5 Questions: Darin Montgomery
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BUILD touches base with local designer Darin Montgomery of urbancase.
[Image source: urbancase]
Darin is a self taught designer with a background in metalwork and sculpture. He is the founder and lead designer of urbancase and carries out each project with a maker’s approach to design. Recently, we checked in with Darin and his new line of designs.
1. Your work is based on the simple idea of creating objects that contribute to a simpler, pared back lifestyle. What led you to this philosophy of design?
It’s a personal as well as professional philosophy. I feel weighted down if I find myself with too many objects I don’t believe are useful. It’s relative, I know. Compared to some, I may have a lot. But to most, I don’t. My wife and I live in 520 square feet and, although we’re always looking for time outdoors, we never feel a need for more interior space. I believe in occupying a small footprint, but even small feet need comfortable, well made shoes.
2. How do different places in the world respond to your message of living well with less?
A buddy of mine is a restaurant owner and told me you leave yourself wide open with a tagline. It’s true. Most Americans that have commented on it agree, but the best response was from a group of Norwegians I met in our booth at ICFF last year. One of them picked up a postcard and when he read it, let out a sarcastic laugh. After sharing it with the rest of the group, they all had a good chuckle. I stood there with a blank look, wondering what the laughter was about. After talking to them for a moment, they told me it was funny I had to say, “we believe in living well with less.” For them, it’s a way of life and the need to verbalize it never occurred to them. We got on well.
3. Is necessity the mother of invention with your work?
I think our Cocktail Station and Sidebar says it all.
4. There’s a soft spot in our hearts for the Wallbanger Outdoor Cocktail Bar, and the cross on the front suggests that sometimes mixing a proper drink is, indeed, an emergency. Tell us how this design came to be.
We started with a few guidelines. It had to be functional, easy to clean, wall mounted, and compact. I also wanted to create the feeling that making a drink should be special, ritualistic, and away from the kitchen. Reaching for a bottle of whiskey where the breakfast cereal is kept just seems wrong. The cross occurred to me when I walked in one morning and saw the prototype on the wall. It looked like a first aid kit. It was very tongue in cheek, but the fact a cross is such a strong graphic made it a good choice to add interest to a simple box. And yes, some days having a drink is definitely an emergency.
5. What are some important design influences of your work?
I find the greatest influence comes from thoughtful, well made objects. Tools, utensils, luggage, and interesting transportation solutions are among my weaknesses. The ones I can talk about anyway.
For more on Darin and urbancase, check out their Facebook page.
Cheers from Team BUILD