May 4, 2015
The Designing for the Senses Panel, held last month, motivated us to delve more deeply into the panelists’ thoughts on the topic. So we visited Joshu+Vela’s new space in the Mission to see what Noah Guy, Owner + Designer of Joshu+Vela, has been working on and to continue the #D4TS conversation. We were excited to ask him a few follow up questions.
Tell us about your sensory explorations when designing?
I guess for me sensory explorations rely on touch. I have to choose a material and I am married to it. I order it in hundreds and sometimes thousands of yards at a time. It’s the most important part for me. After the initial infatuation with the design wears off, you are left with this clump of material and whoever grew that fabric and grew those fibers is critically important to the finished product.
Do you believe that the energy invested in that product stays with it?
Absolutely. Each of the elements plays into it, including the energy from the hands that touch the fabric along the way.
In the panel discussion you mentioned that you had to find new ways to use those materials through experimentation over time. What are your criteria when selecting them?
I try and buy the best material for the style it’s going into. So if it’s a canvas tote and the design needs the bag to stand up – I try to get the stiffest, most tightly woven cotton canvas with the best hand that I can find. I think about the person buying and using the bag. Since I can’t yet afford the large minimums of custom weaving, I “pounce” on really good fabric when I find it. Fabric is the body of the bag, so it’s fairly important.
Positive or negative, tell us about which one of your products has produced the most surprising response from customers?
The key hook I did recently has produced a positive response. It’s not widely covered in media and there are very few places to buy it, but people seem to like it, buy it and ask for it.
You’re mostly known for your bags, why do you think your key hook is getting such a positive response?
I think it’s because it’s not really an item you go looking for. It’s an unusual piece, so when people see it, they seem to be drawn to it. I wasn’t expecting that, it took a really long time to produce and I got lukewarm responses along the way as I was designing and sampling. I wasn’t so sure what to expect from the final effort.
What’s next for Joshu+Vela?
3042 16th St
San Francisco, CA 94103
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