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Friday Five with United Strangers
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New Zealand-born, China-based Anthony Robertson and Logan Komorowski are the duo behind United Strangers, a furniture label they launched in 2012 that’s involved in every aspect from design, development, manufacturing, managing, and selling of their products. Each of their four Southern China factories works with different materials, like solid wood, metal, and upholstery, letting the company create a wide range of products that strongly focus on recycled and refurbished materials. Both hailing from Auckland, the pair brings their own set of skills to the table – Robertson as head designer and Komorowski as creative director – while having the same mission of bringing storied designs to the market that focus on the beauty of natural materials. Let’s see what they have to say when it comes inspiration in this week’s Friday Five.

1. Smell of wood
Nothing beats the smell of freshly cut timber. It symbolizes a fresh start, a starting point of each project, from a raw material, an idea is brought to life. The workshop floor is like a second home to us, getting involved and getting our hands dirty has always been our best way to create.

Photo by thosedarktrees via Flickr

Photo by thosedarktrees via Flickr

2. Market hunting
We love to scour the globe, back alleys and markets for anything and everything. To be lost in the middle of a market, not even knowing exactly what we are looking for, and the excitement of finding that one gem amid the storm is a great feeling. The smells, the sounds, the madness, and the energy are unbeatable.

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3. A Design Museum
Located in the middle of the hustle of Seoul art district. Owned by a good friend of the company, the aA design Museum building is heaven for any design, especially furniture. Five levels of original design classics, from Dixon to Eames and everything in between. We like to come here to get inspired, to think of ideas and to basically zone out surrounded by awesome furniture.

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4. Getting lost to find yourself
Travel is a huge part of our design process. Being outside our comfort zones is an essential element to any idea creation. The feeling of being completely lost but at the same time feeling ok, and excited for the next step is a great thing to have.

Photo by David Peckham

Photo by David Peckham

5. Coromandel Beach
The Coromandel is a little slice of heaven, tucked away back home in New Zealand. Memories of summers here as a child, always make us miss home. We try to get back home wherever we can, of all the places we travel for work, there is nothing quite like home.

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.