Designer and Product Developer Martha Alvarez

Lifework

With an affinity for playing and experimenting with raw materials, designer and product developer Martha Alvarez specializes in ceramics, but that's hardly all. From clay to computer, her work rolls between the physical and the digital -- in her inherited Mirra Chair no less ("I love it ... the Mirra is perfect for this," she says) -- where Martha also does stage design, product design, and photography. This eclectic range of creativity yields an equally eclectic and enjoyable set of songs for this week's Playlist.

What do you listen to while you work?
At work, I have four coworkers and we all play our music at some point of the day. (For this music selection, I tried to be more sober and include music that I think my coworkers will like.) We mostly listen pop, indie rock, and hip-hop. (This last one is my fault).
When I work on my personal projects at my studio or at the ceramic shop, I listen to a very large selection of music. I could blast salsa on my headphones one day and the next one be listening 90′s pop, I guess it depends on my mood.

How do you listen?
At my day job, I use the computer speakers just because we like sharing our music with each other. At my studio and the shop, I use some red headphones my brother gave to me on my 24th birthday. All of my working spaces are shared, but I'm sure that if I had my own I would be using very loud speakers.

Do you have any favorite music websites/providers?
The Fader, NPR, RCRDLBL, Grooveshark, YouTube.

Does music influence your work?
Yes it does. When I was working on my totem (a stackable planter), I sculpted the model while listening to music with my headphones. At the beginning when I needed to do all the hard work -- basically beating down a lot of material until I had the overall shape -- I was listening to Calle 13. While the process was going on, the music I was listening to was changing. It took me about two months and by the end, I was listening to Prince.

Where do you find music recommendations? Who influences your musical taste?
I find them at blogs, Twitter, and the radio. I am also constantly sharing music with my friends and my brother via Dropbox.

What song or artist best represents the work you create?
Shadowboxer by Fiona Apple.

Ideal place to sit and listen to your playlist:
The Eames Molded Plywood Lounge Chair with Wood Base in Red Aniline Stained Birch Veneer Seat and Back. It's comfortable and robust, yet beautiful. A modern classic that will always stand out.

MARTHA’S PLAYLIST:
1. Get Free, Major Lazer
2. Your Voice, Santogold
3. Milk and Honey, Prince Fatty
4. You Don’t Love Me (No No No), Dawn Penn
5. Man Down, Rihanna
6. My Boo, Inoj
7. Trick Me, Kelis
8. Frontin’, Pharrel Williams
9. Girl Like You, Snoop Dog
10. Hypnotize, Notorious B.I.G.
11. It Was a Good Day, Ice Cube

(Images: Martha Alvarez)

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