I’ll admit, we did something kind of weird. On the heels of our design research on various kinds of furniture, we did an email invitation blast to all of our friends, asking them to weigh in on various design alternatives to the frustrations we identified through the many conversations we had around different kinds of furniture. The results were amazing, unexpected, and most importantly useful.
Most furniture just doesn’t cut it. But what does that mean? Most fundamentally, it means that human beings have needs and tastes, and most furniture doesn’t meet either of those things, either explicitly or in…
Why a group furniture show?
Spofford had a vision for a future in which these people thrived in ways that are at present unlikely or even unimaginable. Since our formal incorporation over a year ago, we’ve explored and discovered a world of ideas and talented individuals who are creating a new future for themselves and their communities, whether creating furniture or purchasing it. And we’ve recommitted to our initial, guiding principles as well as incorporated new ones thanks to communities and philosophies that were already humming and which gave shape to these intuitions.
Cooperatives: A Nice Idea or an Essential Economic Alternative?
Carl Woodruff arrived in Central Massachusetts about three years ago in order to join two colleagues to work on a new design and construction project for what is now the Mill 180 Park space in Easthampton. He had just come off of three months of travel, punctuating a long, seven year stretch in New York City working primarily in scenery shops that catered to the fashion industry.
“That industry particularly highlighted for me the problem with a single bottom line.” Carl said in an interview with Spofford. “It’s the most lucrative…
Arts and Crafts, Makers and Hackers, and the Search for Something
“Choosing to make something is political.” -Virginia Johnson, Gather Here
When I set out to write this article, I had intended it as a followup to a previous article about the Arts and Crafts movement and its foundational philosophy that persisted long past the movement itself. The idea? To link the contemporary maker and do-it-yourself (DIY) movements to this legacy. …
In the age of “peak plastic”, how do we change the system behind the stuff?
About ten years ago, Caleb Dawson and a colleague struggled to find the right materials for the construction of a unique, asterisk-shaped, upholstered ottoman they had designed. It occurred to them to try plastic. Unlike other sheet goods like plywood, plastic was easy to machine and flexible enough for the design’s living hinges. By using recycled plastic, they found an additional, unanticipated opportunity to minimize the environmental impact of the piece.
“We got lucky by finding a plastic recycler who made HDPE [High-density polyethylene] sheets…
Our troubled history with financing, for furniture or anything else
In another recent article, I discussed the peculiar relationship between disposability and affordability. A pillar of that relationship is that higher quality things are simply out of reach for most people. So could we address disposability by making higher quality items more accessible, or rethinking our ownership relationship with them?
Consumers, especially American ones, have an abundance of options to procure the objects they want or need (or just need right now). But it has led to a double life for most of us. On the one hand, we are…
The biggest IKEA fight is one the global retailer is having with itself.
IKEA furniture is…everywhere. And as with anything that’s so seemingly omnipresent, for every voice bemoaning its drawbacks there are 100 twenty- and thirty-somethings jumping into the car to spend a Saturday afternoon touring the labyrinthine depths of the closest IKEA because, let’s face it, you just need a coffee table for that empty space in the apartment and don’t want to think about it too much. And be honest: you’ll probably eventually throw it away.
Does this confirm what many claim, that IKEA sells throwaway furniture for…
The Maker Movement a Century Before the Maker Movement
Cities across America and the world are now home to makerspaces of all kinds and catering to all sorts of endeavors, from textiles to paper, to furniture, electronics and hardware, and even automotive mechanics.
As with most any movement of its kind, these places and the desire to be a part of them and partake in the activities they encourages are steeped in a guiding set of principles that for many of the movement’s leaders are nothing short of politically and economically revolutionary (think phrases like “the third industrial revolution” and…
From a past grounded in idealism to a dystopian present, the story behind the world’s most ubiquitous materials.
Plastic is the material we love to hate. But we can’t break our addiction (much though we may try). A catch all term for what are known as (usually) synthetic polymers, plastics have done nothing short of make our modern life possible, for better and for worse.
But ironically, what began as an effort to find a replacement for scarce, naturally occurring resources has itself become a contentious centerpiece in the worldwide discussion around environmental sustainability and even a stand-in term for…
Breathe new life into inherited pieces and make them your own.
Baby boomers as a generation, quite frankly, have too much stuff. They came of age where the external trappings of success had a great deal more weight than they do now.
Much of this abundance intended to help “keep up with the Joneses” came at the expense of a lot of hidden externalities that we’re only reckoning with now.
The phenomenon of aging baby boomers attempting to downsize has gotten a ton of ink in the last few years.
Today, minimalism is far more in vogue. Grown children of…
Designer/Writer/Researcher/Facilitator. Cofounder and CEO of Spofford Design