Where I Work: Chad Phillips of KWAMBIO

The New York City-based KWAMBIO is an on-demand manufacturing platform that utilizes 3D printing technology and we featured some of their pieces, all of which are created by designers, earlier this year. They set out to produce designer everyday objects that don’t look like they’ve been 3D printed and so far they’re succeeding with pieces by byAMT, Mir Ett, Chen Chen & Kai Williams, Daniel Michalik, to name a few, with more coming soon. We reached out to KWAMBIO’s Creative Director Chad Phillips for a look at how this startup operates and for a peek inside their Brooklyn studio, for this month’s Where I Work.

What is your typical work style?

I am usually there from 9-6 with a real lunch, though often I take a day to work from home – never not working. It is not super structured though and can go in many directions in one day.

Some days are a lot of desk time but others we are running around the city doing studio visits, picking up samples, and photographing product.


What’s your studio/work environment like?

It’s organized and super clean, I usually have some 90’s R&B, rare groove, or some new chill R&B or Trap jams. I also take a lot of meetings each day, so it is a nice environment.


How is your office organized/arranged?

My office is grouped into spaces, the desks area, conference area, lounge area, and photo area. We all work pretty well together and its nice being in a group setting.



How long have you been in this space? Where did you work before that?

I have been here about 6 months, the company was based in Ukraine and briefly in Boston.


If you could change something about your workspace, what would it be?

I’d have a lot more weird stuff from friends that we work with, and I’d probably fix the floor a bit, it’s impossible to clean.

Is there an office pet?

Sadly, no.


Do you require music in the background? If so, who are some favorites?

YES, always, we have a loud neighbor always on the phone that we are drowning out. So, I play lots of music, current new faves are Phony Ppl, Kiiara, Sam Sure, and Zoey Dollarz. But I am just as often playing lots of 90’s R&B and reggae.

How do you record ideas?

Lots of Google docs, and a giant erase board.

Do you have an inspiration board? What’s on it right now? 

No, just a Pinterest.


What is your creative process and/or creative workflow like? Does it change every project or do you keep it the same?

I work with so many different artists and need to be flexible to each, but on my end we pull everything into an A-Z doc and track along.


What kind of design objects might you have scattered about the space?

In the office, I have an Enzo Mari Box chair, Gaetano Pesce Light, Furniture by Like Minded Objects, lots of samples from Farrah Sit, Chen and Kai, Misha Kahn, Katie Stout, Jeremyville, etc. And we all sit on SAYL chairs, because they are awesome.


Are there tools and/or machinery in your space? 

Just a light photo setup.


What tool do you most enjoy using in the design process?

I like to build a lot of photo sets and discuss ideas a lot about what we could do, so as odd as it sounds, meeting and discussing directions.


Let’s talk about how you’re wired. Tell us about your tech arsenal/devices.

I am on a MacBook, and the office has a lot of MacBooks, a major PC setup for CAD, and a few 3D printers for prototypes.

What design software do you use, if any, and for what?

The usual, Photoshop, Illustrator, Zbrush and AutoCAD.

Jelly Bottle Opener by Misha Kahn

Jelly Bottle Opener by Misha Kahn

Is there a favorite project you’ve worked on?

Misha’s Bottle Openers.


Do you feel like you’ve “made it”? What has made you feel like you’ve become successful? At what moment/circumstances? Or what will it take to get there?

Ha, great question! I’m not sure what that means or looks like, though as long as I am happy and able to do what I want then I think I am in a good place.


Tell us about a current project you’re working on. What was the inspiration behind it?

I am working with Patrick Parrish and his artists on a fun project launching in August. I can’t say much yet, but I’m very excited about the folks we’re working with.


What’s on your desk right now?

It varies, lots of tea bottles, an Enzo Mari box, a Peter shire mug for pens (chipped), and some samples. I always at least try to have flowers, too.

Do you have anything in your home that you’ve designed/created?

Yes of course, I have lots of stuff from work and things from all of my various careers. And I make weird stuffed animal lamps.

Caroline Williamson is Editorial Director of Design Milk. She has a BFA in photography from SCAD and can usually be found searching for vintage wares, doing New York Times crossword puzzles in pen, or reworking playlists on Spotify.