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2021 Year in Review: Deconstruction

At the beginning of 2021, we continued our deep dives into how designs are made through our Deconstruction column. Every month, we enlist a designer or studio to share the details of their design process of one of their modern designs, giving us all an inside look into just how much time, sweat, and tears goes into them. Now that the year is almost over, we’re looking back to see the designs we featured in our Deconstruction column throughout 2021.

12.15.21 | By
2021 Year in Review: Deconstruction

A Closeup Look at How Orior Continues Local Irish Craft With New Rugs

Orior is a family business in Northern Ireland dating back 40 years making handcrafted furniture by skilled artisans focusing on superior Irish craftsmanship combined with a contemporary aesthetic. The brand’s son, creative director Ciaran McGuigan, tapped his sister, fashion designer Katie Ann McGuigan, to collaborate on a collection of rugs. Back in January, Orior gave us a closeup look at how the new rug collaboration is made.

Teknion + PearsonLloyd Share How Essa Is Made for Today’s Active Worker

Designed by Luke Pearson and Tom Lloyd of PearsonLloyd for Teknion, the Essa task chair focuses on simplicity and ergonomic performance. It features a sculptural shape that offers the perfect amount of support through its curves and contours, instead of various mechanisms to adjust. For February, Teknion and PearsonLloyd took us behind the scenes to learn more about the process of bringing this new work chair into fruition for today’s active worker.

Elyse Graham Shares the Process Behind the Hydro Collection

LA-based Elyse Graham handcrafts a collection of plaster vessels that have patterns with soft edges and flowing, organic designs. The Hydro Collection, specifically, involves a series of vases with layers of pigment on the exterior with gradations that give them the feeling of topographical maps. In March, Elyse gave us an inside look at how the hypnotic Hydro Collection’s Amazon Vase comes to life!

Kelly Wearstler Creates a California-Inspired Paint Palette for Farrow & Ball

Marking the 1st time collaborating with an outside designer and its 75th anniversary, British paint brand Farrow & Ball tapped global American designer Kelly Wearstler to create a paint palette all her own. The result is The California Collection featuring eight fresh colors inspired by the Los Angeles-based designer’s home state, from the notorious fog brought inland from the Pacific Ocean to the palm trees lining California streets to terracotta pots and tiles baked in the sun. Back in April, we shared a look at how the collaboration evolved and the eight colors that make up The California Collection.

Ted Bradley Shares the Making of the Samsara Light Sculpture

After five years of planning, Ted Bradley left his job to make his Samsara light sculpture come to life. Instead of the two months he anticipated the build taking, it took over a year to perfect the design, and that’s after making five mold systems, experiencing hundreds of ring failures, and using 1,300 pounds of clay. In May, designer Ted Bradley shared just how labor intensive this light sculpture is to make.

Zai Divecha Turns Plain White Paper Into Geometric Sculptures

San Francisco-based artist Zai Divecha transforms plain white paper into geometric works made using repetitive folds and pleats. She makes the intricate works by folding or pleating paper to form patterns of light and shadow. From tiny paper star DIYs to large wall installations, Divecha’s pieces visually delight the eye making you almost forget that they began as plain paper. For June, Divecha shared one of her folded patterns which became a shadowbox framed piece called Torus.

Simone Post Experiments With Ceramics to Create the Lakenvaas for Cor Unum

Based in Rotterdam, Simone Post is a Dutch textile and product designer with an eye for graphic patterns and rich color palettes. After much trial and error while collaborating with ceramic art center, Cor Unum, the Lakenvaas vase was born, made by hand to resemble a tablecloth thrown on a table with a wavy edge mimicking the rippling of hanging cloth. In July, Simone Post carried us through the laborious process that resulted in the sculptural Lakenvaas.

modern blue sofa

Floris Hovers Shares How He Reinterpreted the Sofa for Red Stitch

Dutch furniture brand Red Stitch enlisted Dutch designer Floris Hovers in 2019 “to release all conventions and create a new sofa sprung from his free creative mind.” His design process didn’t begin where it normally does with sketches, and instead Floris made a miniature sofa from found materials in his Raamsdonksveer workshop. In August, we shared insight into Floris Hovers’ unconventional design process of the FLOAT seating collection.

Three rolls of neutral abstract wallpaper

The Pandemic Inspires Jess Murphy to Design Wallpaper for The Lawns

Brooklyn-based artist and founder of The Lawns design collective, Jess Murphy, set out to turn her artwork into wallpaper while stuck at home during the pandemic in 2020. Taking inspiration from a scene of dancing people in the film ‘The Two Popes,’ Jess began by working with pre-pandemic live figure drawings. The result is The ‘Figures’ wallpaper pattern, and back in September Jess Murphy gave us a peak into how it came to be.

interior space with single circular bench in front of panels of windows

Tomek Rygalik Shares the Circula Bench Designed for Social Interaction

Circula is an experimental project by Polish designer Tomek Rygalik developed within Design Nature, offering a tool for togetherness with a focus on sustainability. Coming (slowly) out of a time when social interactions have been a no-no, Circula encourages it within its circular shape. The ringed bench acts as a functional space for conversation to begin after such isolating times. In September, Tomek Rygalik shared insight into the design process of making the Circula bench.

round cardboard light pendant hanging

Graypants Shares How They Turn Basic Cardboard Into Modern Scraplights

Based in Seattle and Amsterdam, architecture and product design studio Graypants creates high-performance lighting with careful attention paid to detail. Not everyone can take brown cardboard and turn it into elegant lighting, but Graypants does just that. The Scraplights collection is handcrafted from recycled cardboard resulting in unique lighting with modern shaped silhouettes that emit warm light through the corrugation. For the last Deconstruction of the year, Graypants took us behind the scenes to see the involved manufacturing process of turning cardboard into the Scraplights collection.

Caroline Williamson is Editorial Director of Design Milk. She has a BFA in photography from SCAD and can usually be found searching for vintage wares, doing New York Times crossword puzzles in pen, or reworking playlists on Spotify.