Travel halfway around the world and you’ll likely find the same stores you have back home. That can be comforting. But it’s a bit bland. Independent design Studio Gorm in Eugene offers a unique collection of limited-run furniture, lamps and other household products.
John Ardnt and Wonhee Jeong met as design students in the Netherlands. He’s from Wisconsin. She’s from South Korea. They worked on social and environmental projects in rural India and now teach at the University of Oregon. They bring a think-globally-design-locally approach to their work.
Consider their Flow Kitchen prototype. Created for living efficiently and green in small spaces, the unit incorporates cutting boards made of natural antimicrobial beech wood, a worm compost for scraps, a drip-dry dish rack that also waters edible plants, and cool clay bins for storing fresh fruits and vegetables without refrigeration. It won’t get owners off the grid but will lead a few baby steps from it.
The husband and wife created tables and chairs from Oregon woods that can be stored in pieces on wall pegs and easily assembled when extra seating is required. The inspiration is part traditional Quaker furniture and part modern sculpture, and fills a need for flexible furniture in small spaces.
Their pleated plastic Cloud Lamp makes a dramatic statement hanging from a ceiling and can be folded flat for storage. A recycled wool felt Construction Quilt, lined with dense foam, transforms from blanket to couch cover to play fort by creative kids. They also designed a pretty porcelain Hat Lamp with integrated wood tray perfect for catching keys or coins on a hall table or nightstand.
“Our goal is to create simple products that are useful,” Ardnt says.