‘We play a part in what materials are used and the process in how they are manufactured. It’s a small part of much larger picture and I feel designers are doing their part’, says Jeffrey A Day, Lead Designer, DAY-STUDIOS in an exclusive interview with sawdust
Jeffrey A Day, Lead Designer, DAY-STUDIOS -min
Could you tell us about your art and design background? What made you become an artist/designer? Have you always wanted to be a designer?
I have an MID from Pratt Institute, and a BA of Art History from The Ohio State University. I have over a decade of design experience (and a handful of patents) ranging from mass produced pieces to custom work. I have always wanted to be a designer since I could remember. I live by the phrase “what if”; “what if this did that” view of the world.
Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
Day-Studios is a boutique firm creating contemporary designs that demonstrate purpose, precision and beauty.
What is “design” for you?
Design for me is progression; a progression of thoughts that turn into products which in turn creates a new interest and/or a new skill set only to feed the next design cycle.
What is your most favorite design. Tell us more about it?
Good question, the next piece is always my most favorite until it is done.
What was the first thing you designed for a company?
A CRT television stand that swiveled.
What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
My favorite material to work with is wood, it gives so much character and warmth. Plastics being a close second with are versatility. My favorite piece of tech is 3D printing, it’s so quick and useful for development.
When do you feel the most creative?
When my mind is clear, it allows space for something “else” to happen.
Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
During the designing phase I focus solely on realizing the inspiration with respect to proportions and materials. How the design gets realized is addressed later.
What makes a design successful? When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
Balance, interest and execution.
From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
Designers have a responsibility to respect the world we all live in. We play a part in what materials are used and the process in how they are manufactured. It’s a small part of much larger picture and I feel designers are doing their part.
How do you think the “design field” is evolving? What is the future of design.
The contemporary design field is finding its voice on two fronts in my opinion. First of all with the proliferation of converging technologies such as CAD, CNC and 3D printing designers are boundless with what they design and how they go about realizing the vision. Secondly, designers are pushing away from the computer screens more frequently and are playing a vital role the production. There is a disconnect from being solely a CAD jockey designer to actual production of an item. I feel designers are trying to strike a balance between both worlds to make better designs.
How do you work with companies?
I strive to create partnerships with companies. I am always fascinated by how others accomplish designs or manufacturing. I try to learn what they do well and how best to translate that skill into real world application.
Can you talk a little about your design process?
My design process at the highest level is Ideation, solidification, definition and fruition. Ideation is the spark, or creative idea. Solidification is about exploring options and refinement, where the idea solidifies. Definition is about how do we get it to market, what dimensions work, what kinds of materials can we use; actually defining what and how of a product. Fruition is bringing a concept to life, making prototypes and learning where it can be improved upon.
What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
my IPhone, Brooks running shoes, a 15 year old Pentel Kerry mechanical pencil, Emeco Navy chair, and of-course my Drops coffee table.
Tell us more about Drops.
Watching rain drops disrupting the glass like appearance of a pond in rainy Seattle was my inspiration. Coupling that event with a commonly used material fits nicely into my design philosophy of creating a visual dialogue. As the light shifts on Drops Table, a shadow change gives the person another sentence in the conversation.
Drops Coffee Table is solid wood construction. The use of a CNC router made this design possible for production with the uniquely sculpted support frames and top surface. Suspended motion is captured within the rectangular frame that brings balance to the piece visually; conversely, the rain drops on the top surface expands out of the envelope to draw attention to the detail and eludes to the randomness of raindrops.
32mm wood was used for the support structure and 38mm wood for the top surface. CNC routing was used to realize the design, as the project progressed different methods were used for cutting as it related assembly and production. Routing 4 pre-constructed frames were explored initially which evolved into 17 individual pieces to make a complete unit.
- Width 1066-mm x Depth 635-mm x Height 380-mm
What are your future plans for this award winning design?
My plans are to show the design at a few furniture shows and to produce and offer them to the public.
Why did you design this particular concept? How long did it take you to design this particular concept?
It was inspiration 100%. I really reacted to fluidity of rain drops onto a still body of water. . From initial sketches to the final version for CNC machining it was about 60 days.
Is your design being produced or used by another company?
I intend to produce and sell this design under the Day-Studios brand.
What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
Young designers – do your research when the project calls for it. The information will always be useful. More importantly, follow your instincts, they will not fail you.
What is your “golden rule” in design?
Balance plus visual interest. I always strive for a product to look and feel perfect. I find
What skills are most important for a designer?
The most important skills for a designer are observation and ideation.
Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
I don’t, it manages me!…
How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
Each project is different.