The way creatives are collaborating and creating value evolves, yet in many ways, maintains age-old traditions. While meandering the U.S. two years ago, I had the privilege of meeting with Sam Cahill at his studio and office on the northwest side of downtown Cleveland.
As I’m winding my way through an old industrial area on the east side of downtown Cleveland, I pass one amazing building after another, after another — all stunning turn-of-the-century brick warehouses and manufacturing facilities. Finding my way slowly through this maze of glorious memorials of a time long past, to my surprise, there is a bustling of activity. What was once rust, has been refurbished — repurposed — as part of a city undergoing a renaissance with impressive potential. I park. Searching for the entrance, I wait for Sam who was kind enough to welcome a total stranger meandering across the U.S.
2nd Shift Design Co. is a collective, a workshop, and studio that specializes in contemporary product design. Ultimately, it is a collaborative experiment. Sam Cahill is one of the founding cohort, originally seven, and he is continuing to refine the hypothesis. The design of their product is striking: minimal, iconic, functional, modern, and yet with a touch of embellishment, it is timeless. No small feat for any designer to accomplish. With a rich education in industrial design from the Cleveland Institute for Art, Sam has several years of experience working as a designer for a well known product brand. In his tenure he discovered that while most products advertised were brutally minimalistic, the vast majority of Americans still buy more traditional products. Sam’s goal is to design an item — an heirloom — that is boldly simple in its design yet with modest embellishment reminiscent of historic elements. 2nd Shift Studio embodies the desire to design, create, and produce products with lasting value.
“We’re constantly experimenting with new design and product ideas. Our goal is to create heirlooms — something that is truly timeless.” – Sam Cahill
Their new space is in a sprawling (by NYC terms) loft divided into two areas — workshop and studio. After living in shoebox sized apartments in New York, I was immediately green with envy. It’s an absolutely beautiful, raw yet refined space with a large kitchen area, stage turned living room, and several office areas.
Of the original collective, only a few remain. Hearing more of Sam’s journey as a designer and entrepreneur, it was filled with recurring themes I’ve heard for more than a decade. Focus. Refinement. Risk. Trial and error. Traction. Expansion. Challenges. Opportunities. The list goes on. As a designer, Sam welcomes failure with warm embrace! He, like most entrepreneurs, understand that with success comes failure. It’s not romanticized, nor fictionalized, nor feared. It simply is. Just another ingredient in the crazy adventure we call life.
Hearing more of Sam’s journey as a designer and entrepreneur, it was filled with recurring themes I’ve heard for more than a decade.
When Sam talks of Cleveland, his genuine excitement in the transformation taking place is evident. And he’s proud to be an active participant investing in the community, the city, and the regional economy. His goal is to work and collaborate locally and beyond. He partners with Amish furniture builders to mass produce various wood components, and also connects with other designers and retailers across the north east.
2nd Shift Design Co. is just one of many examples of the amazing stories that we’re discovering across the country as we travel. Be sure to follow Sam’s story, and consider purchasing the greatest tiki torch ever made or a set of beautifully simplistic picture hanger frames.
FUTURE OF CREATIVITY
As we travel and continue our ongoing greenfield research project, the Future of Creativity, we dedicate time to meet with new people actively shaping our collective future. If you’re willing to connect — in person or via phone — for a comprehensive interview about your work, ambition, and vision for the future, please contact us today!