Friday Five with Reza Feiz of Phase Design

Self-taught designer Reza Feiz founded his Los Angeles-based firm Phase Design in 2000. Working within his philosophy of “strength in simplicity,” he uses solid woods, metal, ceramics, and fiberglass in luxurious finishes to realize his simple, yet dynamic furniture, lighting, and tabletop designs. His work has been acquired by some clients ranging from Gensler to Google, and from Starwood hotels to Tom Ford. Let’s see what he chooses for his Friday Five.

1. Cubo Ashtray by Bruno Munari for Danese Milano
Although I don’t smoke, this ashtray might be my favorite example of how I approach design. It exemplifies my design equation:  Function x Execution = Design. The key to success in design is the execution factor. The function of an ashtray is to hold your cigarette and collect the ashes. This ashtray accomplishes this in a genius manner. At first glance it is just a simple cube, however concealed in this housing is a bent piece of aluminum which holds the cigarette over another angled piece that drops the ashes into the concealed bottom of the ashtray. Genius.

2. Levi’s jeans
In 1873 Levi Strauss made the first riveted denim jean, and has been knocked off ever since.

3. Hard-edge painting movement
The hard edge-painting movement includes some of my favorites such as John McLaughlin, Ellsworth Kelly, and Frank Stella (his “Hampton Roads” is above) to name a few. It’s so brilliantly simple, which makes some declare, “I could do that,” to which I say, “Good luck.”

4. Unheralded architects of the mid-century modern movement
While lavish praise is bestowed on the works of mid-century modern masters such as Neutra, Koenig, and Saarinen, Los Angeles is fortunate to be blessed with many other inspiring works of architecture by lesser known yet talented visionaries. This makes cruisin’ the hood that much more fun.

5. Shifter knob in the 1982 Alfa Romeo Spider
I used to own this car and was mesmerized with the feel of the beautifully sculpted piece of mahogany. It fit the palm of my hands as if it was custom made me for me.


Marni Elyse Katz is a Contributing Editor at Design Milk. She lives in Boston where she contributes regularly to local publications and writes her own interior design blog, StyleCarrot.