Ep. 49: Lisa Roberts

Collector and high-design advocate, Lisa Roberts, reflects on a childhood spent in an architecturally significant home that discomfited her because it made her feel different from her peers, and also ignited her passion for design because it seeped into her very being. Now, having collected more than 400 “Antiques of the Future,” she uses her collection to educate, author books, and advocate for the game changing power of design. Not too shabby for ol’ Curtains Roberts, eh? Mr. Waffles approves. Meow!

What is your earliest memory?

When a neighborhood boy at age 5 pulled down his pants in front of me.

How do you feel about democratic design?

It’s better than Republican design.

Lisa's childhood home

Lisa's childhood home

Artwork for University of Pennsylvania notecard

Artwork for University of Pennsylvania notecard

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

When the going gets tough, the tough get creative.

How do you record your ideas?

Send myself emails.

Barware for Neiman Marcus

Barware for Neiman Marcus

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

Exacto knife.

What book is on your nightstand?

Born A Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah

A Gentleman In Moscow by A. Towles is best book I’ve read in 5 years.

Designs for the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Designs for the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Why is authenticity in design important?

Many designs are inspired from sources around us, so the question is at what point does inspiration become imitation. I had one of my most successful designs, “Kids Around the World” copied both in concept and artistic style. Not only did it devastate me as the designer, it devalued  the original idea.

Favorite restaurant in your city?

Vernick

Jenette Chair (Campana brothers) and Mr. Waffles

Jenette Chair (Campana brothers) and Mr. Waffles

Rainbow chair by Patrick Norguet for Cappellini

Rainbow chair by Patrick Norguet for Cappellini

What might we find on your desk right now?

Tizio Lamp,  iMac, latest issue of Azure, Weleda Skin Food hand cream, and Mr. Waffles.

Who do you look up to and why?

Marcel Wanders because he’s over 6 feet.

Alessi Merdolino toilet brush and Mr. Waffles

Alessi Merdolino toilet brush and Mr. Waffles

Lisa's book Antiques of the Future

Lisa's book Antiques of the Future

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

My Antiques of the Future book because it started me on the path as a spokesperson for design. This led to speaking engagements around the country, a TV series (My Design Life), second book (DesignPOP) and an upcoming children’s book, “Mr. Waffles Loves Design”.

Lisa's book, designPOP

Lisa's book, designPOP

BOOKWORM Bookcase by Ron Arad for Kartell

BOOKWORM Bookcase by Ron Arad for Kartell

What are the last five songs you listened to?

A Celtic Dream (Michele McLaughlin, At the Ivy Gate (Brian Crain), Celtic Nights (Suzanne Ciani), Despacito (Peter Burka interpretation), River Flows In You (Yurima).

These are all pieces I practice on the piano.


Follow Lisa at mydesignlife.com and see what Mr. Waffles is up to on Instagram. Watch episodes of 'My Design Life' here.


Special thanks to Tai Navares and Alex Perez 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.