What: Afternoon Tea with Gere Kavanaugh
When: Saturday, February 21, 2-4:00 pm
Where: CB2 Santa Monica
Now more modern than ever at age 85, Gere Kavanaugh was one of the trailblazing female designers of her time as the third woman to receive an MFA degree from Cranbrook Academy of Art.
Still prolific today, her work celebrates her passion for creating ingenious design from the simplest of materials—including our exclusive mood dinnerware, inspired by Kavanaugh’s archival designs dating back 30 years.
We look forward to sharing her other passions —tea and conversation—this Saturday.
It was April in 2012, at the Milan Salone, when CB2 was captivated by the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Whatnot exhibit. That collection showcased the talented team of professors and students at SAIC—about a 10-minute L train ride from CB2’s merchandising office.
After months of discussions, a 2-semester course for 12 students was envisioned with the end-goal of one product per student creating a collection that would be produced exclusively for CB2. In order to get it on the School’s calendar for students to opt into, the first class started over a year later in the Fall 2013 semester.
The course required two experienced professors—Jim TerMeer and Tim Parsons—
a teaching assistant, Carlos Ortega, supplies to realize and prototype concepts, and a lecture series created specifically for the students and presented by CB2’s diverse staff.
The class assignment came from the CB2 Merchandising team, who collaborated with the students and professors just as they do with established designers.
Ryan Turf, Managing Director, and Ali Williams, Senior Director of Business Operations and Strategy, kicked off day 1 talking about what it takes to run a home furnishings brand.
The professors knew time would be tight, so they had assigned homework 3-4 weeks in advance of the first class—students researched statistics and urban migration trends to create a presentation as a way to share fun facts as well as their views on the subject.
Armed with a solid and practical understanding of small space living, they moved to the conceptual side a few weeks later. So as they explored what a snail could teach them about nesting tables and hoarding squirrels inspired expandable storage containers, a true to scale 250sf apartment was created in the classroom from cardboard and sheet foam—complete with a kitchen and bathroom.
Many concepts were sketched and ideas floated, debated, enhanced, critiqued—all were voted on and the best ones moved into the protoyping stage.
Students learned presentation skills each time they met with CB2—from introducing initial concepts to demonstrating how hand-made full-size prototypes could actually work.
Some weeks the CB2 team would visit the school to see how concepts were progressing—other times, the class would meet at the CB2 offices.
Final drawings were delivered at the end of the semester in early December 2013, and they were immediately sent off for sampling with high hopes they would be selected for this Spring 2015 assortment.
While the students enjoyed winter break, factory-made prototypes were being created and a second round was shipped to Chicago—incorporating feedback from CB2’s buyers after their initial review.
Classes resumed at the end of January and the lecture series continued, including conversations on marketing, visual merchandising, catalogs and eCommerce. As soon as the samples arrived, everyone worked fast, furiously and collaboratively to confirm final details so production could get started to meet delivery deadlines.
In the end, each student submitted a concept that became a reality for the Design Collab No.1—space saving furniture and accessories. Textiles which reference the square footage of floor plans, an ultra-thin energy-efficient LED pendant, a room divider with over 200 hooks to store or display, and a jewelry cabinet hidden behind a wall mirror are just a few products from the collection.
Alex studied designed objects and fine arts at SAIC. He is a designer and artist who is inspired by the act of working with his hands.Alex loves to explore and immerse himself in new types of craft and different methods of design work.
Appealing to human curiosity and magnetism toward delightful objects and situations, Arianna focuses on open-ended and interactive designs.Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, Arianna studied Art History at Tulane University in New Orleans, later moving to New York to work in art and design. She started a jewelry line, Overdot, which is based on reconfigurable pairings of simple geometries.
Brooke focuses on the simple gestures that happen between people and objects.She explores the relationship of digital technology and traditional techniques, merging them to achieve elegant solutions that shatter expectations.
In 2014 she exhibited her work in the Guerrilla Truck Show in Chicago.
Camille likes to look at how people interact with others via the objects around them.Valuing multifunctionality and customization, she treats design as a medium to communicate with the world. Camille spends time between Chicago and San Francisco with a four-legged companion known as Texas Rex.
MDes, Designed Objects, 2015
With a background in psychology and a knack for technology, Chester evokes a sense of wonder and play through his work. He believes design must be both functional and fun.Chester likes to explore modularity and multifunctionality in forms ranging from furniture to toys.
Jacob strives to evoke enhanced sensory reactions to otherwise mundane objects and spaces. His designs catalyze moments of marvel, comfort, and curiosity through formal gestures and material applications.Jacob studied interiors and furniture in Copenhagen, worked in fashion branding and retail interiors, and founded the fashion publication, Armour.
Josh’s work aims to achieve a precise and highly deliberate form that provides a gratifying and considered daily experience. His designed objects are genuine, clean, and simple—striving to satisfy the hand and reveal their true qualities upon interaction.Josh mixes digital technology and time-honored, hand-crafted traditions, using honest and straightforward materials that are never hidden or over complicated. He has exhibited his work at the Sullivan Galleries and the Guerrilla Truck Show in Chicago.
With a background in ceramics and woodworking, Kathie strives to improve people’s lives a little bit at a time by creating objects that challenge perceptions and evoke curiosity.She uses subtle forms and alluring materiality to captivate users and develop emotional appeal. Kathie also holds a BFA in Art and Design from the University of Michigan.
Born and raised in South Korea, Nayeon attempts to provoke emotional connections by integrating cultural differences into her designs.Informed by people’s behaviors, her work focuses on users’ observations of and relationships with space. She also has a BFA in Spatial Design from Hongik University in Seoul.
Designed Object for CB2:
deep dish table and set of two cushions
Through his work, Tim seeks to create authentic objects across all modes of production in an increasingly commoditized world—always striving to design in a way that complements the richness of human interaction.With professional experience in finance and retail, Tim also earned a BA in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley.
MDes, Designed Object, 2015
Zach’s works harness and transform natural phenomena into instruments, objects, interfaces, and design processes which aim to delight, surprise, anticipate, and communicate.With forms inspired by his experience in mathematical paper-folding and pop-up bookmaking, his designs feature kinetic elements, optical effects, and complex mechanisms. Zach is also a graduate of the University of Chicago’s Linguistics and Computer Science departments and he has served as a faculty member in SAIC’s Continuing Studies program. He has lectured on design, parametric approaches, paper-folding, animation, and digital art.
Designed Object for CB2:
tonic bar cart
Thanks to alicia, senior director of marketing, for this submission.