Swiss-born Georg Baehler creates every item for his company, Noir Trading, Inc., the old-fashioned way: with pencil and paper. He and his partner, Stephanie Lu, are the pair behind the furniture manufacturing business headquartered in Gardena, Calif., which opened its doors in 2004.
As the lead designer, Baehler has had his hand involved in designing every item for Noir, which has built an ever-growing collection of home furnishings from cocktail tables and bookcases, to seating and lighting. He gets his inspiration from classic furniture design, the craftsmen that bring his pieces to life and sustainable local materials that are available to work with. Sustainability is a key factor behind Baehler and Lu’s work, as one of Noir’s main goals is to provide products that can last for generations.
Because all of the furniture from Noir is first visualized by Baehler, Noir’s hundreds of products are cohesively designed while still being able to cater to a variety of interior aesthetics. In interiors+sources’ latest Maker Monday installment, learn more about Baehler and his company below.
interiors+sources: How did you get your start in design?
Georg Baehler: By building different products. I started working through an apprenticeship in Europe as an industrial pattern maker. That eventually led to work doing light signs in Plexiglas, and later to building a custom furniture shop in Los Angeles. While working with designers on cabinetry, I had acquired a wealth of wisdom through my years building objects that gave me a distinct approach to design.
i+s: What is your most memorable product or collection you’ve worked on and why?
GB: Every item is memorable to me. I match each design to the capability of both the region and [its] production.
i+s: Describe what a typical work day for you looks like.
GB: First one in. Last one out.
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i+s: Name some must-haves you need or like to have on-hand when starting a new project.
GB: Information. Information of materials, capability, production and from the experience of previous collaboration.
i+s: What challenges you most during your creative process?
GB: Combining different materials and different industries.
i+s: What is your favorite thing in your working environment?
GB: No authority to answer to.
i+s: What’s your favorite color?
i+s: Spring, summer, winter or fall?
i+s: What’s the last photo you took?
GB: Of my daughter.
i+s: If you could travel to one place in the world for free, where would you go?
GB: My home.
i+s: What’s your favorite city and why?
GB: Rome for its historical architecture.
i+s: What do you think is next for the interior design industry?
GB: New technologies. They may be in sales, manufacturing and/or material—particularly those that are environmentally friendly.
i+s: What advice would you give to students studying the design field?
GB: Get practical and start building things for yourself.
i+s: What’s next for you?
GB: To continue providing good design that is affordable to everyone until I retire.
i+s: Where can people find your goods?
GB: Through local furniture stores and interior designers.
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