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I Spy Series: Design, Bitches

In our new series, I Spy, we highlight unique perspectives, designs, furniture, architecture, and people. When so much of the design world can feel monotonous, we search for and share moments that make you look and think twice. Think of I Spy as your one-stop-shop for everything bold, different, and beautiful.

I’m incredibly excited to commence the I Spy series with the super talented LA-based studio, Design, Bitches. Founders Catherine Johnson and Rebecca Rudolph have backgrounds in architecture, but you’ll find they’ve worked on projects of all shapes and sizes—spanning from a satirical photography to menu design to creating the entire design concept for restaurants.

Their designs have a propensity for color, texture, and personality. Each project never feels the same as their last and always original—which is exactly what makes us fans. You could imagine our excitement when we spotted our barstools in one of their restaurant designs. With that, we knew we needed to tap their wildly creative brains to get their perspective on design, inspiration, and creating unique spaces.

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AR: We really admire how you guys create fresh, modern spaces that don’t feel overly trendy. Where do you guys find your design inspiration?

DB: We find design inspiration everywhere and in all periods of design and style. We try to look across the cities we’re working in. Music, fashion, art also provide inspiration. Living in LA, we’re surrounded by a lot of Art Deco, but we love looking at interesting uses of materials throughout time. We’re inspired by things outside the design community and also our contemporaries.

Things like nature, the built environment, light qualities that exist, how materials react to being in those environments over time, sun-bleached colors, how materials wear overtime, roughness combined with more refined elements—we also look at those small elements for inspiration.

JOLIET-nongla-hi-9605.jpgNong La designed by Design, Bitches

AR: Speaking of time periods, is there one era that you like the most?

DB: No, it changes with each project; we may find a special brick pattern, a book that particularly looks unique. Every project is very specific to the food being made, the clients' needs, the cities. I think it also kind of stems from our interests as architects—creating places that become a part of people’s lives so they revisit them on a daily basis. We love when guests discover interesting things about the space every time they visit.

AR: What do you think is the most important element of restaurant design?

DB: A Symbiotic relationship with the food is important. We're creating a place not just a space to eat in. We often ask, “How can the environment build upon the experience? Where does it exist in the world? What was going on in that neighborhood 30 or 100 years ago?” We try to tap into those things as if the place had grown out of what it was or could have been.

Little Octopus Merano Barstools with Booth.jpg LIttle Octopus designed by Design, Bitches featuring Merano Barstools

AR: We were thrilled to see our Merano Barstools in the Nashville restaurant Little Octopus. The final design is beautiful! What did Little Octopus tell you about their brand and their goals that you wanted to reflect in the interior design?

DB: The food is Caribbean-influenced, and the owners loved traveling there. The owners wanted a space that allowed you to “feel the essence of the food.” Colors, reflection, lights, the edge of the water where it hits sand--they wanted it to be a space that felt unique to Nashville.

The owners also have an interest in art, and their goal was to create an almost gallery-like space, keeping the palette really simple so that they could bring in paintings and photography.

JOLIET-buttonmash-final-7511.jpgButton Mash designed by Design, Bitches

AR: Are there any restaurant design trends you would like to see die?

DB: Reclaimed wood used inappropriately and tall bar tables floating in the middle of a space, only because we’re short!

For all of Design, Bitches work, check out their website at: http://designbitches.com/. If there’s a topic you’d like to see highlighted, email areynolds@grandrapidschair.com with your suggestions.