I’m very pleased to have Brendan Ravenhill on board for this weeks ‘The Makers’. You may be familiar with Brendan’s work. His output first caught my attention when his very functional Dustbin was doing the blogging rounds. It’s a wonderful thing as is everything he seems to put his hand to, so enjoy looking through his work above, the Q&A below and don’t forget to have a further look into his practice through the links below.
Thanks for sharing Brendan!
How important do you think your working and home environment are to you? ... for example is the work you make reflected in your personal space?
I find it very important to have a home and work environment that reflects my design goals. Many of my designs are the result of a particular need and so my home is littered with prototypes and production samples. Living with the designs allows me to not only test their functionality, but also gives me time to have perspective on the work.
Form, function or fantasy?
In another age I might have been a Shaker, and I draw great inspiration from the beauty of working tools and industrial spaces. My object’s forms are a celebration of function, material or manufacturing methods.
What do you think has informed your personal aesthetic?
Growing up in the Ivory Coast and spending childhood summers in Maine I was surrounded by functional works of art such as carved stools and wooden boats. My father was always building things on weekends, and I grew up helping him and learning how things get put together. This sparked a deep curiosity in craft; in understanding how and why things are.
Do you have a project that was a turning point in finding your creative path?
Building wooden boats taught me that every piece, every line or curve should have a purpose.
Do you have a dream project or client?
I would love to design a low cost/high volume chair for Emeco or Herman Miller. A chair that could be equally at home in a school or a dining room.
How important is collaboration to you?
Though I don’t do true design collaborations often, I am lucky to have as friends a number of artist and designers who inspire and encourage me.
What is your opinion on taste and style?
Style and taste are highly personal things, and what one person likes won’t work for everybody and might not work for that same person in a couple of years time. I know good taste when I see it, but I also realize how subjective this viewpoint is.
Are you interested in trends in your field?
Where is your favorite place to be?
In the shop making prototypes.
During childhood years in Cote d’Ivoire and summers in coastal Maine, Brendan Ravenhill fell in love with the functional beauty of working tools and wooden boats. His father curated a show called the Art of the Personal Object at the Smithsonian when he was a kid. Brendan received a Sculpture degree from Oberlin College in 2001 and a Masters in Industrial Design from RISD in 2009. He loves taking tours of factories and the smell of cedar shavings.