Friday Five with Stephen Burks

Industrial designer Stephen Burks was born in Chicago, went to the Illinois Institute of Design’s Institute of Design there, studied architecture at Columbia University in Manhattan, and today works out of his studio there. He’s designed for a wide-range of high profile companies — Boffi, Cappellini, Missoni, Calvin Klein, and Estee Lauder to name a few. We’ve featured a number of his projects, including one of our favorites, Circus Shelving for Mattermade. His newest collaboration, DALA by Stephen Burks with DEDON, is a line of outdoor furniture made from handwoven recycled food-and-drink packaging and fully recyclable polyethylene. In this week’s Friday Five we’re privy to Burks’ favorite artists.

My favorite things of the moment are always the work of my friends and family. These things inspire me because in many ways they represent my diverse interests and goals for a more pluralistic vision of design.

1. My signed copy of photographer Viviane Sassen’s book Parasomnia
Photographer Viviane Sassen is a genius. Her visualization of the black body in Africa confronts all issues of globalization with a modern view. This image is “Ayuel.”

2. Performance from exhibition Still at Elizabeth Dee Gallery
Francesco Missoni and I participated in an installation with Ryan McNamara as part of his recent exhibition Still at the Elizabeth Dee Gallery in Chelsea, NYC. I love that it requires viewer participation.

3.  Brad Kahlhamer’s handmade dolls
Painter Brad Kahlhamer is a friend; I’ve been a collector of his for years. I love the handmade dolls that are all over his Bushwick, Brooklyn Studio. He makes them from whatever he can find. He is the only Native American painter that I know of who is working in the contemporary art world.

4. Lynette Yiadiom-Boakye’s paintings at the New Museum
Ghanaian-British artist Lynette Yiadiom-Boakye has reinvented portraiture beautifully.

5. Bertjan Pot’s masks made from climbing rope
Bertjan Pot is my favorite contemporary designer. I wish I’d done these!

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.