Photo by Loll Designs

Greg Benson is the chief lollygagger (i.e. founder) at the Duluth, Minnesota company Loll Designs, a business, making outdoor furniture with recycled plastic, with a storied beginning. The company comes from the dust of TrueRide, a skate park and design build firm that designed, built, and installed more than 450 custom skateboard parks around the world. In 2003, Benson founded Loll Designs as a way to utilize the excess skate ramp materials into unique and modern outdoor furniture that’s designed and made in the USA. Sitting at the helm of the company means working on everything from design to customer service and everything in between, sounding as though he’s anything but a lollygagger. For this week’s Friday Five, let’s see what keeps this outdoorsy creative continually inspired.

Friday Five with Greg Benson of Loll Designs in main home furnishings  Category

1. Drift Eyewear
I have been wearing eyeglasses most of my life and I have never been someone who could wear the same pair for 10 year increments. As a USA manufacturer I always consider where something is made. I found Drift by chance at a local eyewear store in Duluth, Minnesota and besides the retro modern style it turns out they are made in Chicago and I was sold. Drift’s surprisingly simple offering of frame styles with different temples made of real wood creates just enough of a choice to feel like you have some input in the outcome of the frame. Delivered in a custom wood box and a felt case made by Winter Session (also made in the USA) add to the overall specialness of these glasses. When you have to wear something on your face you want everything to at least feel like it’s you.

Friday Five with Greg Benson of Loll Designs in main home furnishings  Category

Photo courtesy of Fritz Hansen

2. PK24 from Fritz Hansen
As a furniture designer and manufacturer I spend a lot of time studying furniture. Mostly I am drawn to midcentury pieces because so much of the furniture from that era stands out as moving away superbly from traditional design. While there are so many great designers, Danish designer Poul Kjaerholm‘s work really resonates with me. His mix of materials and elegant thinness of frames and seating components all just look exactly like they ought to be. Even his PK naming and numbering system speaks to the directness of what he was achieving. I also appreciate what must have been a profound interest in lounging.

Friday Five with Greg Benson of Loll Designs in main home furnishings  Category

3. SoundCloud
Rather than just saying that I am inspired and moved by music every day, I think it would be more meaningful to share one slice of my music pie called SoundCloud. SoundCloud is an online music site that shares uploaded music and audio tracks to everyone for free. I like to search for remixes of songs like the Dennis-M Doors remix of Riders on the Storm which mixes something I have literally heard all my life. Or a song like this Scumfrog Mix that I personally experienced on the Playa in front of the Robot Heart at Burning Man. Where else are you going to find that? I can’t think of a better way to spend some time when you’re lazy and you only want to listen to music on headphones but still be interactive with your thumbs. There is also a really cool visual sound wave graph of the song that can help you anticipate what’s coming up musically or just give you something more to think about. You can also sign in and save your favorites so the songs are always there ready to go, and of course there is an app that makes it all right at your fingertips. Check it out.

Friday Five with Greg Benson of Loll Designs in main home furnishings  Category

4. Burton Custom X Snowboard
I just can’t get enough of my Burton Custom X snowboard. No, really, I can’t! It’s one of those things in your life that you can bring into the living room, prop it up against the wall, and take furtive glances at its beauty while listening to SoundCloud (I initially started doing this with my first mountain bike sans SoundCloud). Obviously the best part is how you can lock into it and cruise down a mountain carving turns and going fast, duh. I guess it’s snowboarding in general that I really love but it just wouldn’t be the same without this righteous board. Thanks, Burton. Shred the gnar!

Friday Five with Greg Benson of Loll Designs in main home furnishings  Category

Photo via Plastiki on Flickr

5. Plastiki
We make products from reclaimed and recycled milk jugs and so plastic is a big part of my thinking every day. Plastic is so versatile and reusable in so many ways and it’s not something to discard and not use again like what most people do with it. In fact, when I see plastic discarded and lying around I am inclined to pick it up and get it to the correct place where it can continue its usefulness. I’m goofy like that. One of the problems with discarded plastic is so much of it is making its way to our oceans and it’s a really big problem. Plastiki brings together this message in the form of a 60 foot catamaran. Built of more than 12,000 reclaimed PET bottles, Plastiki sailed across the Pacific Ocean bringing attention to both plastic as a resource and just as importantly speaking out about the discarded plastic building up in our oceans. What an ironic and bold way to convey and bring attention to this problem. Please recycle!