This week we caught up with Brooklyn-based artist Brendan Timmins and learn about his incredible installation for Sight Unseen Presents in collaboration with New York Design Week 2017.
Creatures Features: Hi Brendan! Please tell us a little bit about yourself - Where are you from, where do you live now? Where did you go to school?
Brendan Timmins: I'm from Philadelphia. I went to school at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. Now I live in Greenpoint.
CF: What was your major in college?
BT: I majored in industrial design
CF: Where is your studio, and what is your studio practice like?
BT: My studio is in Brooklyn off the Grand stop. My practice is small; it's just me! I work on designing and building most of my stuff there, and use friends' spaces if necessary for bigger projects.
CF: Do your pieces start planned out on paper, or do you work intuitively with the materials until something comes together?
BT: Occasionally, if I'm trying to work out something precise, I draw to figure it out. More often I work intuitively. I often have very specific ideas in my head that I want to execute, so I just do it.
CF: Where do you get your materials?
BT: From a variety of places; sometimes they are found materials, but often it's just going to suppliers to buy what I need. I wish there was a more romantic answer to that question.
Photo by Pippa Drummond
CF: How did you first get into furniture design?
BT: I wanted to pursue interior design and architecture in High School. I was really into drafting and technical drawing. I was also really into the history of modern design. I had so many architecture and furniture books. With the intention of studying architecture, I went to a high school program at Pratt over the summer. It was there I learned about the industrial design program and the furniture studios. I was hooked after that.
CF: Do you have a favorite designer?
BT: No, I love so many. I guess there is a direct lineage to Reitveld from many of my favorite artists & designers, so maybe he is the most important to my work.
CF: Where do you draw your inspiration from for your own work? I see connections to the Memphis Group and postmodernism in your pieces.
BT: Absolutely! Memphis has always been a huge influence on my work. When I'm designing, I often think of specific design movements. For instance, when I was making my Zolo lamp series, that was directly in conversation with Memphis, and an effort to re-appropriate distilled 80's postmodernism.
CF: Does the fashion world ever inspire your furniture designs?
BT: Yeah, for color, probably more than anything else. Especially women's fashion. I seasonally check the runway shows for color combinations that feel new.
CF: Can you tell us about your pieces for the Sight Unseen Presents Design Week this year?
BT: Sure! There are a few things; I designed some modular furniture "totems" that are 2 chairs and a small table/stool that stack together into a shelf. They are natural with various motifs painted on the tops. I also designed a series of 8 one-off lamp constructions. The are painted with a striped motif of varying neutral tones. Lastly, there are one-off sculptural bookend constructions using custom cut marble and the same striped pieces as in the lamps.
CF: I love the congruity between the chairs and the bookshelves as one, as we often need a place to sit or relax while we read! Are these ties between multiple pieces of furniture and functions something you have always been thinking about? Do you have any other pairings between two types of furniture in the works?
BT: I've always loved stacking systems. I also love the intersection of furniture and pedestal. This is something I've explored a little bit before, but this is the most developed iteration. I see it as when it is the keeper of your favorite possessions. It is a multi-layered pedestal that holds precious objects.
CF: Is there current work that is really exciting you right now?
BT: Yes, Chen and Kai's material explorations are incredible. And Jessi Reaves work is mind blowing to me.
CF: Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?
BT: ¿Quien Sabe? I wish I had an answer to that.
CF: Describe what your dream interior looks like?
BT: 80 percent clean, 20 percent disorder with all of my favorite chairs arranged in a grid, and an endless wall of IKEA Ivar shelves holding every book I've ever wanted.
CF: If you had to choose one iconic piece of 20th-century furniture, what would it be?
BT: Ughhhhhh. I'm going to choose the Toio lamp by Castiglioni because I think it's so incredible and under-appreciated for how insane it is.
CF: What music are you listening to at the moment?
BT: Uzi Vert and Jon Hassell
CF: What’s your spirit animal?
BT: A bullmastiff lazing around on a couch