Jason Phillips grew up around the family business of furniture manufacturing and decorative accessories. This gave him the unique privilege of seeing and appreciating the world – globetrotting the continents of Asia, Europe and home United States and learning about foreign affairs, trade and commerce. At only 28 he has gained a international reputation for his fresh contemporary design. Currently you’ll find him working as Vice President and Creative Director of the family business ‘The Phillips Collection’ and he also continues to design for his own collection ‘Jason Phillips Design’.
1. If you made headline news what would the title be?
Furniture Designer Shapes New Perspectives on Design and Sustainability.
2. What would be the typical elements that define your work?
I describe my work as functional minimalism. With an education in Industrial Design I am forever trying to find the practical design solution. Materials, form, balance, structure, branding, marketing, creative approach …these are things I’ve been trained to think about. When I look at my portfolio, I see the key element is surprise. I want to work with materials in new ways, to exploit shapes or scale that people haven’t yet considered. This type of design requires an inner-confidence that I consider a driving force in my work.
3. Outline a typical brainstorming moment?
My best ideas come to me at 8am and 8pm. There’s probably a scientific reason for that! If something pops into my mind and I’m at my computer, I’ll open up my 3D software (Rhino) and begin digitally sculpting the idea. If I’m not at my desk the best thing I can do is email myself the idea. The first stage of my design process is personal. I work up rough ideas without outside influence. I then bring in my team, which includes my staff, other design professionals, and some friends and family with a great sense of design. They tell me what is working and not, and they help me confidently proceed in a design. But all brainstorming and processes are different. Sometimes an idea is so easy to implement that it takes literally minutes to get it off to the factory. Others take years to hone before they work. You know that feeling, when something is a good idea but you don’t know how to do it? I think a lot of designers struggle with that. You have to move on if you can’t solve it today, because in another year you will be much smarter and can take a fresh approach to the idea.
4. Who would be the designer you most strive to emulate career wise?
Probably Philippe Starck. There is humor but also hard work and passion in what he has done in his career. I often times wish I was more reclusive …like a Ron Arad. His body of work is equally impressive but he is very under the radar. Good design excites me and I want it to be visible.
5. What’s the work you are most proud of and why?
The designs that come from a moment of pure lucidity. When I am not trying to solve a problem but get an idea that grows organically. In that sense, my two most exciting tables are Continuum and Quantum. They are beautiful in form but also mathematical and scientific. I also like my humorous pieces like Tchotchke and Precipitation. That’s not to say I don’t get excited by my cleanest, most straightforward designs like Lloyd and Off Kilter. I find those pieces to be the most timeless. Those collections pay more attention to form, fit and finish than any other.
6. What do you find most irritating about your industry?
The lack of progression in the US. I see great things happening in Europe and Asia but here in the States we are still pushing the same old design. It’s like everyone wants a 1963 Ford! Why don’t we embrace new forms and technologies? Don’t young people strive to evolve from the way their parents look, dress, and furnish their homes? I’m not without hope though. I see the shift coming in the next decade, if not sooner. It is the job of talented young designers and progressive older designers to continue pushing forward-thinking design.
7. Does your underwear reflect your designer cool?
As of late, yes! I recently stepped it up to some pretty snazzy Calvin Klein briefs. I could go into more detail but I’ll spare everyone!
More info http://jasonphillipsdesign.prosite.com