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Inside Steven Alan

A Moment With . . . Fort Standard

  • When transforming our former office space into our Home Shop, we enlisted the help of Ian Collings and Gregory Buntain of Fort Standard to bring our ideas to life. The duo set to work, designing fixtures, furnishings, and even some of the objects we sell in the shop. We recently spoke with them and learned about their design process:

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    {Greg and Ian}

    Where did you grow up, and where do you currently live?
    IC: Virginia Beach, VA – Crown Heights, Brooklyn
    GB: Westfield, NJ – Fort Greene, Brooklyn

    Where did you meet and what made you decide to collaborate?
    We met at Pratt Institute where we studied Industrial Design together. During our Junior year we were two of four students selected to study Product Design at the Bauhaus in Weimar, Germany, where we became great friends and first talked about one day working together.

    How do your backgrounds in Industrial Design inform your approach to your projects and process?
    Our Industrial Design background is helpful across the board as it’s really just a way of thinking and problem solving. We can apply our design process to just about any design project whether it be as small as a bottle opener or as large as a retail space that sells those bottle openers.

    Are there any other disciplines that influence your work?
    Being able to work with our hands and prototype our own designs helps inform our designs. Understanding materials and connections and exploring all of the possible combinations is a big influence in our work.

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    You have a really distinctive, finely honed aesthetic that’s modern, yet warm. Was this already established when you began your partnership, or has it evolved over time?
    First of all, thank you, that’s great to hear! Secondly; it has certainly evolved over time and continues to do so as we continue to work together and grow as individuals and partners. All of our designs begin with conversation. We throw ideas back and forth until it produces results we are both excited about and can stand behind.

    How does your approach differ when it comes to retail projects vs. your own branded products?
    Fortunately we haven’t really had to conform to our clients’ aesthetic very much as we have only worked with brands we admire where our style can be easily adapted to. Designing custom retail environments is always interesting as they always present their own unique opportunities to design something you wouldn’t normally think to do.

    When working on a project, do each of you have clearly defined roles, or do they just sort of blend?
    Different roles sort of just fall into place depending on what needs to happen but we do our best to keep things equal between us. Ultimately we have to do just about everything between the two of us and a studio manager so we both wear a lot of hats.

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    What are your favorite materials to work with?
    We are drawn to lasting materials which sort of have their own inherent value such as stone, wood, and brass.

    When it comes to your own homes, what’s your design philosophy?
    GB: I try to get rid of anything that isn’t beautiful or functional but since I see a lot of beauty in all sorts of objects, there’s a lot to look at. My brother likes to compare my apartment to a museum as there is a certain order to everything and even a few glass cases here and there with things arranged very neatly inside.

    You’ve worked on everything from store design, furniture, home products, jewelry, and lighting. Is there anything you’re not good at?
    Making things easy on ourselves. We are fortunate enough to make a living doing what we love to do so that expression comes out in different ways. We also really like designing for other manufacturers as it allows us to design for different production methods or materials that we don’t have access to ourselves.

    What would you like to tackle next?
    We are going to try to focus on just home goods more specifically this year.

    What do you like to do when you’re not working?
    Party. Make personal projects. Sleep.

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    Many thanks to Greg and Ian! You can check out Fort Standard’s work at our Home Shop at 158 Franklin Street and shop their home goods in our Chelsea location or web shop.

    This entry was posted on Wednesday, April 10th, 2013 at 12:43 pm and is filed under A Moment With . . .. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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