Donald Judd’s New York City home and studio is at 101 Spring Street in Soho. Preserved as a permanent installment of how Judd lived, the building showcases many of the concepts infused in his art. Everything from the architectural details, to the art, to the furniture, to the cutlery is considered.
Accompanying us on the trip were the Danny Giannella and Tammer Hijazi from the furniture and product design company Bower. The work of Bower shares much of the same sensibility and thought processes throughout the work of Donald Judd, so we decided to interview Danny and Tammer in the context of the trip.
How would you describe your body of work?
We design and produce contemporary furniture, lighting, and products. Our work connects with people on very basic levels through bold geometric forms, interactive playfulness, and mixed materials.
What would you say your strongest skill is and how have you honed it?
Our strongest skill can also be our most challenging step in our design process. It’s having the ability to strip away everything that’s getting in the way of the focus of an object. It’s giving the object a clear voice that’s both unique and natural. We want our objects to be surprising yet self-evident.
Who or what was your biggest single influence on your way of thinking?
People design things that are good, or bad, or so-so. Nature designs things that are right. That is something to strive for, and is always in the back of our minds while designing. Serving a function purpose is just one quality, beauty is another. These are easy things to accomplish. They usually consist of imposing yourself on an object. Making something feel right is giving the object a life of it’s own.
What is a place that has influenced or inspired you in the past? How?
Plant stores are really inspiring, especially the succulent area. They have such clear defined forms that expose these complex mathematical patterns. There’s a perfect blend of organic nuance and structured order that is influential to our work.
What stood out to you the most on the trip?
In the middle of Judd’s work room, there was a massive aluminum open box just sitting there. It’s one thing to see such an object in a gallery or museum, but it was surreal to see it in someone’s living space. We learned that it was craned in through the window. I imagined him lying inside of it, thinking up new surreal thoughts, or maybe thinking about what to cook for dinner downstairs.
What commonalities did you see with your own work and Judd Foundation?
Although Judd was neurotically purposeful with every detail of his home, it was a warm and peaceful space to be in. Similarly, we strive for our finished pieces to seem clean and effortless despite the fact that there was probably a whole lot of messy work behind them. We also strive to have a similar instant reaction time that Judd’s work and home has. You only have to look at it for a second to get a feeling from it. It doesn’t take much analyzing to “get” it.
What did you notice during the trip that you aren't sure others noticed?
We got real excited when we noticed a shadow being cast on the wall from a glass cube. To us, the object’s shadow was much more interesting than the object itself. It got us buzzing with ideas, a few of which are in development today.
Can you give a recommendation of something you've been into recently?
Diversifying your meals. It’s been getting pretty repetitive around the studio with our limited food options, so in a recent effort to break the routine, we’ve been branching out. We recommend trying something you’ve never eaten before…it could change your life.
Bower is a contemporary design studio based in New York City founded by Danny Giannella and Tammer Hijazi in 2013. Through a free experimental design process they bring unique and unexpected objects into people's lives. Tammer and Danny love finding intriguing characteristics in anything from plants and animals, to toys from their childhood and dreaming up completely different functional applications for them, often ending up with delightfully surprising results. This process is their happy place, experimenting and exploring a detail that has caught their interest without being sure how it will manifest itself in the end. The spirit of discovery in Danny and Tammer's process lives though their objects and is felt when people engage with a Bower design.