A Paper Architect's Home Studio

Lifework

Architect Karen O'Leary creates fully realized cities every day without a single brick or beam. Her cities can be seen in hotels, retail stores, restaurants, and books -- and on her online store, StudioKMO, naturally. How? Karen's cities and towns are actually mind-blowing, meticulous, hand-cut paper maps and ink drawings. In her own words, a map is "more than just a navigational tool, it also tells a story." In this week's Playlist, Karen provides a little bit of her story. Take a listen.

What do you listen to while you work?
I usually listen to old favorites. A lot of Jack Johnson, Ben Harper, Jose Gonzalez.

How do you listen?
If I'm at my drafting table cutting a map, I often listen to my iPod with headphones. It allows me to concentrate a bit more. If I'm writing emails or packaging orders, I listen to music on my MacBook.

Do you have any favorite music websites/providers?
I sometimes listen to LastFM.com.

Does music influence your work?
The music I listen to is often nostalgic. It reminds me of certain times in my life and I find myself reflecting on how fortunate I am. In that way, my music is often like the maps I create. They are both mementos of where we've been and where we're going. Almost like souvenirs of favorite moments and favorite places in our lives.

What song or artist best represents the work you create?
My favorite musician is Ben Harper. His music and my artwork are both original creations that evolve over time and are created with hard work and dedication.

Ideal place to sit and listen to your playlist:
The Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman in the creamy white leather and walnut veneer. It's modern, luxurious, and the perfect place to reflect and create.

Karen’s Playlist:
1. In the Colors, Ben Harper
2. Girl on Fire, Alicia Keys
3. I Will Wait, Mumford & Sons
4. Heartbeats, Jose Gonzalez
5. Someone Like You, Adele
6. You Are the Best Thing, Ray LaMontagne
7. What You Thought You Need, Jack Johnson
8. Home, Phillip Phillips
9. One More Night, Maroon 5
10. Where I’m Going, The Nadas

(Images: Karen O'Leary)

lifework2012-02-22 at 2.10.00 PM.jpgRepublished in partnership with Herman Miller Lifework. Originally posted by Jamie Latendresse.