya's bulldog Flynn, Taniya and her husband Brian, Taniya and her nephews Vijay and Curren, Taniya and her sister Yoshike in the 90s (mall hair!)

Get more Taniya at taniyanayak.com and follow her on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.


Thank you to our sponsor Parachute Home.
To excel, sometimes you've got to venture bravely outside of your comfort-zone, right? That's why it's so important that when you return to your *actual* comfort zone, it's awesome. That's where Parachute Home comes in, with their dreamy bed sheets, bathrobes and towels... cozy and Clever-approved!


Special thanks to Chris Modl of Yore Studio for editing this episode.
Music in this episode courtesy of El Ten Eleven—hear more on Bandcamp.
Shoutout to Jenny Rask for designing the Clever logo.

Ep. 24: Mimi Plange

Fashion designer Mimi Plange talks to us about being born in Ghana, growing up in California, and nurturing herself on a steady diet of fantasy movies. She's always known she’d become a fashion designer, but an invitation to the White House by Michelle Obama came as a total surprise. Plus, she's got cred with both Beyoncé and Jay Z. Listen:

What is your earliest memory?

I remember going to Universal Studios with my entire family when we first arrived in California from Ghana.  We had the best time and I was scared of everything.  I had just turned 5, and every experience was so fantastical and weird.  I really think that, that’s why I think of everything in fantasy and was always attracted to movies like Star Wars, The Never Ending Story, Willow, The Dark Crystal and anything else with a goblin, ghoul or hobbit.

Young Mimi

Young Mimi

How do you feel about democratic design?

I believe that the best craftsmanship and design should be available to all people and that those designs should be provided by designers from all different walks of life.  Luxury is different to many people, but it shouldn’t be based on only one class being able to determine what is luxury and what is not.  That determination is personal.  In thinking about democratic design, we do have to think about price, does that mean that everything that we make should be at an affordable price for everyone?  I think we as designers should do our best to create quality products at an obtainable price, but consumers who value attention to detail, limited quantities and artisanal work, also know that the real cost of making things is high.   People have to be paid fairly for the work that they do.  I think that is one of the most difficult aspects of being an emerging designer who makes all of our product in New York, but we are working on streamlining production techniques in order to bring cost down, so our product can be accessible to more people.

From Mimi's first show

From Mimi's first show

What’s the best advice that you’ve ever gotten?

To focus on yourself.  It’s not selfish, it’s necessary, because you can’t begin to improve the lives of others without improving yours first.  When you focus on yourself, you don’t compare yourself to other people, you learn to understand that you are different, and that everyone’s path is different.  And ultimately, I think you build a strong foundation of self awareness and confidence, and you stay committed to the goals that you have outlined for yourself.  Your inner strength will pull you through anything.

Sketches

Sketches

How do you record your ideas?

My mind likes to wander a lot, and I can be talking to someone and bam!  Some idea just pops up!  I will usually just hold it until I can get to my sketchpad, and then I loosely draw some abstract image and write down a few notes so I remember what I was thinking.  I have many sketch pads and books, and I usually just open one up on any page that is clear and I record the idea.  There is no rhyme or reason, just sketches and thoughts lurking everywhere.  I love going through them, especially old ones to see what I was thinking-and to laugh.

Pillow designs

Pillow designs

What’s your current favorite tool or material to work with?

I really like drawing on Adobe Illustrator!  I’ve been conflicted about it, because initially when I entered the work field, many seasoned designers kind of shunned the idea of drawing on the computer and would insist that the “real” way to do it was by hand.  But I’ve learned that it’s mostly about moving forward with the times and being able to work at a faster pace.  When I draw on the computer, my final product looks exactly like how I have sketched it.  I make less adjustments and know exactly what I am getting.  I think it facilitates the process.  I still value sketching by hand, because it’s beautiful, but the world is turning faster and faster, and I want my pen tool to keep pushing me forward.

Collaboration wth Roche Bobois

Collaboration wth Roche Bobois

What book is on your nightstand? 

The Patterned Skin by Christiana Oware Knudsen.  It’s a breakdown of Ethnic Scarification in Developing Ghana, and an essential research tool for the work we do.  I find it fascinating that these scars extend beyond beauty and also represent the spiritual and the sensual body.  It’s a great read on why decorate the skin, and what impact it has had on the past and the present

Why is authenticity in design important?

It’s especially important today because it’s so rare.  If you don’t have anything new to bring to the table then why are you here?  I think being authentic in design is important because when you a sharing your work with people, you are communicating with them, and telling them who you are, and giving them a glimpse into how your mind works.  You are putting your stamp or mark out there, and if you want it to be lasting, it must be authentic.

Leather inspiration

Leather inspiration

Favorite restaurant in your city?

Pearl Oyster Bar

What might we find on your desk right now?

A mess.

Mimi's mother

Mimi's mother

Who do you look up to and why?

My mother is the world to me.  She moved to America and raised 6 children on her own in Ontario, California.  And though we didn’t have much, she made us feel like we had everything.  She was the first to expose me to ideas of perception, and how you see yourself in any given situation. She was very clear that you are the one who will control the outcome of your life, no matter what. She always said that you could do and be anything, and I really believed her.  I still do. She said it so many times... all the time. She brainwashed me, and I can’t thank her enough.

Michelle Obama wearing Mimi's dress on The View

Michelle Obama wearing Mimi's dress on The View

What’s your favorite project that you’ve done and why?

My favorite project has been setting out to create our brand and doing it.  Being able to see it grow, change and evolve over the years has been amazing.  There is always something new, and most importantly, we have learned so much about the dynamics of people-what do they want-what do they desire and what turns them off.  In a weird sort of way, it also leads to more self discovery as well!  It’s exciting all the time, and you practice listening to your gut, and conquering Fear.  It’s kind of fun, like a rollercoaster!

What are the last five songs you listened to?

MyMyMy (New York: A Mix Odessy) - Armand Van Heldon
See the Sun (Aurosonic Remix) - Matt Darey & Urban Astronauts
Yulunga (Spirit Dance) - Dead Can Dance
Indus - Dead Can Dance
Bitch Better Have My Money - Rihanna


To see Mimi's work and shop her designs, visit mimiplange.com. Follow Mimi on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. To learn more about Fashion Fights Cancer, visit their website.


Special thanks to Chris Modl of Yore Studio for editing this episode.
Music in this episode courtesy of El Ten Eleven—hear more on Bandcamp.
Shoutout to Jenny Rask for designing the Clever logo.

Ep. 23: Daniel Libeskind

World-renowned architect Daniel Libeskind inspires us with his eternally optimistic world-view and powerfully uplifting story of being born into persecution, immigrating to “the promised land” of the U.S. and participating in the space race. As the architect responsible for the master plan of the World Trade Center site, he composes memory in order to heal the future. Oh and he’s got mad accordion skills.

Architecture is a language. It’s a language of words, it’s a language of light, it’s a language of, of temperature, it’s a language of acoustics, language of proportions, language of materials... and you can use that language to tell a story.
Denver Art Museum Photo © Bitter Bredt

Denver Art Museum Photo © Bitter Bredt

Our talk with Daniel Libeskind was not only informative, but inspirational and moving. We wanted to keep the conversation going, so we asked him to share some more for our show notes:

Daniel in Poland, 1954

Daniel in Poland, 1954

What is your earliest memory?

Walking on the street of Lodz (Poland) bare foot in the snow.

What’s been your favorite project and why?

My work because…There is no why!

Jewish Museum in Berlin (aerial view). Photo © Guenter Schneider

Jewish Museum in Berlin (aerial view). Photo © Guenter Schneider

What’s the best advice that you’ve ever gotten?

From my mother: “Don’t be impressed by authority”

How do you record your ideas?

Drawings

World Trade Center Master plan drawing

World Trade Center Master plan drawing

Royal Ontario Musem

Royal Ontario Musem

What book is on your nightstand? 

Alejandro Zambra “Multiple Choice”

Why is authenticity in design important?

Because the true is true and lies are lies.

Favorite restaurant in your city?

Faun in Prospect Heights

Daniel with his accordion, 1955

Daniel with his accordion, 1955

Favorite song to play on the accordion?

Toccata in D Minor

What might we find on your desk right now?

 A mess.

Vanke Pavilion, Photo © Hufton+Crow

Vanke Pavilion, Photo © Hufton+Crow

Who do you look up to and why?

The future because that is where it is happening.

What are the most recent songs you listened to?

Yasmin Levy, Shmuot
Skip James, Devil got my woman
Bob Dylan, Hurricane
Amalia Rodrigues, Barco Negro

Kö-Bogen, Photo © Kirscher Fotografie

Kö-Bogen, Photo © Kirscher Fotografie


Follow Daniel Libeskind's work at Libeskind.com as well as Instagram and Twitter


Thank you to our sponsor Parachute Home.
To excel, sometimes you've got to venture bravely outside of your comfort-zone, right? That's why it's so important that when you return to your *actual* comfort zone, it's awesome. That's where Parachute Home comes in, with their dreamy bed sheets, bathrobes and towels... cozy and Clever-approved!


Special thanks to Chris Modl of Yore Studio for editing this episode.
Music in this episode courtesy of El Ten Eleven—hear more on Bandcamp.
Shoutout to Jenny Rask for designing the Clever logo.

Ep. 22: Ghislaine Viñas

Interior designer Ghislaine Viñas talks to us about what it was like to grow up in apartheid South Africa, how she accidentally landed her first real interior design job, and how she’s too adventurous to work for anyone but herself. Plus, she's not scared of anything.

Photo by Bill Zules 

Photo by Bill Zules 

We wanted to bring you more of Ghislaine so we asked her some extra questions we didn't have a chance to talk about on the podcast:

What is your earliest memory?

My earliest memory is laying in my bed in my room and watching the passing cars' headlights create streaks on the ceiling.  It's a very vivid visual.

A snap from Ghislaine's early days in South Africa.

A snap from Ghislaine's early days in South Africa.

The Viñas family

The Viñas family

Ghislaine Viñas and Brad Ascalon's outdoor furniture collaboration with Loll Designs.

Ghislaine Viñas and Brad Ascalon's outdoor furniture collaboration with Loll Designs.

How do you feel about democratic design?

As a designer, I think democratic design is what we strive for. The Netherlands and other some other European countries—especially the Scandinavian countries—have achieved great success. In America, we are definitely behind, but catching up for sure. Contemporary furniture companies are making modern design more affordable and it's great to see some of them hiring great designers instead of ripping off designs. I am always encouraged when I see big brands like Target hiring designers to design for them. I remember years ago that Marcel Wanders designed a Holiday line for Target... I ran over there and picked up a bunch of great items. I think more and more, big companies are promoting their goods through the designers by name and that’s a step in the right direction.

Ghislaine and her team: Katie McVittie, Anne Brown, Johanekke Hogendoorn (intern), Jenna Pino, and Zoe Hsieh. Photo by Bill Zules.

Ghislaine and her team: Katie McVittie, Anne Brown, Johanekke Hogendoorn (intern), Jenna Pino, and Zoe Hsieh. Photo by Bill Zules.

Ghislaine's first project

Ghislaine's first project

What’s the best advice that you’ve ever gotten?

BE PATIENT... Cindy Allen, Editor in Chief of Interior Design, has been an amazing friend and mentor to me for the last seventeen years. At times, I have been impatient when I felt that things were not moving quickly enough. Sometimes I get something in my head and want immediate results and it doesn’t always happen that way, and that’s also not how the design industry works. You’ve got to earn your stripes. In hindsight, I see what she meant when she told me to “be patient.” Building your brand and your identity takes time.

How do you record your ideas?

I jot down words and random works in my day planner on my desk. I just wrote down “velum” I hoard images on secret Pinterest boards that I share with my designers in the office. I tear pages out of magazines, but mostly I take photos with my iPhone and image capture from social media sites. My photo library is my visual brain.

Some of Ghislaine's dramatic and bold interior projects. Clockwise from top left: Skyhouse / Photo by Eric Laignel; Happy Bones coffee shop / Photo by Francis Dzikowski; Barrows office design / Photo by Garrett Rowland; Warren St. Townhouse / Photo by Eric Laignel

Some of Ghislaine's dramatic and bold interior projects. Clockwise from top left: Skyhouse / Photo by Eric Laignel; Happy Bones coffee shop / Photo by Francis Dzikowski; Barrows office design / Photo by Garrett Rowland; Warren St. Townhouse / Photo by Eric Laignel

What’s your current favorite tool or material to work with?

Sketching quick ideas is still the most effective way to share ideas with my team.

Also ready to start delving into ceramics for lighting etc—it feels like an exciting medium to explore. I have some sconces from the 70’s that are fascinating to me.  

What book is on your nightstand? 

It's not on my nightstand because it's too big but Tham ma da by Paola Navone is a huge inspiration. I so admire her work and her attitude. So great to read about her process and what goes on in her head. I really truly relate to her.

Floritauk home interior design / Photo by Garrett Rowland

Floritauk home interior design / Photo by Garrett Rowland

Why is authenticity in design important?

Being a designer, staying authentic and unique is my job. It’s what I do to stand out and differentiate myself from what others are doing. You can be inspired by peers or those who came before you, but you need to bring your unique flavor to the work you do.

Favorite restaurant in your city?

Urgghhhh...I live in NYC so that’s an impossible question to answer. Sometimes I love to go places because of the food and sometimes because of the ambiance. My main focus is to avoid noisy establishments (I must be getting old). My favorite lunch place is Mercer Kitchen in Soho and I always have the poached shrimp salad. Favorite local place for dinner with my family is Terra in Tribeca because its insanely “gezellig” (Dutch for cosy, fun, intimate, great atmosphere...one word for all those things).

Mock Rock wallpaper designed for Flavor Paper. Photo by Jaime Viñas

Mock Rock wallpaper designed for Flavor Paper. Photo by Jaime Viñas

What might we find on your desk right now?

Too many notebooks...why cant I just stick to one????

My iPhone and a licorice wrapper (I love black licorice).

Who do you look up to and why?

I look up to my mom because she has such a positive spin on life and she is someone who I love being with. I also adore that she is so fit and hip and will always have a bright shining attitude.

I look up to my husband Jaime because he keeps me in check (I need a tethering force in my life) and he always has my back no matter what. He always comes through for me and I know he is so proud of the work I do and the work we do together. It is very easy to go galavanting around knowing that he holds our family together.

I look up to Paige West because not only is she an amazing friend, client and collaborator but she always wants to explore unchartered design territory. I love that she is always looking for her next project and mostly that she always invites me to be a part of them. She will never know how much I love and appreciate that she brings me along on all her adventures. I am always in awe of her generosity and faith in me.

Wild Thing wallpaper designed for Flavor Paper. Photo by Garrett Rowland

Wild Thing wallpaper designed for Flavor Paper. Photo by Garrett Rowland

What’s your favorite project that you’ve done and why?

At the end of the day, for me, it’s more about looking back at the design process and experience. I could have the most beautiful project but if the process was painful and I didn’t jive with the client, I see that in the work. I love collaborating with my team and also with clients and other designers and architects. This is what it is about for me. I don’t like to list my favorite project.

What are the last five songs you listened to?

You’re the One by Kaytranada
Lost in the Light by Bahamas
Cranes in the Sky by Solange
Playing for You by Joe Hertz
Back Around by Dessert

We love to visit Ghislaine's colorful Instagram world.

We love to visit Ghislaine's colorful Instagram world.


Follow the adventures of Ghislaine and co at gvinteriors.com and keep tabs on her adventures on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.


Special thanks to Chris Modl of Yore Studio for editing this episode.
Music in this episode courtesy of El Ten Eleven—hear more on Bandcamp.
Shoutout to Jenny Rask for designing the Clever logo.

Ep. 21: Sebastian Errazuriz

Chilean-born artist / designer / activist Sebastian Errazuriz captivates us with tales of his rigorous arts training, examples of his immaculate hustle and a specific method he employs whenever he needs to force an idea up to the surface. He’s as disciplined and driven as an Olympic athlete, and hell-bent on having us all re-think reality. Listen:

Sebastian opens up about his rigorous upbringing with a very strict father who helped him begin his art training at a very early age. He also recalls many poignant moments about his relationship with his Dad.

My father is a professor of arts. He specialized in art education and how to educate art and that was crucial for my upbringing because basically I become his guinea pig for all his theories.
A young Sebastian

A young Sebastian

He talks about taking risks and never being afraid of asking for what you want, using his own life as examples. He's quite persuasive. His dedication to the importance of making design and art, and making it as big as life (sometimes bigger) is reflected in many of his unique works, from his transforming cabinets to his "A Pause in the City That Never Sleeps" public art project:

"A Pause in the City That Never Sleeps"  - Every night in January 2015 at 11:57 PM, Sebastian’s 3-minute yawning video graces the Times Square’s spectacular signs at 42nd-47th Streets, between Broadway and 7th avenue.

Exploding Cabinet

Exploding Cabinet

If you can do something that really helps then you have to. It’s a moral imperative...And I need to create a platform big enough so that I can continue to be listened to and I can work just for the people that I have the most influential power right now...
And that requires building up a platform, that requires continuing to build a name, that requires continuing to prove yourself.
The Boat Coffin is designed to allow the user to take a voyage to their next life one his day has come. This piece honors the Egyptian and Viking funeral traditions of saying goodbye to people on shore, and venturing into the deep sea and open sky.

The Boat Coffin is designed to allow the user to take a voyage to their next life one his day has come. This piece honors the Egyptian and Viking funeral traditions of saying goodbye to people on shore, and venturing into the deep sea and open sky.

Sebastian also reveals how he was aware of his mortality at a very early age, which drives him to create as much as he possibly can while he's still young and energetic. His inspiring devotion to his craft, his creative methods for generating ideas, and contagious enthusiasm are not to be missed - tune into the episode above.

Sebastian was invited by Audemars Piguet to design their lounge for Art Basel’s 2016 shows. He took inspiration from the ice formations and snowy winters of Audemars Piguet’s home in Le Brassus, creating a space that expressed the purity of nature and the passing of time.  

Sebastian was invited by Audemars Piguet to design their lounge for Art Basel’s 2016 shows. He took inspiration from the ice formations and snowy winters of Audemars Piguet’s home in Le Brassus, creating a space that expressed the purity of nature and the passing of time.  

Drawings for Ice Cycle

Drawings for Ice Cycle

Above: Sebastian's Wave cabinet is one in a series of functional art cabinetry pieces. 

Snaps from Studio Errazuriz

Snaps from Studio Errazuriz

Training the brain and body were topics he elaborates on— he talks about his unusual yet effective method to invoke creativity on a daily basis, and how he tries to get a workout in every day while in the studio (thus, the weights in the shot above!). 

We encourage you to also listen to his TED talk:

See more of Sebastian Errazuriz's work on meetsebastian.com and follow him on Facebook and Instagram.


Special thanks to Chris Modl of Yore Studio for editing this episode.
Music in this episode courtesy of El Ten Eleven—hear more on Bandcamp.
Shoutout to Jenny Rask for designing the Clever logo.

Ep. 20: Seth Grizzle of graypants

Seth Grizzle of architecture and product design studio graypants, tells us about being the creative kid in a family that didn’t quite “get” him, how an art teacher helped set him on the course to architecture and why living on a boat helps him edit his possessions down to just the ones that make a great story. Also, he reveals the story behind the name graypants. Listen:

Seth Grizzle with his dog, Fig

Seth Grizzle with his dog, Fig

Seth might describe himself as "the weird kid," but we think he's far from it! He comes from a line of craftsmen and tinkerers... and with access to a shed full of tools, he started making things early on in life. His creativity was fueled by an inspiring art teacher, who encouraged him to light that fire. He met his partner-in-design, graypants co-founder Jonathan Junker in architecture school where they developed their first line of lighting by accident. Listen above to hear how that accident turned into graypants design studio.  

Garage, their award-winning architectural project in Seattle / Photo by Amos Morgan Photography

Garage, their award-winning architectural project in Seattle / Photo by Amos Morgan Photography

Both being schooled in architecture, Jonathan and Seth not only design products, but structures too, including their award-winning Garage project, pictured above. 

Jonathan and Seth, co-founders of graypants

Jonathan and Seth, co-founders of graypants

White versions of their signature cardboard Scraplights, one of graypants' newest releases

White versions of their signature cardboard Scraplights, one of graypants' newest releases

What started out as dumpster diving, turned into an international business that goes far beyond just cardboard lighting... Seth talks about how he wants everything he does to be artistic and sculptural, and help transform people's lives. 

Murmurations lights made from cardboard

Murmurations lights made from cardboard

The giant cloud in the Airbnb headquarters, made of 30,000 ping pong balls

The giant cloud in the Airbnb headquarters, made of 30,000 ping pong balls

The giant cloud in the Airbnb headquarters, made of 30,000 ping pong balls

The giant cloud in the Airbnb headquarters, made of 30,000 ping pong balls

We were intrigued to hear that Seth actually lives on a houseboat—what a pretty unique way of life... From hiking to playing with his labradoodle, Fig, to filling his houseboat with treasures, Seth explains what keeps him busy when he's not working. 

See more of Seth's work at graypants.com and follow graypants on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.


This wraps up 2016 and our first 20 episodes of Clever. We are overwhelmed and grateful to all of our listeners, and to our sponsors. Your support and feedback have been so motivating—thank you! If you love Clever, please sign up for the newsletter, follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram

Subscribe on iTunesStitcherGoogle PlaySoundCloud, or subscribe using our feed: http://clever.libsyn.com/rss via your favorite podcast app. And please, if you like us, give us a review and a rating!

Also, we always appreciate your donations—these really do help! If you'd like to support us, please use this easy PayPal donation button:


Special thanks to Chris Modl of Yore Studio for editing this episode.
Music in this episode courtesy of El Ten Eleven—hear more on Bandcamp.
Shoutout to Jenny Rask for designing the Clever logo.

Ep. 19: David Trubridge

New Zealand-based designer/maker David Trubridge, who is known the world over for his beautiful and environmentally responsible lighting and furniture, has wandered to the corners of the earth, soaked up all its glory, and pays homage to it in everything he does. Amy and Jaime are rapt as he details his life of adventures and poetically distills how they inform his work and his experience of humanity. A real salt of the earth, this guy.

Photo by Richard Brimer

Photo by Richard Brimer

What do you say about a man who has traveled the earth, both on land and by sea, a man whose designs are so well-loved across the globe, whose products tread lightly on the earth? 

David's renown lighting designs

David's renown lighting designs

David Trubridge has always been one of our favorite designers, not only because of his gorgeous geometric, sustainable lighting and furniture, but because his memoir, So Far, gives deeper understanding of David as a person and why he does what he does.

David in the arctic

David in the arctic

David talks to us about spending a lot of time alone as a child, creating his own world, and discovering his creativity. He studied boat building in school, and eventually ended up renovating an old ruin out of necessity, learning how to make windows, doors and furniture. Eventually, he ends up designing his first piece of furniture, the Body Raft, that kicks off his now famous career as a designer of home decor.

Renovating the old house

Renovating the old house

The Body Raft

The Body Raft

One of the great lessons of the sea is that you have to go with the flow and take your knocks and often the direct route is not a straight line.
— David Trubridge
The Hornpipe

The Hornpipe

He told us about his adventures at sea with his family, where they lived on a boat and sailed around the world for 10 years!

Arriving in New Zealand

Arriving in New Zealand

One of the most fascinating things about David is his hunger for adventure and travel. He's been practically everywhere, even to the glaciers of Antarctica. He recounts stories of emotional helicopter rides, open-air camping, and a year in Tahiti. Plus, he talks about his relationship to the elements (earth, water, fire etc.), and how he believes that he's now in a life phase of the throat chakra, or "communication" chakra. He's an incredible person to say the least!

In David's Studio

In David's Studio

We don't want to give it all away so listen to the episode above!

David's Workshop

David's Workshop

Domaine de Boisbuchet workshop

Domaine de Boisbuchet workshop

See more of David's work at davidtrubridge.com and follow him on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.


If you want more Clever, sign up for the newsletter to get notified of new episodes as they're released. Follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram. And most importantly, please spread the word to anyone who you think would dig it. 

Subscribe on iTunesStitcherGoogle PlaySoundCloud, or subscribe using our feed: http://clever.libsyn.com/rss via your favorite podcast app. And please, if you like us, give us a rating!

Special thanks to Chris Modl of Yore Studio for editing this episode.
Music in this episode courtesy of El Ten Eleven—hear more on Bandcamp.
Shoutout to Jenny Rask for designing the Clever logo.

Ep. 19 Clever Extra: Tony Salvagio, Street Photographer

Wix teamed up with Condé Nast to host a photography contest for Wix users, giving them the opportunity to win the ultimate photographer's dream prize: the chance to shoot the cover of BRIDES or Condé Nast Traveler, or assist on a Vanity Fair cover shoot. Thousands of photographers entered from all over the world, but only three could win. The judges included Susan White, photography director at Vanity Fair, Jenifer Walter, creative director at BRIDES, and Yolanda Edwards, creative director at Condé Nast Traveler. See how the judges chose their favorites:

Over 10,000 photographers submitted their stunning Wix portfolios for the chance to shoot the cover of Brides or Condé Nast Traveler, or assist on a Vanity Fair cover shoot. After days of review, editors from each magazine made their choices.

When I am looking at somebody’s work, what I’m really looking to see is a level of style and elegance.
— Susan White, Photography Director at Vanity Fair

One of the winners of the contest, LA-based photographer Tony Salvagio, was in disbelief when he was revealed to be a finalist and even more stunned when he won the opportunity to assist esteemed photographer Peter Lindbergh on a Vanity Fair cover shoot featuring actress Jennifer Lawrence.

tony-salvagio.jpg
I would hope that through my work I would be able to influence people to maybe change their outlook on life or change their mentality about a certain group of people. I hope that whatever I did was for a purpose and a cause—to better humanity. I find great joy in that.
— Tony Salvagio

Listen to our interview with him about his work and this life-changing opportunity at the beginning of Episode 19:

Here are some examples of Tony's street photography in his own words:

Midas Touch

Midas Touch

"Midas Touch" was taken right after I was confronted by another man coming up the subway escalator. After he left, I immediately noticed this lady barely grazing the rail as she walked down. I thought it was so beautiful, the setting sunlight changed the plain looking rail into a bright vibrant gold color. This photo to me represents the wonder of the world, and how it is still possible to find stories of old in modern day Los Angeles... All you need is a little imagination.

Rat Race LA

Rat Race LA

"Rat Race LA" represents the infinite rat race of life and the never-ending quest to be someone. The man with his coat off sprinting up the stairs that lead right to the other side of the bridge. Although there's a separation of stairways by a five-lane road, I still see the infinity sign in the photo.

Do Not Enter

Do Not Enter

"Do Not Enter" was taken right outside the 2nd Street tunnel. I remember standing at the edge of it thinking to myself it feels like I'm being sucked in to a giant black hole, or vortex. The cyclist just so happened to be its victim that day.

Man in a Box

Man in a Box

"Man In A Box" is a photo I'm still trying to figure out. I have a few them. I stumbled across this man guarding a closed off area with nothing in it accept the reflections of three pillars from outside. It's actually three overlapping reflections. I would like to think he's some sort of threshold guardian, like what Joseph Campbell discusses in Hero With A Thousand Faces, but I can't say with certainty.

Lasik

Lasik

"Lasik" I stumbled across a man reading with a magnifying glass. I thought to myself, "He looks interesting, also, who uses a magnifying glass anymore?" I crept up behind him to see what he was reading...

LA FITNESS

LA FITNESS

"LA FITNESS" to me is a social commentary of Los Angeles. We Angelenos tend to overlook the hard work and skill of the people building this city due to the Hollywood blah blah blah... this photo was a tribute to them. 

Check out more of Tony's portfolio on tonysalvagio.com and follow him on Instagram.

Go to Wix.com to create your stunning website today.

Ep. 18: Kelly Wearstler

LA-based interior designer, Kelly Wearstler, recounts the journey from creating and selling crafts in her youth to building her namesake global lifestyle brand. Along the way she's worked waiting tables, battled painful shyness, and become a hockey mom. She also describes her closet in mouth-watering, vivid detail. Listen:

What can we say about interior designer, Kelly Wearstler (besides that she's one of our favorites!)... Well, we can start by mentioning that she’s much more than just an interior designer - she’s grown the Kelly Wearstler empire into a global lifestyle brand that encompasses lighting, furniture, home accessories, jewelry, residential and commercial interiors. Wow.

You may be familiar with some of her statement boutique hotel designs like the Avalon Beverly Hills.

Avalon Beverly Hills

Avalon Beverly Hills

She also hunts the flea markets and vintage shops around the world for objets d’art to use in her designs or as inspiration. 

You become a better designer when you see how things are made.
— Kelly Wearstler

She’s also released 4 books including Modern Glamour: The Art of Unexpected Style, and most recently, Rhapsody. Her work has appeared in design magazines such as Elle Decor, Wallpaper, and Architectural Digest. Not to mention, her fashion statements are as bold and stylish as her interiors… and she tells us all about her dreamy closet, and we got her to cough up some pics:

Swoon.

Indonesia.jpg

Aside from work and design, she’s also a hockey mom and a wife. 

Kelly's latest project: Proper Hotels 

Kelly's latest project: Proper Hotels 

See more of Kelly's work on kellywearstler.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

If you want more Clever, sign up for the newsletter to get notified of new episodes as they're released. Follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram. And most importantly, please spread the word to anyone who you think would dig it. 

Subscribe on iTunesStitcherGoogle PlaySoundCloud, or subscribe using our feed: http://clever.libsyn.com/rss via your favorite podcast app. And please, if you like us, give us a rating!

Special thanks to Chris Modl of Yore Studio for editing this episode.
Music in this episode courtesy of El Ten Eleven—hear more on Bandcamp.
Shoutout to Jenny Rask for designing the Clever logo.

Ep. 17: Kevin Greenberg

In this episode, Brooklyn-based architect Kevin Greenberg of Space Exploration delights us with tales of culture shock while working in Japan, notes that decades of architecture practice has re-wired his brain to notice bad design, and articulates how he would one day love to build a site of sanctuary and contemplation. Plus, he concocts some creative and funny solutions to ridiculous problems in a fun game of Fix It! 

I think that there’s a notion that architects are supremely rational and orderly and mathematical and their world is dominated by that outlook... but I think my brain functions more like an artist.
Kevin's cat, Napoleon

Kevin's cat, Napoleon

Before founding Brooklyn-based Space Exploration, Kevin spent some time in both Seattle and Japan. He shares with us the uniqueness of Japanese architecture both in form and practice, and how that shaped his approach to structure and space. 

Kevin in Japan

Kevin in Japan

Kevin tells us some anecdotes from his time spent in Japan - listen above to hear more!

Montauk beach house by Space Exploration (see more on Design Milk)

Montauk beach house by Space Exploration (see more on Design Milk)

Growing up, Kevin was surrounded by supportive, creative family members that fueled his curiosity for all things creative. Kevin talks about his somewhat left-brained approach to architecture, and where he gets his inspiration from—whether it be his experiences in Japan, or from unexpected places.

Plus, we got him to play a super fun game of Fix It! with us, he's such a good sport.

Karasu Restaurant by Space Exploration

Karasu Restaurant by Space Exploration

I try to encourage the other people at Space Exploration and also our clients to look far outside the disciplines of architecture, interior or home design. Some of our best ideas have come from literature, or painting, or film or cooking or automotive design.
Karasu Restaurant by Space Exploration

Karasu Restaurant by Space Exploration

Schoolhouse loft by Space Exploration

Schoolhouse loft by Space Exploration

Brooklyn Apartment by Space Exploration

Brooklyn Apartment by Space Exploration

See more of Kevin's work on spaceexplorationdesign.com and follow Space Exploration on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.

If you want more Clever, sign up for the newsletter to get notified of new episodes as they're released. Follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram. And most importantly, please spread the word to anyone who you think would dig it. 

Subscribe on iTunesStitcherGoogle PlaySoundCloud, or subscribe using our feed: http://clever.libsyn.com/rss via your favorite podcast app. And please, if you like us, give us a rating!

Special thanks to Chris Modl of Yore Studio for editing this episode.
Music in this episode courtesy of El Ten Eleven—hear more on Bandcamp.
Shoutout to Jenny Rask for designing the Clever logo.

Ep. 16: Harry Allen

Product and interior designer Harry Allen shares how his childhood in New Jersey was shaped by frequent field trips to NYC, how he collaborated with chef Daniel Boulud to design his thesis project, and why he decided to cast an actual piglet for his now-famous piggy bank. Also, he's able to cut a really tight circle on a pair of skates, and we suspect he is a total boss in the rink. LISTEN:

We learn about Harry's idyllic childhood and early creativity, how he took a winding road to Pratt and ended up landing a booth at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) in New York.

A young Harry was very creative and organized

A young Harry was very creative and organized

Harry discovered industrial design at Pratt

Harry discovered industrial design at Pratt

Living Systems - Harry's first large-scale project

Living Systems - Harry's first large-scale project

Bank in the form of a pig - metallic

Bank in the form of a pig - metallic

Harry might be most well known for the "Reality" series he created, which was picked up by popular design brand and manufacturer Areaware. Listen to learn how it all started with a relative's death and an inherited candlestick.

C'mere hand from Reality series

C'mere hand from Reality series

Moss Store

Moss Store

Harry met Murray Moss through a roundabout way, resulting in perhaps one of his most well-known interior designs. Learn how that relationship opened doors for him time and time again.

Ceramic foam lamps

Ceramic foam lamps

Harry lets us in on a story that involved ceramic foam material he was using for lamps, that had a very unfortunate—yet kinda hilarious—outcome. 

Plus, we find out about the exciting NYC roller skating crowd of the 90s, and we find out that Harry feels most free on four wheels... 

Stool for Umbra Shift

Stool for Umbra Shift

More recent projects include the NYCxDesign Design Pavilion, a stool for Umbra Shift, and acoustic tiles using an experimental material made from mushrooms from Ecovative.

Ecovative Acoustic tiles

Ecovative Acoustic tiles

See more of Harry's work on his website harryallendesign.com and follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram

Special thanks to the sponsor for this episode, BDE. Visit them at bdeonline.biz.

If you want more Clever, sign up for the newsletter to get notified of new episodes as they're released. Follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram. And most importantly, please spread the word to anyone who you think would dig it. 

Subscribe on iTunesStitcherGoogle PlaySoundCloud, or subscribe using our feed: http://clever.libsyn.com/rss via your favorite podcast app. And please, if you like us, give us a rating!

Special thanks to Chris Modl of Yore Studio for editing this episode.
Music in this episode courtesy of El Ten Eleven—hear more on Bandcamp.
Shoutout to Jenny Rask for designing the Clever logo.

Ep. 15: Sandy Chilewich

Textile product designer and entrepreneur Sandy Chilewich regales us with tales of growing up in Rotterdam, being a child of the ‘60s and finding her way to founding the very successful Hue leg wear company. Now, as the head of Chilewich Sultan, she candidly shares the trials and triumphs that have informed her wisdom - including a panic attack at the public speaking podium. Sadly, no scotch was involved in this interview. Listen:

Photo by Kristen Gladney

Photo by Kristen Gladney

Sandy Chilewich is a force. As we listened to her talk, we couldn't help but appreciate and be enamored with her honesty. She opened up about her tough childhood abroad, difficulties with academics and finding her way. 

Sandy's first company, HUE, launched her into the world of textiles.

Sandy's first company, HUE, launched her into the world of textiles.

Sandy's American dream story seems accidental, but we feel like it was her destiny. She talks about building not one but TWO successful textile brands. Learn when and how she finds happiness by listening above.

The Ray Bowl and Ray Tray, named after one of her children.

The Ray Bowl and Ray Tray, named after one of her children.

The original Basketweave Chilewich placemat

The original Basketweave Chilewich placemat

Sandy Chilewich and Joe Sultan of Chilewich Sultan.

Sandy Chilewich and Joe Sultan of Chilewich Sultan.

Sandy and Joe at their house in upstate, NY. Photo by Nicholas Calcott.

Sandy and Joe at their house in upstate, NY. Photo by Nicholas Calcott.

One of the things we loved about Sandy was how down-to-earth and honest she was about running a business—from its benefits to its difficulties. We felt refreshed... she painted a real picture of herself, from what she enjoyed (and why) to what she struggled with. Listen to the episode above and we're sure you'll agree!

More details about Chilewich's products can be found on chilewich.com. Follow Chilewich on Facebook and Instagram.

Sandy in her workspace.

Sandy in her workspace.

If you want more Clever, sign up for the newsletter to get notified of new episodes as they're released. Follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram. And most importantly, please spread the word to anyone who you think would dig it. 

Subscribe on iTunesStitcherGoogle PlaySoundCloud, or subscribe using our feed: http://clever.libsyn.com/rss via your favorite podcast app. And please, if you like us, give us a rating!

Special thanks to Chris Modl of Yore Studio for editing this episode.
Music in this episode courtesy of El Ten Eleven—hear more on Bandcamp.
Shoutout to Jenny Rask for designing the Clever logo.

Ep. 14: Danny Seo

In this episode, eco-friendly lifestyle expert Danny Seo talks to us about how he found his true calling at 12 years old, how being famous in Korea at a young age helped him keep his ego in check, and how he navigates tough situations by trying to understand the underlying intentions. Also, there may be a snake loose in his cabin, and he really hates golf. Listen: 

Photo: Jonas Jungblut

Photo: Jonas Jungblut

From the age of 12, Danny has pretty much known what he wanted to do with his life. He started a successful nonprofit during high school that changed the entire trajectory of his life. From international recognition to 10 books to a magazine to a TV show, Danny takes advantage of reaching as many people as possible to spread his message of designing a sustainable life. He recounts his unusual story with us, including some of the challenges of running an international organization in rural Pennsylvania while still trying to graduate high school. 

Danny on set

Danny on set

In recent years, Danny has been planning his eco-friendly takeover of all media, launching a magazine, Naturally, Danny Seo, which he is now bringing to the small screen with a TV show on NBC of the same name. He has long been known in the community as being a huge advocate of people making small changes in their lives, whether it be buying a hybrid, using a sustainable surface for countertops (as he demonstrated in his own home pictured below), or simply buying local produce. 

Danny's previous home in Bucks County, PA. All American-made products were used to renovate the kitchen - Wilsonart laminate for the countertops, herringbone ceramic wood grain tile flooring and green tile backsplash from Shaw Flooring, appliances from Bosch, and stainless steel cabinets from Lasertron. Bar features Wilsonart HD laminate walls and countertop in Walnut.

Danny's previous home in Bucks County, PA. All American-made products were used to renovate the kitchen - Wilsonart laminate for the countertops, herringbone ceramic wood grain tile flooring and green tile backsplash from Shaw Flooring, appliances from Bosch, and stainless steel cabinets from Lasertron. Bar features Wilsonart HD laminate walls and countertop in Walnut.

Danny created this upcycled light fixture for the outdoor dining room in his former house.

Danny created this upcycled light fixture for the outdoor dining room in his former house.

Reading nook in Danny's cabin features a vintage cot from eBay that he filled with throws and pillows to create a really cozy spot to relax. He added vintage horse show ribbons for a fun, colorful addition to the space. Watch out for the snakes! :) 

Reading nook in Danny's cabin features a vintage cot from eBay that he filled with throws and pillows to create a really cozy spot to relax. He added vintage horse show ribbons for a fun, colorful addition to the space. Watch out for the snakes! :) 

Listen to Danny tell stories of cabin snakes and how he came to meet Jane Goodall (fyi - she's awesome!), and more! 

Upcycled bath mat made with corks

Upcycled bath mat made with corks

Reclaimed wood picture frames

Reclaimed wood picture frames

For more Danny Seo, visit naturallydannyseo.com and follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

Danny's show, Naturally Danny Seo, premieres on NBC this week. Check out all of his books here.

If you want more Clever, sign up for the newsletter to get notified of new episodes as they're released. Follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram. And most importantly, please spread the word to anyone who you think would dig it. 

Subscribe on iTunesStitcherGoogle PlaySoundCloud, or subscribe using our feed: http://clever.libsyn.com/rss via your favorite podcast app. And please, if you like us, give us a rating!

Special thanks to Chris Modl of Yore Studio for editing this episode.
Music in this episode courtesy of El Ten Eleven—hear more on Bandcamp.
Shoutout to Jenny Rask for designing the Clever logo.

Ep. 13: Tanya Aguiñiga

Mexican and American artist/designer/maker/activist Tanya Aguiñiga shares what it was like growing up in Tijuana and crossing the US border every day to attend school in the US, how an accidental haircut during her troubled teenage years got her kicked out of the house, and how a dedicated mentor gave her the encouragement she needed to become an artist. She also recounts a few crazy stories featuring a clown, a bull and an eagle. Listen:

A young Tanya riding a horse.

A young Tanya riding a horse.

Growing up crossing the border every day to go to school in the United States was a critical part of Tanya's childhood, and informs a lot of her current art and design work. The isolation and frustrations—from violence to secrecy—that were a part of this daily process, gave Tanya a unique identity that wasn't quite 100% Mexican or American... her cultural identity remained in a confusing place that resembled purgatory. Her artwork became an outlet that set her free: listen to the episode above to hear more about how she channeled her emotions and experiences and carved out a space for herself and her family.

The Aguiñiga family

The Aguiñiga family

Tanya stands at the border wall. Photo by Gina Clyne Photography.

Tanya stands at the border wall. Photo by Gina Clyne Photography.

Tanya's most recent project, AMBOS, is a border activation with the goal to unite the community of people who cross the US/Mexico border every day through art. The project's first major activation just ended and she talks about the unexpected effect that it had on her and her family.

Tanya's rope jewelry, wall hangings and fiber housewares

Tanya's rope jewelry, wall hangings and fiber housewares

Tanya is most well known for her use of textiles in both home decor and jewelry. From textile-wrapped chairs to knit bowls to fringed wall-hangings and rope bracelets, Tanya is a pioneer of the contemporary fiber art movement.  In the episode she talks about how she studied with Mexican craftspeople to identify her life's calling.

Support (left) and Tierra (right), 2014, Volume Gallery

Support (left) and Tierra (right), 2014, Volume Gallery

SHEvening, 2015, Merryspace in Los Angeles

SHEvening, 2015, Merryspace in Los Angeles

Tanya's exploration of textiles in home decor and jewelry expanded into artwork and gallery installations, such as the ones pictured above. Not only does she create functional objects, but she also makes artistic sculptures that convey personal and universal statements about gender, identity and craft. 

Tanya and her AMBOS team members tying quipu knots at the border market. Photo by Gina Clyne Photography.

Tanya and her AMBOS team members tying quipu knots at the border market. Photo by Gina Clyne Photography.

As mentioned above, her AMBOS border art project was designed to unite the commuters crossing the US/Mexico border. The project involved many projects including pirate radio stations, photography, documentaries, and her personal project—creating quipu using knots made by the community. Listen and find out more about the road to making this fascinating project come alive.

The AMBOS banner with quipu knots. Photo by Gina Clyne Photography.

The AMBOS banner with quipu knots. Photo by Gina Clyne Photography.

AMBOS interacted with those who were crossing the border to tie a colorful knot that culminated in a series of colorful quipu community art project. Photos by Gina Clyne Photography.

AMBOS interacted with those who were crossing the border to tie a colorful knot that culminated in a series of colorful quipu community art project. Photos by Gina Clyne Photography.

In addition to her work, Tanya talked to us about life in Mexico (i.e., how Americans perceived it and its reality), her family's interesting backstory that included neighborhood marriages and hopping border fences, as well as her early years hustling for candy and the family's pet eagle (say what!?).

Photo by Gina Clyne Photography.

Photo by Gina Clyne Photography.

For more of Tanya's work, visit tanyaaguiniga.com and follow her on Instagram

To learn more about the AMBOS border art project, visit ambosproject.org.

You can also view Tanya's artwork or hear her speak at one of the following upcoming talks and exhibitions:

  • "Textiles: The Sense of Touch" (group show) August 27 - October 8, 2016, Lyndon House Arts Foundation, Athens, GA
  • Artist talk/lecture: September 15, Lyndon House Arts Foundation, Athens, GA
  • "Conglomerate Objects" (group show) September 12 - October 18, 2016 The Chan Gallery of the Pomona College, Claremont, CA
  • Panel discussion: October 15, American Craft Council Conference: Present Tense, Omaha, NE
  • Panel discussion: October 17, Design Sponge: In the Company of Women book tour, Los Angeles, CA
  • Artist talk/lecture: November 17: "What it means to be an ally" Temple Contemporary at Tyler School of Art, Philadelphia, PA

Thanks to our sponsor RISD for supporting this episode of Clever.

If you want more Clever, sign up for the newsletter to get notified of new episodes as they're released. Follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram. And most importantly, please spread the word to anyone who you think would dig it. 

Subscribe on iTunesStitcherGoogle PlaySoundCloud, or subscribe using our feed: http://clever.libsyn.com/rss via your favorite podcast app. And please, if you like us, give us a rating!

Special thanks to Chris Modl of Yore Studio for editing this episode.
Music in this episode courtesy of El Ten Eleven—hear more on Bandcamp.
Shoutout to Jenny Rask for designing the Clever logo.

Ep. 12: David Weeks

Lighting, furnishing, and toy designer David Weeks chats with us about growing up in the South, making it in NYC, and being driven by curiosity, liberation and the importance of tactility in an increasingly virtual world. Along the way he slips in tales of smashing cars, badgering local acid trippers, and utilizing a technique called formal reduction.

Photo by Robert Bean

Photo by Robert Bean

From RISD grad to NYC designer, David recounts his time at art school studying sculpture, and what it was like to live on NYC's Canal Street in the early 90s. Lighting has been called the "jewelry of the home" so it's no surprise that David learned many techniques from his work with jewelry designer Ted Muehling. 

Young designer David at RISD

Young designer David at RISD

In his early career, David landed a big break that not only made him realize his true calling, but also understand more about who he was as a person. Listen to the episode to hear more about his laid back attitude toward design.

I never once thought it wasn’t going to work. I was always like ‘I’ll figure it out, and if it doesn’t work, I’ll modify it.’
One of David's early lights.

One of David's early lights.

Balancing an OTTO light

Balancing an OTTO light

David's background in both sculpture and jewelry are evident in his pieces, but he doesn't want to just be "the lighting guy." David's collection includes furniture, accessories and even toys for kids and adults alike.  

Hennen Cross light

Hennen Cross light

Sculpt Sofa

Sculpt Sofa

Brass nesting bowls

Brass nesting bowls

One of the things we love about David and his work is the playfulness he injects into his toy objects, from posable robots to a zoo of wooden animals. For Milan Design Week, he even created an oversized Cubebot that you can lounge on:

Photo by Marc Thorpe

Photo by Marc Thorpe

For more of David's work, visit davidweeksstudio.com and follow him along on TwitterInstagram, and Facebook. Also check out his awesome videos on Youtube.

Thanks to our sponsor Freshbooks for supporting this episode of Clever.

If you want more Clever, sign up for the newsletter to get notified of new episodes as they're released. Follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram. And most importantly, please spread the word to anyone who you think would dig it. 

Subscribe on iTunesStitcherGoogle PlaySoundCloud, or subscribe using our feed: http://clever.libsyn.com/rss via your favorite podcast app. And please, if you like us, give us a rating!

Special thanks to Chris Modl of Yore Studio for editing this episode.
Music in this episode courtesy of El Ten Eleven—hear more on Bandcamp.
Shoutout to Jenny Rask for designing the Clever logo.

Ep. 11: Lee Broom

UK-based product and interior designer Lee Broom doesn't just design products or interiors. He puts on a production. In this episode, he entertains us with stories of being a child actor in a Shakespeare company, winning a fashion design competition that led to working with Vivienne Westwood, and designing the most expensive lightbulb you’ll ever buy. His flair for theatre makes an appearance in everything he does, from dramatic light fixtures to design week stunts he always puts on a gorgeous show. 

Portrait by Arthur Woodcroft

Portrait by Arthur Woodcroft

Lee's flair for theatrics started at a young age on the stage, then progressed as he went into fashion design but took a zig into interiors, and then zagged to product. What we love about Lee is that he's able to merge his experiences in other industries by creating spectacles and interactive spaces that engage and delight, from decorated bar installations to mobile showrooms!

“Salone del Automobile” lighting and interior installation inside of a delivery van that Lee drove from London to Milan for Salone del Mobile. 

“Salone del Automobile” lighting and interior installation inside of a delivery van that Lee drove from London to Milan for Salone del Mobile. 

The Crystal Bulb

The Crystal Bulb

Lee's recent popup installation in  New York City called Broom off Broome. Photo by Peter Murdock.

Lee's recent popup installation in  New York City called Broom off Broome. Photo by Peter Murdock.

Lee's multi-colored background isn't the only interesting thing about him: he's charming, witty, and a self-proclaimed perfectionist. And, we discovered that he sometimes designs projects in his sleep - tune in to hear more!

Shadow collection

Shadow collection

Split mirrors

Split mirrors

Hanging Hoop chair

Hanging Hoop chair

The Optical collection

The Optical collection

For more beauty and drama, visit leebroom.com and follow Lee on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Thanks to our sponsor Freshbooks for supporting this episode of Clever.

If you want more Clever, sign up for the newsletter to get notified of new episodes as they're released. Follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram. And most importantly, please spread the word to anyone who you think would dig it. 

Subscribe on iTunesStitcherGoogle PlaySoundCloud, or subscribe using our feed: http://clever.libsyn.com/rss via your favorite podcast app. And please, if you like us, give us a rating!

Special thanks to Chris Modl of Yore Studio for editing this episode.
Music in this episode courtesy of El Ten Eleven—hear more on Bandcamp.
Shoutout to Jenny Rask for designing the Clever logo.

Ep. 10: Greg Benson of Loll Designs

Designer and CEO of Loll Designs, Greg Benson, is living the good life in Duluth, MN. He shares with us his trajectory from building skate parks all over the world as a founder of TrueRide, to growing the trifecta of design, manufacturing, and distribution sister companies currently in the Loll family. A dedicated steward of the planet, he knows his way around the great outdoors, a well-crafted IPA, and the art of modern lollygagging - yeah, so what IS that anyway?! Tune in to find out:

As you can tell by this photo, Greg's a pretty fun guy. 

As you can tell by this photo, Greg's a pretty fun guy. 

Greg is a born and raised Minnesotan, who ended up sticking around to not only grow multiple businesses close to home, but to support the local community and environment he so loved as a boy. An avid outdoorsman, snowboarding, skating and catching turtles, his love of Minnesota and nature deeply impacted his future businesses. From early on, community was important to him, and hanging out with neighbors soon turned into a business opportunity and the rest is history... and the present.

Greg enjoying the outdoors as a young Minnesotan, hanging out catching turtles and other sea life.

Greg enjoying the outdoors as a young Minnesotan, hanging out catching turtles and other sea life.

TrueRide skate ramp

TrueRide skate ramp

From Rollerblades to skate parks to cutting boards and outdoor furniture, Greg knows quite a bit about starting and growing businesses. On top of that, he knows how to be resourceful. All of his businesses were built upon and maintain sustainability as their core value, with giving back as a secondary yet equally important ethos.

The signature modern Adirondak chairs, one of Greg's side projects that soon developed into Loll Designs.

The signature modern Adirondak chairs, one of Greg's side projects that soon developed into Loll Designs.

The Lollygagger Beer collaboration with Bent Paddle was created to raise money for a 100+ mile trail through Duluth, called the Duluth Traverse.

The Lollygagger Beer collaboration with Bent Paddle was created to raise money for a 100+ mile trail through Duluth, called the Duluth Traverse.

One of Epicurean's cutting boards

One of Epicurean's cutting boards

Loll has since expanded their collection to include lots more furnishings using their signature 100% recycled plastic material.

Loll has since expanded their collection to include lots more furnishings using their signature 100% recycled plastic material.

Tap handles, a side project that Greg and his crew worked on for Bent Paddle. Find out more of what they've got brewing in the beer world.

Tap handles, a side project that Greg and his crew worked on for Bent Paddle. Find out more of what they've got brewing in the beer world.

Poncho collaboration with Faribault Woolen Milll

Poncho collaboration with Faribault Woolen Milll

Greg sure knows how to have a good time! Find out what modern lollygagging is all about... listen above!

Greg sure knows how to have a good time! Find out what modern lollygagging is all about... listen above!

So, if anyone ever tells you that you're lollygagging, we think you can take it as a compliment. Lollygag on! 

Learn more about Loll Designs online at lolldesigns.com, and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Also, be sure to check out Intectural, Good Sheet and Epicurean.

Thanks to our sponsor Freshbooks for supporting this episode of Clever.

If you want more Clever, sign up for the newsletter to get notified of new episodes as they're released. Follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram. And most importantly, please spread the word to anyone who you think would dig it. 

Subscribe on iTunesStitcherGoogle PlaySoundCloud, or subscribe using our feed: http://clever.libsyn.com/rss via your favorite podcast app. And please, if you like us, give us a rating!

Special thanks to Chris Modl of Yore Studio for editing this episode.
Music in this episode courtesy of El Ten Eleven—hear more on Bandcamp.
Shoutout to Jenny Rask for designing the Clever logo.