Here, we ask designers to take a selfie and give us an inside look at their life.
Occupation: One-half designer, one-half engineer, and founder of Avoirdupois.
Instagram: @jamesstumpf and @avoir.dupois
Hometown: Dayton, OH.
Studio location: I work from a 400-square-foot workshop in SoHo, New York.
Describe what you make: I design and engineer original furniture and lighting pieces based on proper proportions, historically proven shapes/forms using exploratory materials and manufacturing techniques.
The most important thing you’ve designed to date: The Nº129 Profession Chair. I may be one of the only independent designers foolish enough to attempt to create their own office chair. There are always compromises when designing something if it is to become a tangible, real product. An office chair is the embodiment of that statement. It must be durable, functional, comfortable, and supportive while safely supporting the weight of an average human, fit under most desks, etc. That’s a long list of constraints which leaves little room for design, thus using any stock component available on the market reduces the odds of making something different or special. For those reasons, I designed and engineered every single component of the Profession Chair which allowed me to innovate and create small, beautiful design details like the casters, arms, swivel mechanism housing, and upholstery which I feel culminate into something significant.
Describe the problem your work solves: The word Avoirdupois is of French origin and translates to “objects of weight.” That’s what I’m setting out to do: create objects which have visual and societal weight with the potential to last one hundred years or longer. Others speak frequently about sustainable furniture and the materials chosen to make something “sustainable.” None of that matters if the piece is deeply rooted in a passing trend and will eventually end up in a landfill.
Describe the project you are working on now: Collection Nº1 / Tripartite is comprised of 22+ pieces. I debuted with only 16 of those pieces so as not to be overwhelming. I am working now to build out the rest of the line and expand upon certain categories like lighting, accessories, and upholstery. Furthermore, I am beginning the process of fleshing out Collection Nº2 which will use an all-new design language and fabrication technique/materials.
A new or forthcoming project we should know about: Alongside the debut of the second half of Collection Nº1 / Tripartite, I will be debuting a line of exhibition pieces—said pieces being limited-edition versions of current Collection Nº1 pieces made from more exotic materials and colorways. Look for that in early 2020.
What you absolutely must have in your studio: The largest selection of equipment and tools I can possibly gather. I am always trying out new concepts or ideas and not having a certain to get it started is such a drag. I constantly acquire equipment and tools for possible future needs.
What you do when you’re not working: Currently all I do is work! That is: design, engineer, fabricate and repeat. Hopefully that never changes.
Sources of creative envy: French designer Eugene Printz for his masterful understanding of exotic materials and construction techniques (particularly cabinetry)—the embodiment of what I strive to achieve.
The distraction you want to eliminate: Instagram.
Concrete or marble? I’m not interested in concrete for anything furniture-related. Marble occasionally.
High-rise or townhouse? Both are cool I suppose.
Remember or forget? Remember.
Aliens or ghosts? Tough call. Both have had such a profound effect on my life.
Dark or light? Mostly dark but light occasionally.