American Design Hot List 2020
A trio comprising a married couple and their best friend, Pieces operates under the idea that “great design doesn’t have to be so serious.” With their furry teddy-bear chairs, tables inspired by sporting courts, and squiggly rainbow rugs, the studio wants to push people to take more aesthetic risks in their interiors — a proposition they underscored recently by opening their own wildly colorful rentable vacation home.
What is American design to you, and what excites you about it?
Despite 2020 shining a light on the systemic inequities that pervade all facets of American society (even the design world), there exists a culture of ambition in America that seems unique to our way of upbringing. We collectively believe in ourselves. We are convinced that if we work hard enough then we can build a business or a brand out of our ideas. So the result is a richly diverse landscape of design. As social media has granted us tools to create and to engage our audience, we are all granted a lane to design what we want to design with the confidence that we can bring that design to market. We have the tools to give our ideas life. We have courage to try things that blur the lines between furniture and art, product and content.
It’s exciting to be a part of such a creative and diverse ecosystem of designers, artists, and makers, especially at a time when things are evolving so rapidly. It’s an amazing feeling to have found an audience that supports what we create.
What are your plans and highlights for the upcoming year?
We have ambitious plans to expand our “Pieces Homes” collection in ’21 and beyond. Pieces Homes is a division of Pieces that buys and remodels homes to become design-centric vacation rental properties in which all of the products contained in the homes are available for purchase. We launched our first Pieces Homes concept at the beginning of 2019. While the timing was definitely weird, it ended up being a super successful launch. So we look forward to getting home #2 open by the end of next year.
We’ve also been slowly figuring out how to work with retail partners. When we launched Pieces in 2017, we didn’t have a plan to work with retail. Honestly, we didn’t exactly know how to make it work. Designing and custom-making product to order is an expensive process. Figuring out how to include a retail partner without raising prices seemed impossible. Fortunately, you learn as you grow and we learned how to be more efficient and to better our systems to allow for the possibility to expand our reach. As of this month, we launched some product with Mr. Porter, a luxury retailer in the fashion industry, who sought us out to expand their assortment into home design products. It’s an exciting experiment that we hope works and expect to see expand into 2021.
Of course, we’re also working on a new collection of products that we intend to launch mid-year. This newest collection, Collection IV, will focus on a new rug collection that pairs with upholstered seating, but that’s all we can say for now. Stay tuned.
What inspires or informs your work in general?
We as a team have a very tight bond. Our design process is very collaborative. It’s a wine-fueled (ok, sometimes mezcal-fueled) exchange of layers of ideas, storytelling, sketching, prototyping, and revisions. It’s not just our brand or business, it’s how we’ve always hung out. Our dynamic and the process of our bond is what informs and guides our work. We talk about things that matter to us, like how important sports were to Tai’s and Chris’s upbringing, or those who have influenced us, like Jenny’s grandmother Glenyce who inspired Jenny’s courage to use color. We draw our inspiration from each other, our stories, our collective history, and the challenges we face together. These aspects of our relationship are what inform the themes within which we design each collection.