there. Many of them had been building skate park ramps and breaking
arms since they were little kids, and I was trying to style Barbie hair. My
brush with danger and manual skills was much smaller than many of the
people I met.
Being at MIT was truly a resource of wonder. I felt like I learned how
to see the world again and also really use my hands for the first time. It was
so empowering learning I had this ability to change something that seemed
to be completely unmalleable—to take a block of aluminum and make it into
something I want. It was like, Holy mackerel, I can do anything.
That really got me into thinking that maybe I don’t necessarily need
to build the robots we take into space. I can build things that are fun,
pretty, and accessible to people. They can be a part of everyday lives.
Furniture seemed like a really good opportunity for communicating to
people my sense of empowerment and wonder with the world. I found
my real interest was in the building of things and also imagining things
that never existed at all.
Once my hands got more firmly connected to my brain, then my
creativity really burgeoned because it was fulfilled creativity. That’s so, so
important: the knowledge that I didn’t just have to think of an ambiguous
image—I could actually think of a process to get there. So then my love
of physics—there are so many amazing, natural wonders in the world
that display dynamic principles—really started to fuel my design.
I&S: It seems that a certain physical phenomenon has inspired
each of your inventions. Can you elaborate on that?
JB: The Float collection came out of my fascination with magnetism and
wanting to communicate this amazingly intangible experience to people in a
way that was now tangible and functional (besides just putting a picture up
on the fridge). To make them feel the wonder constantly, that encouraged
me. There are so many times we take for granted how cool shit is. It’s like,
Wow. So besides just being a table that’s levitating, it’s a force for new
64 INTERIORS & SOURCES JULY 2015 interiorsandsources.com
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ABOVE The Ollie collection
began as tables that could
roll up flat against the wall
and out again as far as
needed. The companion
chair pops and collapses in