Top 10 DMTV Milkshake Episodes of 2023
We wrap up another year of DMTV Milkshake where architects, interior designers, small business owners, and other creatives peel back the curtain and share more about their work, passions, and studio spaces. From the CEO and founder of a lighting brand to a glass artist with a penchant for nostalgically delicious sweets, our Top 10 Milkshake episodes cover a wide range of experts who imparted invaluable advice, fun anecdotes, and design guidance in various fields. Tune in to learn more if you missed any of the episodes!
We spoke with Valgora about the legacy and importance of cities in civic life – and about the many projects he’s taken on to make cities stronger, better places. He also talks about how architects will continue to respond to updated, flexible ideas about what a workspace can be, even as he designs a new studio for his own practice: “Offices and residential environments are converging, and we really need to create new kinds of spaces to work in and collaborate,” he says.
Catherine and VW Fowlkes of their eponymous studio are quite the powerhouse duo. They share about what it’s like working in one of the world’s power capitals and what makes DC architecturally unique from other big cities in America. The couple also explain why they can make bolder design decisions in the homes of historically preserved neighborhoods: “From an architectural standpoint, they tend to be a little bit more traditional in the front, and then clients give us license to be a little bit more daring in the back.”
Step into the dreamy, nostalgically sweet world of Helle Mardahl, who’s inspired by and Charlie & the Chocolate Factory when designing her glass collections. The creative director reminisces about the exact moment that inspired her to create her work and how she now designs for all her senses. “Basically I think the more you can get of that, the more fun you can have, there’s so many layers to it. I’ve always thought like that: The more, the merrier,” she shares.
Founding Principal of the LA architectural practice OWIU (Only Way Is Up) Amanda Gunawan is very inspired by the aesthetic culture of Japan: “It’s their passion and their dedication to craftsmanship that really impresses me.” This mindset is what Gunawan caries over to OWIU Goods, her line of ceramic works. She also shares a helpful strategy for trying to get everything done: “I don’t aim for 100 percent. I never do – I [usually] aim for 80%. My work, or my life, is a marathon. And because of that, I kind of have to pace everything out.”
Lora Appleton is the founder of kinder MODERN, a contemporary and vintage design gallery and design studio that makes and showcases work for children. In this episode, she talks about how her son has taught her new ways of looking at design by seeing how he interacts with the built environment around him. “I thought that was really fascinating – the memory, the + of thinking, all of that really connects with kids in a way that before being a mom, I didn’t really understand,” she explains.
We step into the ceramicist’s studio in Queens, New York where she creates her highly regarded work: mugs and cups, plates and bowls, and – our favorite – her colorful tiles. Levi talks about her breakthrough moment, a chance encounter with famed retailer Steven Alan. She reflects that “since I had been making pottery for a very long time as a hobby, it kind of lit a little light bulb in me that maybe this was a path that existed.” Levi also shares how she splits her artistic identity between potter and photographer (spoiler alert: she settled on “pot-ographer”).
Like many architects, Aron Himmelfarb has been inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright’s work which has instilled within him a love for a total experience of design, from the blueprints to the window trim. “What’s funny about Wright is that it’s almost unfashionable to appreciate his work – or maybe easy to overlook in contemporary architecture, due to his popularity,” Himmelfarb says. “But as I’ve grown in my practice, I really find myself looking to his work for inspiration a lot more, maybe with a more mature eye.” Also in this episode, the architect expresses a love for work – his own or others’ – that deepens over time.
Rimes imparts invaluable advice and insight behind her practice: how she ensures that her design world expands rather than shrinks with time – reusing familiar ideas, practices, and motifs – and how her time at Auburn University’s acclaimed Rural Studio has informed her priority of building relationships with the members of the communities who share their lives with her buildings. She also shares how traveling influences her work: “Having just returned from Japan, I’m already seeing how some of those experiences are influencing my design work, whether it be lighting design, or transparency in architecture or connection to nature.”
Trends aren’t a priority for the Yale-trained architect. The designer, who appeared on Bravo’s Top Design in 2007, is instead focused on solving problems as part of a holistic experience. “My big thing about interior design is the whole picture,” he says. “So the mentality of à la carte is really difficult for me to kind of understand and fix. When you’re looking at interior design, I think you should step back and take a look at how things relate to each other in a larger picture.”
And the most popular DMTV Milkshake episode of 2023 is…
You all loved this chat with the CEO and founder of Gantri, the San Francisco-based lighting brand that partners with designers from around the world – like Oakland’s Prowl Studio, Felix Pöttinger in Munich, Heitor Lobo Campos in Brasilia, and former Milkshake star Bradley L. Bowers in New Orleans – to create their modern fixtures at a reasonable cost. “At Gantri, we’re rethinking how lighting is designed, made, and sold using 3D printing,” he says. “We’re supporting independent designers and studios – and making great lighting designs more accessible and more sustainable.”
Check out the rest of Design Milk’s end of the year coverage here!