Lichen is an amazing furniture shop and design incubator down the road from us here in Brooklyn, NY. We've been big fans since they opened in 2017, and we've been lucky enough to befriend the owners Jared Blake and Ed Be over the past couple of years. Since launching, they've done a remarkable job of presenting beautiful, highly coveted, historically significant furniture in a way that's accessible and inviting. In a world that can be stuffy and intimidating, it's a very refreshing perspective to come across.
When we connected last year and began exploring the idea of collaborating on a product, we were excited to find shared interests and perspectives on how and why products get designed and produced. We both love simple products that are in some way greater than the sum of their parts, enhancing the spaces and lives of their owners in ways that have unexpectedly outsized impact.
Over the course of the past six months, we teamed up on the design and development of a simple, satisfying cork vessel that can help tie together any space and bring some plant life inside. We're very happy to share the Cloud Planter here.
We caught up with Jared to get his insight on products, collaboration, and what's next for Lichen.
What do you prioritize when you're designing and developing a new product like the Cloud Planter?
All of the designs and developments we have a hand in should make a change for the betterment of the end user - or it has to challenge their prior conception of what a specific product could be.
What makes a new product satisfying and successful in your eyes?
Any product that feels like it solves a problem...Design can be like a crossword puzzle where products fit cohesively with one another seamlessly. The Cloud Planter solves the relationship between indoor and outdoor life.
What's your favorite part about collaborating?
Bringing two parties’ thought processes together for a single idea then pushing that idea to life. We always knew we’d work with the Craighill guys on something but we never forced any concepts; this collab came together very organically over time.
How do plants fit into your lives, both at home and in the shop?
One thing we realized when setting up shop in our early days was that rugs and plants complete a space. You can buy everything well-curated and styled nicely but something will always always always be amiss without plant life. Every time.
What is it about cork that draws you to it as a material?
The Cloud Planter is made of cork and cork is 100% naturally sustainable. We’re working diligently to create timeless products that can last and continue taking strides to keep the environment in mind.
Are there any particular product types that you're excited to work on that you haven't embarked on yet?
We’re excited to be working with resin very soon. Christine Espinal, one of our talented design members, has recently started working with resin as a medium. There’s a special opacity and softness that we can’t achieve with any of the other materials that we work with.
You and your team have done a great job of communicating a philosophy around making design more inclusive, inviting, and accessible. How do these values inform the work you do on a daily basis?
Empathy within our designs is a constant factor. Price, Product, Texture, and Form. Our usage of materials is often an afterthought as we tend to start from our desired price point and work backwards.
Lichen 2022, what's in the works?
2022 will be about continuing to deal the hand that we’re dealt. We didn’t plan on being here in this capacity 3 years ago. Our impact is spreading throughout many industries, interior design pages, and facets of lifestyle. We hope to continue to show that we have you in mind. Also, maybe some printed matter...