Where I Work: David Weeks 2021
If you’ve been around awhile, you may remember that we featured designer David Weeks in our Where I Work column back in 2012. Almost eight years later we decided it was time to revisit his Brooklyn studio, which has since moved from its previous DUMBO location to new digs in Bed-Stuy. Here, Weeks designs and develops his diverse collection, including lighting, furniture, accessories, and even Cubebot® wooden robot toys. To see what else David Weeks has been up to, we headed to Brooklyn to check out the new studio in this month’s Where I Work.
What’s your studio/work environment like?
Appropriately unkempt. While I really appreciate a clean workspace, it’s not really in me. I inevitably start to gain some momentum at the end of the day and have a hard time tidying up. There are two dogs that are on part time retainers. They work alternating days unless their joint input is required.
How is your space organized/arranged?
The studio is required to accommodate all the company’s functions. We manufacture, assemble and design in-house. Each concentration has its own area and workstations.
How long have you been in this space? Where did you work before that?
We’ve had our current space for about 5 years. Before that we were in Dumbo for 20+ years.
If you could change something about your workspace, what would it be?
Ideally we would have a shiatzu therapist on site 3 times a week, and a lovely neighborhood coffee shop one block away.
Have you had to make any adjustments to how you work because of the pandemic?
Yes, We’ve had to create alternating shifts to avoid crowding in the different departments. I’m looking forward to the day everyone can simply come to work, be creative and collaborate together.
How do you see things changing in your workplace moving forward with COVID-19 now a part of our reality?
Zoom will obviously continue to be an everyday tool. The nice thing is that it frees up unproductive travel time and allows for instantaneous group meetings. And the retail aspect of the showroom is shifting. We hope to have more one on one interactions in the actual studio so clients can see how things are actually made here by hand.
Is there an office pet?
Yes, Milo and Lexi!
Do you require music in the background? If so, who are some favorites?
Each shop has its own musical taste. The metal shop, without prompting fell right into the industry standard of speed metal: Pantera, Clutch, Slipknot, anything on 89.5 Seton Hall’s Pirate Radio. The assembly shop starts the mornings with NPR and changes to hip hop for the afternoon. Design is a little quieter than I would like. Apparently, they have to “concentrate”. Whatever.
How do you record ideas?
I tend to use the back of any piece of paper within reach. I’m actually in the process of digging through production folders excavating unrealized sketches, editing and compiling ideas, and making collages out of whatever remains.
Do you have an inspiration board? What’s on it right now?
I will fill the inspiration boards when I’m done. On occasion I create nonexistent projects for appropriate clients: Custom shaped Stress relievers for Nerf, headset altering effects pedals for Boss, inflatable clothing for Landfall Navigation.
What is your typical work style?
Haphazard has a familiar ring to it. I still haven’t really settled into a routine since we moved. I have several locations that I’ve been using. A bench work space that looks on to the internal courtyard of our Bed-Stuy compound, and a 1860’s foundry building in upstate NY, but during the pandemic I’ve been at home in Brooklyn Heights. As nice as these options sound – whatever I need is invariably at the other location.
What is your creative process and/or creative workflow like? Does it change every project or do you keep it the same?
I need blocks of time to get involved with a project and stay engaged. It’s hard to plan on an exact amount of time. This year has been challenging in so many ways, and I’ve been having a hard time finding focus. I’m looking forward to finding a new rhythm for 2021.
What kind of art/design/objects might you have scattered about the space?
Our new prototypes from our collaboration with Tala UK. The residual test, models and sketches left over from a leather project we’re finishing up. A box full of ¼” thick punched steel bowls.
Are there tools and/or machinery in your space?
What tool(s) do you most enjoy using in the design process?
A mat knife, the vice and some pin jigs, a 1” bench belt sander with the guards removed to allow access to the entire belt (wheels and all), and a small sledgehammer I found on Georgica beach on Long Island.
What design software do you use, if any, and for what?
Rhino is the standard for product development. I’m getting more familiar with Blender so I can stop being a back-seat designer. We have a couple of 3D printers that I wish were running like the old Dunkin Donuts commercials.
What’s on your desk right now?
We are finalizing the details of our new collection. It’s at the most exciting and tedious point – waiting for the final parts and finishes. It’s been hanging from the ceiling very close to done, but it has yet to be assembled, wired and illuminated.
Is there a favorite project/piece you’ve worked on?
I still love the wooden animal series. Its always a treat whenever I see them in stores. I have several more species that I hope will be available in the not too distant future.
Tell us about a current project you’re working on. What was the inspiration behind it?
A new top secret project, launching next year.
But in addition, we’re always chipping away at ideas and tests. The current longshot is custom sculpted wooden shoes. They are based on the traditional Dutch archetype. I wore a standard pair for yard work for a year, and eventually felt comfortable modifying them. I’ve reduced the weight by close to half, and reshaped them. A little more time in the studio and they should be finished.
Do you have anything in your home that you’ve designed/created?
I have the original Waaw chaise lounge developed in Senegal. The second version of the US version of the Semana chair originally sold through Habitat UK. Many of the prototypes of the wooden animals developed for Areaware. The Daisey Cutter (a baseball bat modified to look like a machine gun for ADC (American Design Club), and several oil paintings and a few additional pieces of art. Not to mention most of the lighting.
Photos by Rachel Leiner Photography.
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