The Inspiration Behind LookBook Vol. 3

Our LookBook Vol. 3 is now available, and we think it's our best yet.  Dramatically different than our previous installments, this LookBook is dripping in rich color, texture, and story. In honor of our best yet, we sat down with Lindsay Jones, designer, resident cool girl, and creative genius behind LookBook Volumes 1, 2, and now 3Learn about what places and spaces inspired the LookBook, how color informs her work, and what restaurants should never include in their design.

Question 1_NeoCon.jpgGrand Rapids Chair Company Showroom, NeoCon 2017, Designed by Patrick Thompson Design

Q:  Lookbook Vol. 3 is noticeably different from the previous installments. What was the inspiration behind this new, saturated look?

We were strongly influenced by Italian design studios, color trends, and spaces at the Salone del Mobile in Milan this year, including Studiopepe and Maxdesign. Dean from Grand Rapids Chair attended the show and did a great job capturing the highlights. One of the things we noted was a shift in color trends from pastels and light neutrals toward very, very dark walls or bold, saturated jewel tones.

We also took some inspiration from Patrick Thompson Design’s NeoCon 2017 showroom concept to give it a bit of a ’70s-inspired look at times. You can see this in our choice of Honey Yellow metal and the mirror cubes we borrowed[KL1]  for our Leo Chair image. Their upholstery specifications were already very similar to what we envisioned for a few shots for the LookBook, so it was fun to reference the GRCC showroom presentation at NeoCon.

 Question 2_Harper.jpgHarper X-base Chairs, Orbit Table

 Q: Do you have a favorite shot in Look Book Vol. 3, and if so, why?

LJ: It would have to be this Harper Chair spread because it was so exciting to see it come together on set. We love how rich and striking the background color, texture, and product materials turned out. The leather upholstery really shows off the luxurious side of the of the line, and the black marble Orbit Table tops are just to die for. It translates as a cozy, moody breakfast nook from an upscale boutique hotel.

Question 3_Finishes.jpgGrand Rapids Chair Finishes & Options

Q: As a designer, are there any rituals or routines you follow while creating?

LJ: I like to find ways to move the brand forward and to challenge myself creatively, experimenting with concepts we haven’t tried before. The team here at
Square One Design always provides a lot of inspiration and direction.

One of the things we strive for when planning for each LookBook is to envision settings for finishes that we haven’t shown for a particular product. This helps us keep exploring fresh options to show off the versatility of each line. With so many wood and metal finishes at our reach, there is always a new combination to showcase.

We also make an effort to mix styles so that images feel timeless, yet of the moment. For example, we might choose a color palette with a vintage feeling or upholster chairs in plush velvet, while still referencing the present by combining these elements with clean lines and modern styling.

Question 4_Color.jpg

Q: In the new LookBook, colors range from bright yellow to grey to blush to aubergine. How does color inform your work?

LJ: Color is very important to me personally. From backgrounds to upholstery, I deliberately choose colors with a bold personality that can tell a story about the product line and the larger brand. It’s a visceral experience.  

For Grand Rapids Chair, I like to use unexpected color combinations that show off the versatility of the products and finishes or contrast against a strong background palette. The new metal finishes they added this year, including Dusty Blue and Copper Brown, gave us even more options to play with.

Our stylist Jan Bridgman and DVDP photography helped us play off this trend throughout the LookBook, creating monochromatic texture wall panels and backgrounds to give the impression of more permanent settings and to add dimension. It’s definitely a departure from our previous LookBook photography, which featured a wide range of colors, but always on a white backdrop.

Question 5_Personal.jpgBouquet Calendar, Lindsay Jones

 Q: What’s your favorite color palette right now?  

LJ: Even though we’re creating a vision for the Grand Rapids Chair brand, little bits of our own personal preferences and individuality do creep in. I’ve been loving colors like mustard, dusty rose, emerald, burgundy, and peacock blue, and other rich colors with a touch of grey. And I admit, I see some parallels between the LookBook Vol. 3 palette and my 2017 Bouquets Calendar floral illustrations.

I’m also digging Grand Rapids Chair’s new blog post on color trends, which overlaps with some of my current favorites and has given me a few new directions to explore.

Question 6_Unappetizing.jpgLittle Octopus, Design, Bitches, Bar Botanique

 Q: There seems to be a limitless supply of unique colors and cool textures and finishes available today. Are there any color combinations that are foolproof for dining spaces, or any that are…unappetizing?

LJ: If you want a never-fail solution, it’s always safe to focus on one strong brand color paired with neutrals. But interiors that make a lasting impression on me personally aren’t afraid to go for unexpected combinations and bright, unapologetic hues.

When it comes to dining spaces, natural finishes and wood always give a warmth to the space. Tactile surfaces, like shiny metals or natural stone, engage all of the senses really add to the dining experience.

As far as what’s unappetizing in dining spaces…one word: carpet.

 Question 8_Design.jpgMiddleton Cafe by Studio Tate

Q: What commercial interior design trends are you really into right now?

LJ: There are quite a few that have caught my eye: unusual light fixtures, mixing wood or stone finishes, and adding life to spaces with plants and florals. I also like the trend of using outdoor furniture inside if it fits the needs and personality of the space to bring that patio feel to indoor spaces. This is something the new Opla line would be really well-suited for.

Other things I’ve noticed are spaces that play with scale, use beautiful raw materials, or take risks to make a unique impact with something like a colorful patterned wallpaper. These choices become very iconic for customers and further shape the brand of the restaurant or business.        

Question 8_Design 4-1.jpg

Then there are some things that never go out of style. For example, I’ve noticed the resurgence of terrazzo stone surfaces. We designed a custom terrazzo Formica tabletop paired with a base in one of the new metal finishes to show off the modern Brady Chair in this year’s LookBook. Grand Rapids Chair pointed out a few other timeless trends in one of their recent blog posts.

 Question 8_Design 3.jpgThimble Stool, Half Hurdle Chair

Q: What are your predictions for 2018 interior design trends?

LJ: It looks like colors are continuing to get darker, brighter, and more saturated. I’m also seeing a trend toward product design like the playful, minimalist work from Australian studios like Dowel Jones. We featured their incredible Hurdle seating line in the LookBook, which is so versatile and adds a modern, yet approachable touch to any space. My favorite interior design magazines all come from Australia. The design scene there feels very fresh to me, and it’s an aesthetic I think will continue to influence others around the world. I absolutely can’t wait to visit Melbourne someday!

Q: What interior design trends are you hoping dies?

LJ: One trend I hope dies is blindly following trends, regardless of whether they align with your brand’s personality. I’d advise people to seek out creative studios who will help create an interior experience based on what makes the business unique and bring that out through color palette, product selection, and finishes. If you follow too many trends, you run the risk of looking like every other restaurant on the block or putting an obvious time stamp on the brand.

 Restaurant furniture

finishes and options

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