F5: Carl Baker Admits One of His Favorite Things To Collect

04.30.21 | By
F5: Carl Baker Admits One of His Favorite Things To Collect

Carl Baker headshot

Carl Baker, West Coast Director at Ike Kligerman Barkley, grew up with a passion for residential design. After studying architectural history at Vassar College, he earned his Bachelors of Architecture at UC-Berkeley and his Masters of Architecture at the University of Washington – Seattle. At UW  – Seattle, he was the recipient of the Valle Scholarship, giving him the opportunity to study sustainable design in Stockholm, Sweden. But before he ever practiced architecture, Carl apprenticed with a wooden boat builder in upstate New York. There he crafted his own skills as a woodworker, seeing how finely crafted machines come together. He also honed his ability to collaborate, all experiences he brings to his architectural work today. In the past, Carl worked at ROMA Design Group, where he was on the winning project team for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial at the National Mall, as well as for Melander Architects in San Francisco.

Today Carl joins us for Friday Five!

black headphones

1. Grado SR80e Headphones
These are really well-designed and comfortable, not that expensive and feel great about the ears. Really refreshing to listen through these after dealing with earbuds all day, it feels like you are listening for pleasure’s sake rather than for work.


2. Sheaffer Leather-Bound 7×10 Notebook
The perfect notebook for me, which took about 20 years to discover. I can elaborate: it has a thick but flexible leather cover, which really protects it in all environments. At about 7×10″, it’s a great size, not so small that it gets lost but not so big that it is hard to carry around. Inside, the pages have a grid of very light dots – so helpful for laying out a drawing or drawing something to a specific scale. Completely background and you can completely ignore them, they don’t interfere with the drawing and just provide a loose structure for whatever you want to draw or write. Pages are perforated so you can tear out a sheet.

micron pens

3. Micron 005 Pen
I’ve been teaching myself to draw ONLY with this pen, so that I can minimize the number of things I need to carry around or keep track of. It’s so fine that you can create very light outlines on which to build your sketch, but with shading you can build up depth and darkness as needed.

old books with illustrations

4. Old Design or Illustrated Books with Hand-Drawn Graphics
A sampling of my collection here, a 3rd edition of the Architectural Graphic Standards (1938), a set of Camping and Woodcraft books (1906 and 1916) that thoroughly teach how to be a successful outdoorsman and The Blue Book of Birds of America (1931).

travel passes

5. Transportation + Travel Passes
I collect these from wherever I travel. As well as being reminders of specific days (or trains or buses or trips), the graphics and branding of differing countries’ and states’ transportation fascinate me and I come to associate these places with their graphic representations. And yes, there is an old San Francisco monthly muni pass in there – I loved these graphics and held onto every one I had from the mid 90’s onward!

Work by Carl Baker:

Photo: Douglas Friedman

brick colored building

Photo: Douglas Friedman

brick colored building

Photo: Douglas Friedman

architectural rendering of tasting room

Tasting room rendering

Kelly Beall is Director of Branded Content at Design Milk. The Pittsburgh-based writer and designer has had a deep love of art and design for as long as she can remember, from Fashion Plates to MoMA and far beyond. When not searching out the visual arts, she's likely sharing her favorite finds with others. Kelly can also be found tracking down new music, teaching herself to play the ukulele, or on the couch with her three pets – Bebe, Rainey, and Remy. Find her @designcrush on social.