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Friday Five with Jerry Helling of Bernhardt Design

Behind many successful brands, there’s always a mix of people making it happen and for Bernhardt Design one of those integral people is Jerry Helling. The President and Creative Director just recently celebrated his 25th anniversary and during those years, he’s taken the company from being a manufacturer of traditional wood furniture to an international brand consistently producing timeless, design-focused wares. Over the past decade, he’s assembled quite the roster of designers, including Yves Béhar, Jaime Hayon, Patrick Norguet, and Arik Levy, to name a few, that the company works with, keeping up the company’s commitment to visionary design. In 2014, Heller was elected President of Be Original Americas, an industry campaign that’s committed to raising awareness about original design. In this week’s Friday Five, we take a look to see what keeps this busy design professional going.

Photo by Jack Spencer

Photo by Jack Spencer

1. Career Longevity
I am very inspired by people who maintain relevant careers spanning many years. People like Giorgio Armani, Woody Allen, Mike Krzyzewski or Niels Diffrient. A perfect example is singer Emmylou Harris. She has released over 40 critically respected albums, won 13 Grammys, still works with interesting cutting edge people, helps her friends in the business and offers her support to younger artists that are trying to launch their careers. Even though she is not a mainstream household name, she has shaped the perfect career.

Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

2. Pedro Almodovar
For me his films are as much about the visuals as they are the storyline. In addition to being a respected writer and director, he is a remarkable graphic artist and set designer. I learned how powerful the color red could be from his work, especially in the film All About My Mother.

Photo by Kenny Le

Photo by Kenny Le

3. City of Arts and Sciences
I’m often asked who is the one person I would most like to work with on a project. The answer has always been and will always be, Santiago Calatrava. You can certainly imagine that this campus, populated with his work, is a very special place for me. It is especially beautiful at night, when you have the feeling you could easily be in some future dream state.

F5-Jerry-Helling-4-Ty-Nant-Water-Bottle

4. Ty Nant Water Bottle
Ross Lovegrove’s water bottle design for Ty Nant illustrates how successful packaging can serve a product so well – that they become one and the same. The bottle is the prefect reflection of the experience I envision having with the water – cool, clear and fluid.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

5. The West Wing
There is very little in popular culture that gives any valuable lessons on how to live our lives or inspire us to do more and try harder. Even though the series concluded eight years ago, it is more relevant today than ever by teaching us about America’s role in a very complicated world and how as individuals we can make a difference and should always strive to do the right thing. It reinforces the idea that being principled, idealistic and naïve isn’t always such a bad thing.

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.