Friday Five with Jacob Marks

If you’ve been a reader of Design Milk for any length of time, chances are you’re familiar with Skram Furniture, the North Carolina-based furniture design studio that was founded by Jacob Marks (which spells ‘skram’ backwards) in 2001 after graduating from Colorado College. Despite having no formal training in design, Marks successfully launched the brand at the young age of 25 and has gone on to be named one of the top 50 young designers of the Americas. He embraces sustainability while keenly focusing on handcrafted design and an impeccable attention to detail that’s easily spotted in each piece. The work is timeless with a scaled back approach that comes together through the use of natural materials, like wood, metal, stone, and leather. So, if you’re not familiar, you should dive into the archives and then read on see what inspirations he shared in his Friday Five.

Courtesy of Hiroshi Sugimoto

1. Hiroshi Sugimoto Seascapes
I’m captivated by Sugimoto’s work, particularly his Seascapes. This is one of the most stunning bodies of work I’ve encountered in any medium.

Henry Charles Carey and Isaac Lea, 1822

2. Maps
This is an 1822 map of Indiana, where I grew up. I collect and display maps at home and they have been a fascination of mine for as long as I can remember. Aside from the graphic quality, maps like this one have such amazing stories to tell about places in time and the impermanence of everything. Also, I love maps made at a moment when the mapmaker knew there was more to be understood, but had no clear idea of its characteristics. So much possibility!

3. Gdansk, Poland
We traveled to the Baltic Sea port city of Gdansk last winter and were stunned by its beauty, culture, and history. While there, check out the gigantic cranes in the shipyard and the nearby Solidarity Museum for a sobering but inspiring (and timely) reminder that the path towards justice and away from repression requires courage and persistence.

4. Field Museum Bird Collection
The Field Museum in Chicago has one on the most extensive collections of birds in the world – around 530,000 individual specimens are carefully preserved in support of research and conservation. My brother, Ben, manages this collection and no trip to Chicago is complete without a visit to the museum.

5. Southeastern Tidal Estuaries
I’ve always been more interested in mountains than sea. But recently I began to explore the estuarine landscapes that make up much of North Carolina’s coast. These spaces are magical and delicate, and wonderful to explore.

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.