1. Where did you grow up in your formative years? How much has location and environment influenced you as a designer?
Rebecca grew up in Waitara Taranaki, Tim on the North Shore of Auckland. Very different environments and backgrounds but we both shared a love of the outdoors, a passion for surfing and a desire to make a difference through whatever we chose to do for our work
2. To what extent is the way you work and the work you produced inspired by your immediate environment and your past experience?
Ultimately we are made up of our past experiences but what drives us forward is our capacity to take on new experiences and knowledge. We constantly draw from our existing skill sets but we strive to integrate these with new knowledge, new technologies, new materials and new inspiration.
3. How did you get to where you are right now? Did you always think you would be, and did you plan to be doing what you are, or has your career trajectory been a bit less predictable?
Designtree was formed as an umbrella brand where Rebecca and Tim could collaborate on a range of different creative projects. It also was envisioned that other designers would become involved and we could work with a range of designers in various fields.
We’ve recently set up a shared workshop space encompassing 5 creative’s working in various disciplines. Within this creative space Designtree currently has 2 part time staff and an intern all of whom bring a fresh perspectives to the studio. We are also starting to work with other designers in various capacities which is exciting.
Although getting to our current position has not been a straight trajectory, we’re definitely hitting a few of the targets we made a few years ago as well as defining some new ones
4. Albert Einstein once said 'If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?’ Do you agree? What does your workspace look like?
Different people in the Designtree Studio work in different ways. Although we tend to work with samples, drawings and various items helpful to the design process around us, we tend to keep workspaces relatively ordered. This can of course go out the window in times of crisis.
5. In your opinion and in your work, what are the most important design principles?
Designtree's mission is to create beautiful experiences, through objects that are designed well and made to be well-loved.
6. What do you enjoy the most about your work?
Many aspects of the day to day work are enjoyable. Different members of the team enjoy different areas of the business. Concept development and prototyping are high on the list though.
7. Do you have a favourite piece of work that you have produced? Tell us about it.
The Frankie collection is possibly our favourite Designtree work to date. The primary object in the collection is the Frankie Pendant light. Rebecca had been using the recycled PET acoustic panel in her Nectar range which was released in 2011. The Frankie collection was the first collection we collaborated together on and the Frankie Pendant draws elements from both of our signature styles into a cohesive new direction.
The Frankie Pendant was released in 2013 after a year of development along with the other pieces in the range. The 2 main innovations in the design were the lamps ability to improve the acoustics in spaces reducing reverberated sound and controlling background noise through the faceted shape and (at that time) novel material choice.
The other feature we are particularly proud of is the flat pack modular nature of the lamp system and its ability to be extended in length to provide lighting over long tables, bars or down hallways. This system is also something we had not seen before.
We’ve recently developed some new modules which will allow the lamp to wrap around corners and form various geometric shapes.
8. What do you aspire to as a designer?
Designtree is excited about working on some larger commercial projects in 2015. We also see the need to develop some smaller products and this is currently in the pipeline. We are looking to start working with other kiwi designers to create more of a cohesive NZ design community. We’re also working hard to improve the skills of the DT-TTT (Designtree Table Tennis Team when time allows.
The material and shape make it particularly ideal for use in café’s, bars, reception areas where background noise and echo are problems, and where a flexible modular system is desirable.