connections in your brain. When you get inputs that you don’t usually see, and
your eyes have these new stimuli, it changes the way that you think.
The Gleam chandelier is motor-controlled and transforms. It was very
much born out of my love for shadows, and how light creates and changes
them. The whole fixture itself can be illuminated in new designs we’re working
on. The entire thing is like a bulb and it creates shadows as it moves. You
can kind of draw on the ceiling. Most people only think of light as a design
element and shadows are overlooked. But without the darkness, you can’t
see the light. To me, they’re of similar importance.
There are many different inspirations for the Ollie line. One is simply
business-oriented. My first tables were very high-end, one-off pieces, but I
wanted to provide a more accessible offering that satisfied functional needs.
We thought about palpable trends: urbanization, micro-apartments, how
millennials work. The Ollie really fits the bill.
How water moves was another inspiration. How do we apply that fluidity
and flexibility to a table? Having a product that stores flat on the wall and
comes to any length seemed like a really good answer. There were many
different mechanisms involved. At first people went, “Oh, kind of like a
Murphy bed.” But no, a Murphy bed is binary. We’re analog, I said. It takes
forms; it’s partially down; it’s in many different stages. You can use it however
you need it to be.
We looked at desks and garage doors. We needed something that was
rigid like a table but then becomes utterly flexible in a transition. There is a
lot of furniture that transforms, but you leave it in one space. We wanted to
inspire people to move. We built the tables and realized if you have a table
that moves, what do you do with the chairs? So we developed a totally
customizable line of seating that collapses quickly and pops back up—
everything from regular dining chairs to stools, lounge seats, and ottomans.
I&S: How will design—and your ideas specifically—shape the future?
JB: When we see pictures or movies of the future, it’s all robots and white
and Apple-y. But I don’t think we’re going to evolve out of our limbic system.
We won’t stop liking beautiful things or being attracted to certain things.
We’ll still have very visceral experiences to objects that are beautiful, sleek,
nostalgic, and natural. Part of my goal is to really keep that link to beauty,
awe, and wonder, and also to instill people with the technology that my
Imagine a desk, chair, and even other parts of your room that could work
together and make sure you are never vulnerable to a stress injury, or never
have back pain. Imagine products that can connect to other devices and use
the data from sensors about your real-time physiology, and that understands
your historical and biographical information. We can know if you just had
hip surgery or if you’re a runner, and then we could adapt the setting and
experience to totally fit your lifestyle and make you healthier and happier.
That’s where I’m looking.
Right now there’s a high attenuation rate, and there’s all this quantified
data. People find out they don’t walk enough or they’re bad sleepers, but
they don’t know what to do. “Oh great, I’m a shitty sleeper—now what?”
Well I’m like, I can fix it! And I can do it in a way that doesn’t look like a
medical table. It can be beautiful too.
66 INTERIORS & SOURCES JULY 2015 interiorsandsources.com
➤ continued from page 64
BELOW The Ollie table
was inspired by the
movement of water. It
fluidly rolls down from
the wall to varying levels.