What strange times these are…
Dressing from the waist up.
Bold haircuts and bad beards.
Delicious baking repertoires.
Harmonica bombing and screaming kids.
Stunning views and accidentally being on mute.
The relentless video calls are providing a fascinating and intimate view into the spaces we all call home.
I have a new-found fondness for my apartment; where before I moved through the rooms without too much thought, I now see opportunities to build ever bigger dens for my 19-month-old son Woody. Our (rather expensive) footstool has become steps up to the kitchen counter so that he can help us cook, and my makeshift desk has given him hours of endless destructive entertainment (and me an opportunity to rebuild it at the end of each day).
Extra time with my family has been the overwhelming silver lining for me, but lockdown continues to test all of us in different ways. As I reflect back on the last seven weeks, the words that come to mind are ‘camaraderie’ and ‘passion’, as each of us learn to adapt to this new way of living and working. We have opened up our homes to colleagues and clients, we have found new ways to coordinate and collaborate that would have been impractical and unmanageable just a few weeks ago. We are discovering new daily rituals, motivating ourselves, dealing with new responsibilities and all without the creative stimulus and freedom of our lovely studio.
So, it is in our homes, in all their many shapes and sizes, that we now find our inspiration and our sources of stability. Our New York Studio now follows our Amsterdam colleagues as I invite members of the team to share a story behind a special object that is in constant view…
Ashton Guyatt, Senior Client Manager
“The Queen and corgi salt and pepper shakers, a leaving gift from Josh Clare when I left London for NYC, take pride of place on my kitchen shelf. I love their touch of kitsch amongst my natural kitchenware and ceramics collected from traveling. They keep an eye on me so I dutifully get my work done!”
Cody Hoerauf, Senior Designer
“I found this T-Rex lamp in the garbage on my walk home from a friend one night. I needed a desk lamp and I love dinosaurs (I grew up loving Jurassic Park and still do) so it worked out perfect. I guess one man’s trash is another man’s treasure!”
Emily Johns, Senior Client Director
“I am currently working from Montana on my fiancé’s family farm, and have been using this lovely windowsill as my makeshift standing desk. Montana is the most magical place, and being surrounded by the mountains is incredibly peaceful and grounding during these strange times, and remind me to soak up these moments while I can.”
Jess Marie, Design Director
“That’s where you’ll find me – at the end of my dining table. It’s nice and light, and I’m next to the kitchen. The view from there is of my open plan apartment where I have a lot of art on the walls. Because we have moved around a bit, my pictures are what makes me feel at home and are always the first thing I put up after a moving in. These prints remind me of a road trip we took in December just gone. We drove from South Carolina to the Keys and back. When we were in Miami, we visited Wynwood Walls. It was just after Art Basel and the streets were freshly painted with new street art – a lot of commissioned pieces, but you could still find pieces in amongst them that were not. Anyway, so many artists – CRASH , OG Slick, El Mac… as well as Shepard Fairey – all have work there. If you haven’t been, and you go to Miami, it’s worth a visit.”
Kaitlin Barton, Strategy Director
“It’s not pretty, but this is what working from home looks like for me: the kitchen, baby seat, face masks, and boogie wipes all within arm’s reach. This is a close-up of the seat that usually has a very helpful 9-month-old baby, blowing raspberries and asking the tough questions about the work.”
Katie Hasler, Designer
“I like to keep a tidy desktop (and desk) for lots of reasons. But my main reason? It’s so there isn’t anything distracting me from one of my favorite pictures of my favorite places: Asbury Park, New Jersey. I took this photo a few years ago when I still lived at home in NJ. This view is from standing inside the old, landmark casino (which is full of beautiful ornate beaux-arts architecture) looking out onto the boardwalk and beach. Every time I look at it, it immediately transports me back the Jersey shore. And yes that is a Gin & Tonic – I took this photo on a Friday afternoon!”
Marlee Bruning, Senior Designer
“I’m currently working from my parents’ dining room up in Maine. Searching for a tablecloth, I found my childhood picnic blanket instead. This blanket was originally my mom’s college bedspread. Now, it’s faded from the sun, stained from ketchup mishaps, and feels like vacation to me. I think Batman (our cat) is feeling vacation vibes too because he lounges on it all day.”
Nicola Leel, Studio Manager
“I’m lucky to have plenty of space and light in my Queens apartment, but I’m particularly lucky to get to spend a little more time on making music with my old and trusty recording interface. Being able to jump into another form of creativity after I’ve finished for the day gives me a sense of satisfaction that keeps me focused and structured in DB WFH life.”
Sam Cutler, Creative Director
“So, this is where I’m holing up during quarantine. My makeshift desk has a couple of things on it that I’m very fond of; my Polaroid Lab printer, a copy of Munich ’72 The Visual Output of Otl Aicher’s Dept.XI, a plastic T-Rex and a lovely little notebook that I picked up on a recent trip to Seoul. The notebook reminds me of friends and travel, two things that I’m missing greatly during lockdown. And yes, I’m sad to say that my desktop has become a mess during Covid-19.”
Sebastian Habr, Finance Director
“Work From Home is a work in progress.”
Thanks to everyone from the New York team for sharing their spaces and stories. I am now passing the baton to Phil Dall in Singapore…
Written by Sam Cutler, Creative Director at Design Bridge New York, with stories and photos shared by some of his colleagues.
You can see the Amsterdam edition here.