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Q&A with Brendan Ravenhill

Los Angeles based industrial designer: lighting, furniture & objects

I'm a Los Angeles based industrial designer specializing in lighting, furniture and objects. I run an 8-person studio out of a Quonset Hut on the LA River.

Let’s talk about the creative process and how you work. What are you working on now?

I see our work as part of an ongoing conversation with designers who throughout history have found form through the careful balance of function, materials and manufacturing methods. We just made our largest fixture to date, the Double Pivot Chandelier. We were inspired to build this version out of sheer ambition. We had already perfected its components: the custom brass cast collars, spun metal shades, and cord and rod tensegrity structure of our Pivot Family. We wanted to stretch our tensegrity structures out to dramatic proportions. Our biggest challenge was balance. This chandelier is fine-tuned like an instrument, and balancing the 10 spun metal shades when we build each fixture takes tweaking, adjusting & endless patience. Once the chandelier is fine tuned, its arms can be disassembled for shipping.

What tools and materials do you use for your production?

We prototype in the shop and then work with a network of fabricators around LA when we're ready for production - glass blowers, metal spinners, wood workers, machinists, and ceramicists, who are expert craftspeople. We bring everything back to the studio to finish and assemble by hand in house.

What is your ideal work environment?

Well organized chaos. Music, laughs. Plenty of tools and materials on hand. Well lit.

Where are your favorite places for art?

I love nature, living in California we spend a lot of time in the High Sierra and the Mojave. I've also always been captured by vernacular architecture, such as old barns and warehouses. I'm a boat builder by trade, so flipping through the pages of Woodenboat magazine also always inspires.

Which artist in your professional category has inspired you the most? 

The work of Jean Prouve and Charles and Ray Eames have been the greatest influence on my work - their deep understanding of material and process, and an ability to create forms that were at once bold yet also straightforward in their logic.