Phillips: My design process is best understood when you look at a day in my life. I follow a bunch of different blogs — not just on design, but on automobiles and luxury travel — where I get a richness of new ideas. I equate it to flipping through magazines. It’s revolutionary. It’s like my own personal encyclopedia, updated daily, hourly — Karim Rashid’s new overseas project, the new Louis Vuitton fall collection — it’s all very exciting.
I’m a minimalist. I’m taking detail out of my design — taking out the frou frou and letting it sit on the laurels of good proportions. But I’m 26 years old, so I’d hate to think I’ve figured it all out. If people know me, it’s not because of a specific trademark look, but for being clean, young and innovative.
I do a lot of 3-D work, so it’s easy for me to take a concept, map it out and build it three-dimensionally on the computer. By nature, the computer renderings are clean, sterile, straight and perfect. So, I need to have the feeling that a hand touched it. Imperfections are encouraged. We want our customers to know that each design is not going to be mass-produced.
One of my favorites is Whirl [media center, pictured]. To me, it’s an iconic piece in that it puts a stamp in your mind. You turn a corner, and it just jumps at you. The design is clean, minimalist and contemporary. It uses repetition of simple forms, which I have found people like. It uses sustainable materials, and so in that sense it’s durable. It has a materials consciousness and a sense of balance of form and proportion. Then, there’s the “intelligence” of how it collapses into four smaller pieces.
One of my floor lamps is called Cocoon [shown here as a pair]. I was on Google Images looking at earrings for inspiration. I saw a beautiful hammered gold piece that was turned in on itself like a burrito. It was just gorgeous, and a floor lamp came to my mind. I figured if I added gold leaf on the inside and outside, added a lamp and left a small opening, you’d get illumination and wonderful reflections and shadows cast on the walls. I married it proportionately to a telescoping base, which adjusts from 56 inches to 76 inches. So, it’s made to fit the space.
I love lighting because you’ve got an extra dimension. You’re using light as a material. You can bend it. You can color it. You can play with it. I’m fascinated with chandeliers, so you might be seeing some chandeliers from me in the next year.