Before they were designers, and before they created their own design studio in 2006, John Arndt and Wonhee Jeong Ardt were doing other things. John, a Wisconsin native, was a potter, sculptor, and cabinet maker. Wonhee, originally from Seoul, Korea, was also a sculptor. Realizing they were designers as well, they founded StudioGorm in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and have since relocated to Eugene, Oregon. Crafting and constructing in their workshop, the duo produce smart, comfortable designs -- the kinds of things you develop a familiarity and intimacy with. For us, they've crafted this week's Playlist, giving us a chance to explore their work's musical accompaniment and the space they work in...
What do you listen to while you work?
Our tastes are pretty eclectic, from pop to classical to country, and a variety of other stuff.
How do you listen?
We have some crumby old computer speakers we got years ago, but they actually sound pretty decent. Normally we plug in our iPhone or listen through the computer.
Sometimes we use headphones. I have a pair of Peltor hearing protection that I modified with some inexpensive headphones and a microphone jack. The super insulation makes them sound great, I use these in workshop. Wonhee uses a pair of standard apple earbuds in the workshop.
Does music influence your work?
I don't know if there is a direct visible influence, but I think sometimes good design is like a well-crafted song. It has an emotional impact on you, and its impression can stick with you for a long time. As a thing it is self contained and compact and yet influences the environment around it.
Where do you find music recommendations? Who influences your musical taste?
I have a good friend who runs the San Francisco-based concert finder called Bandega. He makes mixed CD's a few times a year and we are fortunate to be one of the people on the receiving end. Mostly indy stuff, but we get a lot of our new music from him. We used to listen to Sounds Eclectic by Nick Harcourt, a radio show that used to run out of LA, unfortunately it is no longer on the air but you can still listen to old shows. They would play a lot of new releases and then bring in bands for in-studio sessions.
What song or artist best represents the work you create?
That is a tough one, but I think it would be something simple, comfortable, a little nostalgic but very much present and just a little goofy at times but doesn't really get old. Maybe Belle and Sebastian would be a good comparison.
"We have a lovely [vintage] green blue Eames molded side chair that we bought for a dollar at a city auction. It probably was in a school or office somewhere, there is still old gum under the seat."
Ideal place to sit and listen to your playlist:
The Eames Aluminum Group Lounge Chair with Seed Bingo Fabric and an ottoman. It's a good place to get comfortable and be bit introspective. Or maybe the Eames Sofa Compact, with the grey Divina fabric, so you can share it with someone else.
Studio Gorm’s Playlist:
1. For the Price of a Cup of Tea, Belle and Sebastian
2. Charmed Life, The Divine Comedy
3. Ravel: Jeux D’Eau, Sviatoslav Richter
4. God Made the Automobile, Iron and Wine
5. Knotty Pine, David Byrne and Dirty Projectors
6. Blue Ridge Mountain, Fleet Foxes
7. Haydn: Piano Sonata #60 In C, H 16/50 – 1. Allegro, Sviatoslav Richter
8. Emmylou, First Aid Kit
9. I Wish I Was the Moon, Neko Case
10. So Far Around the Bend, The National
11. Animal, Miike Snow
12. Another Sunny Day, Belle and Sebastian
(Images: John Arndt)
Republished in partnership with Herman Miller Lifework. Originally posted by Amy Jamie Latendresse.