We started in 2008 with just a vintage online shop selling our favorite finding from thirft stores and estate sales. We then became part of JOIN Design Seattle and created some new pieces together (i.e. Alphabrass series and Mega-Doily rugs) for few of the design shows in Seattle simply on the side. This is when we came to realize the potential of designing our own things and having our own studio. In 2010 after taking a slip casting class, we came out with our first design product of the chalkable piggy bank where we carried it from start to finish and still produce now.
What inspires your designs?
CULTURE & HISTORY: We especially like seeing everyday things that are specifically created based on highly specalized purpose or with resources that define the lifestyle at a specific place or time. Whether it's a beautiful bamboo tea whisk for Japanese tea ceremonies developed centuries ago or some toaster just for making hot dogs from last year's Sky Mall catalog, I feel like either of those things are equally fascinating (in how they came to realize) and it say more about the culture's values than anything else.
SEEING HOW PEOPLE LIVE: Anywhere and at any point in time its always inspiring to see how people live and what they surround themselves with. We love visiting people's creative spaces or even checking out estate sales to get a glimpse into how people lived.MATERIALS: We are suckers for material samples...and LOVE dorky things like swatch books! (ooh la la) We have piles of them randomly spread around the house. We believe in materials used in ways that highlight their natural qualities...to a level of honesty that enhances the product's value and usability over time.
What's your process like?
For better or worse, we structure our studio around our life and our life around our studio. What's nice about that is that we're able to let our ideas develop slowly over time. This allows inspiration to come from things we own or encounter on a daily basis. Our most recent work (Segment Necklace, Perimeter Tray, and Cylinder Shakers) was inspired by a vintage set of wooden building blocks as well as material samples for our kitchen remodel in using vintage brass handles on wood cabinets.
One really important element in our studio/house is that over time we've installed our walls with more and more open shelves, which now covers about 75% of all our wall space! The open shelves functions like our brainstorming bulletin board where we display our favorite findings from thrifting and traveling, books we collected, photos we've taken, materials we like, etc. By seeing them on a daily biases, they remind ourselves of the things that inspires us the most.
In terms of our design process: Our process is as direct as it can be. When we have an idea, we would start talking about it, which 99% of the time leads to us sketching it out on paper of all forms such as on napkins, junk mail letters, cardboard, scarp piece of wood, and even attempted to sketch on tissue paper (that didn't work so well..)
There's usually involves a lot of back and forth between us (and yes, has lead to arguments!). But we try to stay really objective in make our decisions.
We're both super hands-on people, so if we get to an idea we both believe in, we then move forward with making mini models to see them in real life to play with physical materials and proportions, which is an integral part of the process for us that goes further than using 3D modeling programs. Being able to explore and play is a big part of it all, so there are many points in time, where our house would end up looking like someone robbed our place with materials of all sorts, scraps, tools, and random models covering our entire living room floor.How is it working together?
When developing a product, we work really closely with each other. There's 50-50 contribution to most products, which is good and bad. We're pretty upfront with each other about if we like an idea or not (we have to be), which occasionally leads to extended days of debate and rework...a bit stressful, but in the end the ideas that survive are stronger and we're both mutually excited about the direction.
For the other aspects of the business, we divide the responsibilities according to our strengths. Jean's the main force behind our marketing and PR, Dylan handles the majority of the production, but there still remains a lot of overlap in all the categories, which works well for us.What household items can you not live without?
I think we feel the biggest connection with staple kitchen items so we use them the most...Japanese knives, vintage cast iron Le Crueset frying pans, Chemex coffee pot, vintage enameled steel tea kettle, old-school rice cooker, and of all things our well-used toaster oven...I think over 80% of the food/drinks we consume touches at least one of these items.Dreaming of...
Dylan: Diesel Mercedes Wagon: to replace our previously totaled one caused by a hit and run! :(What's your ideal living situation?
We currently live and work in the same location. It has it's pluses and minuses, but ideally, we'd like a separate studio for our work...and that work space ideally would be an open loft where we can subdivide the space for an office and shop.....and of course...floor-to-ceiling open shelves!
Bigger picture, our dream is to mix travel with work and be more flexible about our location while still maintaining L&G Studio in some capacity. Exactly how we're going to fulfill that dream is still in the works...What's next for L&G?
We're working on expanding the L&G line to more furniture and lighting. Beyond that, our goal is to somehow incorporate travel into our work. We're extremely inspired by other locations and think a mutually beneficial relationship can exist between our travel lust and our desire to create. Also we need to do a major purge of all our stuff (perhaps a spring open studio/garage sale!)
THANKS SO MUCH JEAN AND DYLAN!