Today the Core77 Hand-Eye Supply store opens its doors!
23 NW 4th Avenue - between Burnside and Couch St.
Months in the making and only possible via many generous contributions of time and effort by friends and family, the store is a labor of love of on our part, one that brings our "core" fascination with the mystery and power of making things into the realm of retail. wwowowowoooo!
We are excited to be located in Portland and to be able to take part in the historic - and accelerating - culture of craftsmanship and creative labor which lives here. The store is for both "creative types" and those who love them (and really, now-a-days, who doesn't?) - it is built to appeal with a selection of the basic tools of creative work - pencils, paper, pens - a line-up of high-quality tools and fabrication implements - foam cutters! wrenches! - and a wide variety of task-specific clothing made for the shop or studio - e.g. more aprons than you've seen in one place ever. It is a lifestyle store but for what you do, so it is a Workstyle store.
We hope to see a wide cross-section of the city's fine citizenry make its way through our doors in the coming days (and beyond!) and relish the opportunity to share our enthusiasm for the creative (a)vocations. For those of you not in the neighborhood we'll see you in the online version (opening shortly!)
Special-special thanks to: Laurence Sarrazin for leading the design of the space and for her positive disposition and vast capacity for work. Special thanks and congratulations, go to the core Core team of Tobias Berblinger, Glen Taylor and Eric Ludlum.
Read on for a quasi-mission statement and more pics - like all Core77 efforts the store is a work in progress!
A bit more on the why of the what of the Core Store aka Hand-Eye Supply.
By store development lead, Eric Ludlum, founder Core77
Core77 is the product of its environment: it was born as a project at Pratt Institute - an occupational training school that at one time taught stuff such as bee keeping - that still has a steam power plant and a Tiffany floored library. In particular it is the child of the Pratt Industrial Design department, a creaky but functioning Bauhaus-ian training program which focused (at the time, at least) on the principles of visual language and the hand-skills necessary to explore them.
Core77 was and still is hand-built by a small passionate team of people. It is about as "bespoke" as a website can be, and proudly displays its rough edges. Our editorial focus, while sometimes obscured by the cool stuff in the blog has always been on "inside baseball" - the practice of the profession. And to us that is everything surrounding actual making - the production of artifacts and the labor of the process of design. The early industrial era can-do attitude, the occupational foundation of the practice of ID; these are essential to the Core77 definition of design.
If there is a date to put on these nostalgic aspects of the site it would be the post-war hey day of American design and manufacturing - an era of exploration and earnestness. This was our entry point into the field: a mid-1990's retro vision of a humble profession dedicated to making things.
Over the past 15 years we've watched and cheered and done our part to help push design to the prominence it enjoyed in that earlier era. With the zealotry of converts we spread the word. And then with similar visceral emotion we watched as culture and commerce and design entwined...
The annotation of the design process and its spread to the board-room and the business-book aisle for the purpose of improving market capitalization. The reduction and division of design's complex and mysterious core into silos of formulaic practice: user-centered design, sustainable design, "design thinking". Media exaltation of the designer as author - defining creative work as genius self-expression and cordoning off the creative act from the public with a velvet rope.
The heart of design - of making things - was simultaneously diminished and aggrandized; made explicit for the business community, moved to the distance for the average person. It is this heart that we wish to gently massage back to a healthy beat. DIY and crafting have done their part to spread the "making meme" out in the general public, and the time is right to see it restored to the practice of design.
If there is a poster-boy, a hero, of Hand-Eye Design, it is Bucky Fuller. Who practiced sustainability, who advocated design-thinking, who studied the needs of the human being, but who understood these as parts of the whole enterprise of doing. He is the guy who, as good designers do, kept all that in his head and in his heart and used it as he MADE THINGS - he, himself, through drawings and models -not for the sake of self-expression or commercialism but because they had to be done. And that work was not birthed effortlessly from within but dragged out of the world in handfuls, built-up slowly into something meaningful through sketches and prototypes, mock-ups and fabrication.
That is the design philosophy of Core77's Hand-Eye Supply.