After I first saw a photograph of the Peter Bristol–designed Corner Light just a couple of months before, I had been struck with its logic, simplicity and elegance. Of course there should be a light which only nestles at a corner and illuminates a space, I believed. It is one of those things that causes you to wonder why it did not exist before. It works so cohesively in a space it seems it can fit with almost any architecture or decor.
Bristol is a Seattle designer that creates lighting, furniture and other home goods and is also a lead industrial designer at Carbon Design Group. His work has received accolades from the form of design awards, patents, rave media and recently a judging position for I.D. magazine.
I talked to him recently about his Corner Light and other cool products, the impetus for some of his designs and also the intersection of practicality and creativity.
Q. Since its launch at the Milan Furniture Fair at 2011 your Corner Light has generated a Great Deal of interest. Do you think it has had allure?
A. The Corner Light takes part of the room that’s overlooked. It is very simple yet at the exact same time very unique. It only became something which I believed needed to exist. It is fascinating that Sebastian Wrong and Established & Sons felt exactly the exact same way and were able to help it become accessible.
Q. What are some tools you use in your own work?
A. Obviously your head is the most significant tool. The rest of the tools have a tendency to aid recognize, iterate, refine, define and communicate the job done upstairs. Thumbnails capture ideas and explorations; bodily mock-ups help understand ergonomics and scale quickly. Computers are invaluable for invention, refinement and communication along the way.
Q. How did your American Standards Light come about?
A. I had been doing a workout looking at regular icons. The wall and switch plug have been the icons. But then I realized that the manner in which many 2-by-4 walls are made is also recognizable. Referencing the entire drywall construction strategy became interesting. Putting elements collectively, the extra socket and also called switch strategy combined to make a pretty neat light.
Q. How much do older designs and new trends become involved?
A. You cannot help but be affected by what you know. The context of what has happened and is happening is always there. However, it seems good solutions have a tendency to be less about what others do or have done, and more about what should be done now.
Q. In case your Training Dresser had been around when my kids where growing up, they would have adored it. But then I realized: Hi, I could use that now. I am always loosing track of socks. What inspired you to style it?
A. Not certain where it came from. The usage of these clothes images outside is a too literal usage of iconography and a playful way of highlighting what is inside the dresser.
Q. I understand that it’s made in Washington state.
A. Right, its own handmade and packed in southern Washington by the team at Mountain View Cabinetry.
Q. The Cut Chair is indeed sculptural. It appears like it’s drifting. Can you sit on it without tipping over?
A. Yes, it’s pretty stable. The carpeting a part of the piece, and there’s a steel plate underneath that allows the seat pan to cantilever off the one leg.
Q. It seems like a departure from the more practical designs.
A. Yes, I agree. Not sensible. … I guess it’s a little more art than merchandise. That line is always a little fuzzy.
Q. Do you differentiate between layout that serves a particular purpose and design that’s great to check out?
A. That’s sort of the traditional form-function conversation, right? I am not certain that those two could be separated. Context guides good layout, but there are many interpretations of context. Something such as a medical merchandise has to be usable first, although other regions of design can let the item character take the lead. Function is beautifully distilled at the work of Dieter Rams, but there’s a whole different kind of attractiveness in the opinionated function of Marcel Wanders. Though the processes vary, there’s awesome work at both ends of the spectrum.
Q. Will there be a particular equilibrium you like to strike with experimentation, study, cooperation and other procedures?
A. I think each project takes on a life of its own. Those procedures all exist to help generate and find the ideal ideas. The manner in which they are mixed along the way is always different. It is tough to attempt to induce a rigid structure around such a fluid kind of work.
Q. How much does production affect your designs?
A. How things are created and how they go together always affect a layout, just like use always affects a design. Occasionally manufacturing methods define a item, and at times they enable it. It is typically difficult to separate the design in the engineering on nice products. Ultimately is the layout.
Q. Is it sometimes difficult to discuss your own work?
A. Occasionally it’s tricky to talk about attributes without seeming sales-y. I guess I think design must speak for itself, so any communication concerning the job should only confirm your natural intuition.
Q. Thus, just to torment you, here’s the dreaded query. How would you explain your outlook on layout?
A. Honest? Succinct? Appropriate? All these are things I try for.
Q. Can there be a Seattle or Northwest style?
A. There are probably several perceived Northwest fashions. I’m hesitant to explain any, since the web world tends to let things to happen anywhere and everywhere simultaneously.
Q. How do you approach designing and decorating your own house?
A. (Laughs) No real time to Be Worried about it. We obviously curate with things we like. Set up your house to suit the way you live, and the result will be good. It’ll be pleasurable for living and a true representation of you.
Learn more about Peter Bristol and his job