Jury-GRANDS PRIX DU DESIGN / Published on January 13, 2021
Venice Beach, California, United States
PROUST QUESTIONNAIRE – PEOPLE OF DESIGN VERSION!
What prescient youthful memory relates to your present career?
When my brother and I were little, my parents would drop us off at the beach to babysit ourselves all day. We had boardshorts and enough money for a snack, and otherwise, not much else. It was up to us what we did all day – we would run around, bury each other in the sand, bodysurf, and generally get into trouble. I used to think about how the time passes and you can either sit on the beach bored, or learn about the word around you, investigate, and have fun!
In a lot of ways this is Emeco. There are already chairs in the world. People are not clamoring for chairs. So how do we make chairs as a practice of finding play, of problem solving micro-architectural and environmental solutions, and stay out of trouble just enough.
What project launched your career?
I was twenty-two years old when I saw the Emeco Factory for the first time. My dad and I were working on a variety of projects and we came to the factory to see what kind of promise it had. I fell in love with everything about it- the machines that were older than I was, the craftsmen, and especially the Navy Chair. I didn’t buy Emeco until twenty years later, and began the project that launched and still is my career.
Gregg at the factory
Any music playing while you work?
Every morning I walk into my office and flip on the Radio. It is always on the classical station, to varying degrees of volume.
What past designer/architect inspires you the most?
I love his quote
“When I am working on a problem I never think about beauty. I only think about how to solve the problem. But when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong.”
To me this is how we should think at Emeco. How do we make something strong, durable, and at the end it will be beautiful.
How are your country of belonging’s values reflected in your work?
America is not known in the same way it used to, and I like to think that Emeco reflects the inspiring parts of our country.
We are engineers and innovators, changing the status quo about the way things are done. We work hard, believe in the value of hand craft, and care deeply about the impact we have.
Photo: Frank Gehry-Superlight
City: Playa Vista, CA USA
Descriptive sentence: I have always been a huge fan of Frank Gehry and the way his mind works. We had so much fun working on the superlight chair- pictured behind me.
What always inspire you ?
|Photo : Every Friday Morning, by Rick Kinnan
Year : 2020, Ville : Venice CA, USA
Description : The Friday AM crew- me, my daughter, and good friend Brian Murphy Rain or shine!
Every Friday morning I drive from Long Beach up to Venice and pick up my daughter around 5:30am. We drive up PCH to our dear friend, Brian Murphy’s architecture office, which is much more of a surf shack than office.
Wetsuits donned, we sneak our longboards out around the cardboard models and down the street, under the tunnel, across the beach, and out to the ocean just in time for sunrise. The weeks lately have been long, but regardless of the wave quality, paddling in a glassy ocean along the coast eases any weights I may be carrying. As long as we have that, nothing really matters.
What is your favorite place in the world?
There is a small island off the coast of Los Angeles, called Catalina Island. Starting when I was a kid, we would sail over and spend our days diving, cliff-jumping, and swimming around the beautiful coves.
While one side has definitely become more developed- we have carved out our own life that was just about the same 40 years ago, and we go back quite frequently. It has been magical to get to bring my now grown children to the same place I loved, and watch them discover it for themselves as well. It’s an easy trip from LA and still feels like a world away from the noise and air pollution of the city. A great reminder to take care of our precious environment.
Gregg in the island of Catalina
What design or architecture project do you wish you would have thought of yourself?
The Navy Chair! I remember when we were working with Ettore Sottsass, he said the same thing: Out of all of the beautiful pieces he had made over the course of his lifetime, he wished he had designed the Emeco Navy Chair.
For ME, and for many, it is the perfect cross of form and function– a chair that will outlive you, made from scrap material, and liftable with one pinky. It’s beautiful, but understated, something that I feel very few objects accomplish.
What is your mantra?
We are so lucky
City: London UK
Descriptive sentence: The aim for this chair was to determine how light and strong we could make it- like a renewed version of the 10-06.