Iacoli & McAllister


Here at Sight Unseen, we tend to pride ourselves on the timeless nature of so many of our features. But if you look back at the first time we covered Jamie Iacoli and Brian McAllister, way back in 2010, the article is almost laughably out-of-date. For one, we called Seattle a city that’s “not exactly famous for its flourishing industrial design scene” — which is, of course, the premise behind this entire week. And as for Iacoli & McAllister? Back then, they were better known for powder-coated shop tools and cake pedestals than for the beautifully lightweight and sophisticated furniture that has become their signature (and they hadn’t even begun to make jewelry!). They were so very green back then — only having recently found vendors and retailers to make and sell their work — whereas now they’re like the éminence grise of the Seattle design scene, so entrenched in its visual identity that you can’t remember a time when they weren’t there.

What hasn’t changed? When we interviewed them in 2010, the onetime couple had broken up but were still living together. Today, they’re still broken up and living together, though in the intervening years they spent three years living apart. “We were living separately but we had two different studio spaces,” Iacoli remembers. “A dirty production facility where we made everything and a clean inspirational studio where we would design stuff. We got to the point where Brian was always in the production studio and I was always in the clean studio and we never saw each other. It was hard for us to schedule being inspired and doing design work.”

So the two did something most exes would never dream of: They got a townhouse in Capitol Hill that’s big enough for the both of them (plus Iacoli’s dog, Sidney). “We thought if we lived together, we would pass each other in our free time — one of us would be working on something and the other would be going out the door and we could have a quick conversation about our design work,” says Iacoli. And while the arrangement may prove to be short-lived, so far it’s working, not least because the two filled the house (to shockingly un-matchy effect) with furniture of their own design. “A friend said to us, ‘That’s the greatest thing about you guys living together,’” Iacoli laughs. “‘You didn’t have to make any decisions about stuff.’”