American Design Hot List 2015
New York, farrahsit.com
Her planters and light fixtures have long had a following, but a recent furniture collab with Chiyome took the Brooklyn designer’s portfolio up a notch.
What is American design to you, and what excites you about it?
American design is free and bold, both in aesthetics and in business. There is a fun attitude and a lot of energy, and, at least in my community, an amazingly supportive feeling that’s more collaborative than competitive. The smaller production practices here align with my values of “own less and own well.” As a country with historical roots in manufacturing, so much was lost when American production relocated overseas. The shift back towards local, independent production gives this country’s design players a freedom and edge to focus on creativity. It feels a bit like the forest of industry and production burned, and we’re the little sprouts of ingenuity and creativity coming up afterward.
I specifically love working with craftspeople and fabricators in their senior years who have survived that global shift. As their peers may have abandoned post, they stick around to do the work for fun. Sharing with me the days of yore, their wisdom, calmness and passion for their craft is unwavering. I experienced the shift firsthand when I designed home objects for fashion labels. As the conversations changed from nit-picking quality to the bottom-line numbers, things changed for me internally. I left designing for the masses years ago with the dream to start my own line and to keep production high-quality and domestic. It’s wonderful to see that it’s happening; people are fed up with fast production.
What are your plans and highlights for the upcoming year?
I’m really excited to have recently joined Colony, and I’m designing a new line to be launched this coming year. Light + Ladder, my home accessories brand, is doing well and we’re expanding our studio space. I’m also collaborating with the brilliant designer Mark Grattan on a new tabletop collection. Stay tuned.
What inspires your work in general?
I’m inspired by science, and by the perfection that’s only found in nature. I’m intrigued by mankind’s struggle to dissect and manipulate the natural world. In all of that, it’s important to also just observe and find stillness. I’m looking for that gentle harmony between man and nature — whether in mathematical proportions, or in a gesture captured in a form. Our obsession with geometry is a meager peek into the wonders of nature. Can you tell I loved watching the new Cosmos? I’m visually inspired by the way materials can transcend their inherent properties in sculptural fashion, like how clothing can be reminiscent of architecture. The way a fashion designer creates shifting volumes around the body, transitioning from solid to fluid states, is inspiring for the eye.