This is the latest installment of our Core77 Questionnaire. Previously, we talked to Satyendra Pakhalé.
Name: Leon Ransmeier
Occupation: Industrial designer
Location: New York, NY
Current projects: I just launched the Chiaro chair for Mattiazzi. We are currently exploring new projects for Herman Miller, as well as for HAY.
Mission: It's a moving target.
Ransmeier's newest product is Chiaro, a wooden chair for the Italian manufacturer Mattiazzi. Chiaro comes with or without armrests; both versions stack.
When did you decide that you wanted to be a designer? I was 18 when I first encountered the radical, poetic design of the 1980s. This was 1997—I was paying a lot of attention to the work coming out of the Netherlands but simultaneously intrigued by early modernists like Aalto, Breuer and Prouvé. I remember I was reading Robert Venturi the day I saw the Robert Irwin installation at DIA in 1999, which blew me away. It was the tension between all of these approaches and languages that drew me in, and I still find inspiration in all of it.
Education: I graduated from the furniture design program at RISD in 2001.
First design job: Drawing 1:1 wooden chairs with a Mayline. We would spend up to two months on one drawing, send blueprints to India to be built, and receive the prototype in a crate eight weeks later. It seemed slow at the time, but in retrospect my projects are much slower now.
Who is your design hero? I am uncomfortable with the word "hero". There are too many interesting people to list. I often find inspiration in art and architecture.
The AGL Table Group for Herman Miller is intended to function equally well as an executive desk, a conference-room table or a dining table in a residential setting.
Describe your workspace: It's a small corrugated steel box on top of a building in Lower Manhattan.
Other than the computer, what is your most important tool? A pencil
What is the best part of your job? Starting and finishing a project
What is the worst part of your job? I dislike administrative work.
The AGL Table Group comes in powered and non-powered versions; the powered version includes an array of under-desk trays with outlets.
What time do you get up and go to bed? That depends on the day of the week.
How do you procrastinate? I go for a walk.
What is your favorite productivity tip or trick? I recommend going for a walk.
What is the most important quality in a designer? Sharp powers of observation.
What is the most widespread misunderstanding about design or designers? "Design" refers to more than trends or a covetable lifestyle. The human built world is completely designed, from the molecule to the city.
Revolver is a rotating bar stool with clever functionality: thanks to the integration of a ball bearing in the lower ring, the footrest turns together with the seat.
What is your most prized design possession? My books
What is exciting you in design right now? Experiencing objects
If you could redesign anything, what would you choose? I'm constantly redesigning my office.
What do you hope to be doing in ten years? Building a house.
Lastly, who's more fun to have a drink with: architects, industrial designers or graphic designers? That's a silly question!