• US@UO: UO Home Furniture Design

    We talk to UO Home designers Billy Bausback and Tim Scott about their newest platform bed designs and where they drew their inspiration.
    Photos by Colin Kerrigan

    Can you tell us a little bit about your processes for designing the beds?
    BB: The design process is usually a little different for every piece. Sometimes an idea just comes to you right away, and sometimes it evolves over time. I usually begin by sketching so that I can get my ideas down on paper. We have a ton of material swatches around us, so I like to look for woods, fabrics, textures, etc., that feel appropriate for whatever I'm designing. It always helps to have an idea of what the piece will actually be made out of before bringing it into the computer. 

    Tim and I always work together to make sure that all of the pieces we're designing sit together as a collection and feel really cohesive. After figuring out the general ideas, we move over to the computer and begin working in 3D modeling software. I really love this stage because it starts to bring the design to life, and allows you to work out the kinks that you don’t initially see during the sketch phase. 

    After all of the sketching is over, and the designs have been signed off on, we put together technical drawings and specs, which are sent over to our factories to begin making samples. We will typically see one or two samples of a piece over the course of a few months, and make some tweaks to ensure that the design is the best it can possibly be. Around a year after the sketching for a design starts, it gets produced and goes onto our website and into our stores. It's definitely a long process, but so exciting to see the pieces come to life.

    TS: Each season we work conceptually for about a month or so, visualizing dozens of designs for furniture, lighting, and storage pieces. We basically start by just sketching the stuff we're excited about, and when the right ideas emerge we continue to refine them through computer modeling and rendering. Lots of attention is paid not only to the form and function of each piece but also to their relationship to one another, and how they feel as a body of work. 

    The ultimate goal during this phase is to end up with groupings of product that all feel like they work together. It's not long before we have a handful of unique and original ideas that we can expand on to form collections. The Luka Bed was designed along with the Otto Stacking Stool and Hugo Side Table. All three of these pieces seem like they're from the same family, as they all share the same natural maple finish and round dowel leg.

    Above: Billy's Eloisa Carved Wood Platform Bed

    Can you tell us a little bit more about what inspired your design for your bed? 
    BB: The Philadelphia Museum of art has an amazing room filled with sculpture by Constantin Brancusi. It’s definitely one of my favorite spaces in Philadelphia. I’ve always been inspired by his work and looked at a lot of his forms while designing the Eloisa Carved Wood Platform Bed. I wanted the bed to have a very sculptural quality, so it was a great starting place. I also wanted to highlight the fact that this bed is hand-made and hand-carved in India, so I chose Mango wood which is native to the region and has a really beautiful grain that varies from piece to piece. It really makes each bed feel really unique. 

    TS: The Luka Dowel Bed is one of my first designs for the Home team, and is part of a small furniture collection I worked on for Spring '17. One of the influences for this design was Japanese style furniture, which tends to combine simply constructed forms with clean, natural materials.

    Where did you pull your inspiration from?  
    BB: Pinterest, Tumblr, blogs and Instagram are always great places to start, but I also pull a lot from what I see out in the world. I do a lot of vintage shopping in my free time and love finding weird little gems with cool techniques that I’ve never tried before. I’ve also had the opportunity to travel overseas to see the factories where our products are made. It’s always so inspiring to see all of the amazing materials and techniques that the craftsman who make our products use and are capable of. 

    TS: Inspiration comes from a lot of places, and sometimes it can be tough to pinpoint the exact origin of an idea. Some of it comes from books, websites, museums, galleries, flea markets, etc. We're constantly exposing ourselves to what's going on and what's been done in the worlds of art and design, and thinking about how we can can align our work with current trends while keeping it fresh and original.

    What do you hope to design more of in the future? Any specific references or ideas that you’d like to build on? 
    BB: Recently, we've been working on some designs that use some really exciting new materials and techniques that we've never tried before. Everything has a very modern aesthetic which I love, and can't wait to continue pushing this in the future. 

    We've also been really focused on how our customer lives, and have been working on pieces that are meant for small-space living. My boyfriend and I live in a city apartment, and are always struggling to find pieces that maximize our space, so this has definitely been something that I've had a personal passion for. Working at UO has been so great, because they have always been so supportive of our team. It's amazing to work for a company that pushes your creativity and encourages you think outside of the box. 

    Above: Tim's Luka Wood Platform Bed

    TS: What's most exciting to me about our work on the home team is that we don't just focus on one thing; we get to work on all sorts of products for different lifestyles. That said, it's awesome to get to design furniture pieces I would actually want to have in my own house. The clean, minimal, modern aesthetic is what I love most.

    Above: Greta Reclining Legless Sofa

    Do you have any other designs out currently that you’re super excited about?
    BB: This season, we worked on a modern collection with a few pieces that I really love. One, in particular, is called the Kimball Sling Chair. It has a simple metal frame with a hand-woven macrame sling as the seat. The patterning on the macrame is very graphic, and I love how all of the colors work so well together. Another favorite is the Halvar Side Table. I was really interested in using sheet acrylic as a material, and wanted to design a piece that could easily pack flat, and have minimal assembly. I think that the end result turned out great, and seeing the cool shadows this makes when the sun shines through it was definitely a fun surprise.

    TS: One of my favorite designs so far is the Sarah Slatted Bed, which I actually own myself. Like the Luka Bed, it's simple in its form, construction, and materials, but maybe leans a little more towards a bohemian look. Another one I like a lot is the Toucan Lamp (seen above) I worked on for Summer. It's wild and fun!

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