All designers face the pressure of creating something new—remaining relevant in an ever-changing design industry. In fact, it’s a common theme running through the showfloor here at NeoCon 2019. Iris Wang from Brentano has her own thoughts on this topic and shares her process with me as well as the new Clear Water Collection.
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Christoph Trappe: Hello, everyone. It’s Christoph Trappe, chief content officer at interiors+sources. Still reporting from NeoCon.
We’re back at the Brentano suite, now talking with Iris Wong, she’s the founder and artist director here at Brentano. Iris, thanks for joining us for this episode.
Iris Wong: Hello, everyone. This is Iris.
Christoph: So, the reason we’re talking—so I saw Brentano at HD Expo, which was just a couple weeks ago. So, I walked right into the booth, and I said to them, “What’s new?” Because that was just two weeks ago.
And they said, “Well, there’s all kinds of things new. Take a look at this, and this, and this.” And Iris, maybe first of all, talk about what’s new and then let’s talk about after that, about the trend to always keep up, to always create new things.
But first of all, very high-level, what’s new at NeoCon?
Iris: We have our Clear Water Collection introduced in this NeoCon. And it’s an idea about conservation and have water to be able to stay clean and all that. And that was always in my mind.
I’ve been wanting to do a theme like this for a long time. So, in a way, this collection led by the theme.
With my painting background, I decided to paint a pattern now, it’s made into fabric called the Fontane, but it’s about water is so clear that you see beautiful, the reflection of the greens. So, that is the theme.
With the collection comes a lot of outdoor and water-inspired paintings that into fabrics or patterns and weavings and all that.
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Christoph: So, one thing that’s, of course, we talked about before we went on the show here is there’s always a need to create new things. I mean I’ve talked to maybe—I don’t even know how many—feels like a week-long worth of appointments.
But everyone’s talking about, ‘This is new, and this is new, and we launched this yesterday and this is launched in the next two weeks.’
And there’s always something new. In fact, one person I said, “What’s new this year?” Just kind of a habit, I guess, of a journalist. And they said, ‘Oh, that’s not new, but that’s updated. So, it’s kind of new.’
So, talk about the race to always create new and where do you find that balance to not just create stuff to create stuff, but to stay meaningful?
Iris: Things are new usually brew in my mind for a long time. Many of them are in 10 years, but there are many of them. So, by the time you bring them out, it’s a new product. But most of the times are actually a lot of ideas in my mind. But I have so many of them, so they’re all lining up, year after year, to eventually…
Fabrics are to me sort of an art. It doesn’t just happen. It has to brew and mature and then actually find a right media to make it happen. So, it’s a process, but the main reason is because I have many, many inspirations and they don’t dry out because I have a huge reservoir of ideas.
Christoph: You just keep going. And so, we have designers listening who are early in their career. Any tips for them to not feel overwhelmed?
Iris: I do meditation a lot on Sundays. I actually teach meditation. You need to learn to almost like a philosophy about life and all that, to really keep focused on what you do, and then understand a priority. And then stay calm. And these are a few tricks that I use.
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Christoph: So, don’t feel overwhelmed, keep the ideas in the back of your mind…
Iris: I actually have a very important point, is that no matter how many things you have, you always deal with one at a time. So, when you’re dealing with that one, that’s all you deal with. And then after this one is done, give all the attention and then I go for next.
But I don’t waste time. I don’t do unnecessary distractions. I stay focused and deal with them one at a time. And they actually go pretty quick, rather than—because if you think five at a time, it’s really overwhelming. But if it’s one at a time, it’s pretty good.
Christoph: So, you don’t look at it as work?
Iris: No. No, I enjoy what I do a lot.
Christoph: So, one step at a time, of course, things are moving faster and faster I think in every industry nowadays.
Iris, thank you for sharing those insights on our podcast. I was joined by Iris Wong. She’s the founder and artistic director at Brentano.
Thanks everyone for listening. Christoph Trappe, chief content officer at interiors+sources. Still at NeoCon in Chicago.
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