WantedDesign Manhattan 2022 Launch Pad Furniture Winner: Erika Cross
We’re excited to share that at this year’s WantedDesign Manhattan 2022 Launch Pad program, sponsored by American Standard, Erika Cross was the chosen winner for the Furniture category! Design Milk was the official media partner for the competition and assisted in the jurying process. Congrats Erica!
“Elements is a collection about composition. Simple geometric shapes yield elegant building blocks, which combine to form sculptural objects. Elementary forms inform the whole, through interaction, configuration, and reconfiguration. Each object is defined by dialogue, a conversation among its elements.”
We caught up with Erika who shared more about her design background, what she wants Erika Cross Studio to be known for, what’s next after winning Launch Pad:
Can you tell us a little about your background?
I grew up in a small town in Michigan. When I graduated high school, I had already earned enough credits to start college as a sophomore. I studied at two universities simultaneously, earning two bachelor’s degrees at the same time – a BFA in Art and Design from the University of Michigan (with a minor in Multidisciplinary Design), and a BS in Interior Design from Eastern Michigan University. I went on to study at the Royal College of Art in London, where I got my MA in Design Products. After several international research projects and internships in Europe and in Asia, I returned to the States to found my design studio and focus on my one true passion – furniture design.
Where does your design inspiration come from?
That’s a tough question! I’m inspired by so many things in the world around me. My debut collection in particular is heavily inspired by geometry, tactility, relationships, and play. In this collection, I’m exploring ways to encourage more intimate relationships between object and user and also to emphasize the importance of relationships between different components of an object – how they work together, articulate, etc.
I’m also very interested in materials, methods, and fabrication processes. Quite often I find myself exploring how to make something do something, and then engineering a solution to make it happen. This might mean building a table on a CNC router which is much taller than the Z-axis travel on the machine, or making a flexible rug out of hardwood, or cutting a pattern into a cork sheet so that it can hold a shape and bear weight with minimal support.
Where do you see your work being used in the world?
I want my pieces to become part of people’s everyday experiences in their interior spaces. And I want my work to bring positive energy to those experiences, by embodying a modern aesthetic vision. I want my pieces to provide value and delight, so that they will be used and loved for many years.
What do you want Erika Cross Studio to be known for?
I want to be known for my unique vision and voice as a designer. Finding that voice, and articulating that vision, have been somewhat of a journey for me. I think this is the case for many artists and designers. As I mentioned, I’m inspired by so many things; at times it can be difficult for me to rein that in, and to communicate a cohesive and recognizable aesthetic. This is one of the reasons I’m so excited by my new collection. It is my first body of work that expresses my vision as a designer in a coherent and integrated way, which feels amazing! I am grateful to be able to continue exploring and refining my vision and voice in future work.
Now that you’ve won WantedDesign Launch Pad, what do you plan on doing next?
Winning WantedDesign Launch Pad is such a great honor! I’m beyond grateful for the support and encouragement the award has provided. It is feedback like this that tells me to keep going, to keep building. In the next phase I would like to focus on creating a brand and growing a company. The design and fabrication work have been familiar aspects of my creative journey. I am looking forward to the next parts of that journey, to build a successful and independent design/make studio that enlists the talents of many creative individuals to broadcast beautiful objects out into the world.
See more of her work at erikacross.com.