BOH caught up with designer Josh Greene to discuss the inspiration behind his debut furniture collection with Dowel.
Tell us what you were trying to convey with this collection.
The collection is in six different finishes of oak and was inspired by three 20th-century design icons: Charlotte Perriand, Carl Springer and Michael Taylor. There are references to all of them throughout the collection. All of the pieces are made in the Philippines and can be finished in any paint color that you want. I wanted it to be able to work in any environment—my goal was for the pieces to be simple enough that it was obvious that they had good, clean design behind them, but to not be so loud that they couldn’t go in different styles of work. I have a lot of friends who are interior designers and I wanted my pieces to be able to work for all of them and not just fit one aesthetic.
Did that make you feel extra pressure, trying to design with your friends in mind?
No, I think it excited me. I felt confident knowing which pieces we all need, regardless of the aesthetic—a lot of pieces started out based on proportions that I often struggled to find for my own projects. I began with a coffee table that is 60 inches square, which is huge, but when you have two sofas in a living room, you really do need a table that big I also found that I was always looking for a small, nice nightstand to squeeze into New York apartments. I started with those fundamentals, then started thinking about the design.
There are six pedestals in this 23-piece collection. What was behind that choice?
Pedestals are something I always struggled to find. I either had to search for vintage ones or have something custom made. When I started working on the line, I joked about doing 26 different pedestals and they thought that was a little crazy. But since we’ve unveiled the collection, I can’t say how many people have mentioned the pedestals to me and said that they have also had a hard time finding them. Each pedestal is named with a reference to a design hero of mine, and all of the furniture is named after places that were significant to my life.
It sounds like you’d had these ideas for years and you’d been waiting to turn them into reality.
Because my work is so often about budgets and client management, I liked the idea of having a purely creative endeavor and being able to let my mind wander. Dowel’s specialty is wood, so when this opportunity came about, I loved the idea of having the collection be all oak. I was able to meet my desire to do some sculptural shapes with wood and get those pieces I felt like I had been looking for.