Chip DeGrace oversees the creative engine that gives FLOR its reputation as an innovative, environmentally responsible company that’s basically synonymous with modular floor covering. As the Senior Vice President, Creative, DeGrace, who was once a commercial interior designer, directs product design and catalog strategies. The company is on a retail tear of late, with plans to open about a dozen freestanding retail outlets this year. Yesterday marks its 11th flagship store opening, in Boston’s Back Bay, right on the well-shod heels of the Georgetown store opening in D.C. last month. In this week’s Friday Five, DeGrace shares insight into his personal life and cultural inspirations.
1. My Family
One wife, three sons, clubhouses in the trees, go-carts with screen door aluminum bodies, a Chinese dragon head of papier-mâché for Halloween, and a hand-made time machine prop for a stage play. When we fearlessly dive into the unknown, magic happens.
2. My Landcrusier Troopy
A forty-year-old design that can run on diesel fuel or French fry oil, fits 11 passengers, and has a pop top for camping. It’s incredible! Object usefulness is second only to the fact that it makes me smile to drive it.
3. Graceland Cemetery Chicago
On the north side of Chicago, it’s the final resting place of giants like Mies van der Rohe, David Adler, Daniel Burnham, William Le Baron Jenney, and Louis Sullivan. The landscape architecture was Ossian Cole Simonds. It rivals most parks for natural beauty and design spirit.
4. The work of Piet Hein Eek
I have an affinity for designing and making things. His work is incredibly modern and honest. The evidence of handwork is evident in the lack of visual perfection and inclusion of eccentricity. The waste wood pieces resonate with me because we too design beauty from waste.
5. The vibe at the Green Mill
The classiest joint to hear world-class jazz in the city that created it. It’s one hundred-years-old with an interior straight from prohibition. An intimate and serious place where one can experience the great artistry of musical improv.