Designer Talks: Neil Cohen
Neil Cohen applies his serendipitous and playful style to designs in metal, crystal and lighting for Nambé. Cohen's product designs for Nambé are cohesive in functionality and aesthetic. His refined designs are works of art that can be used every day sparking curiosity and intrigue. He has been featured in the prestigious 30 under 30 exhibition in New York and has been chosen for the AIGA's Objects of Design Award. Cohen is giving us a peek into his whimsical designs and the inspiration behind what keeps him ticking.
Do you have a greatest career moment?
Specifically, realizing products from the Equinox by Steuben and Lounge by Nambe' collections, where my intention required and included a strong design that also addressed marketing savvy, UX, engineering, sales, accounting, production and planning for the retailing of the projects.
How do you overcome creative blocks?
My approach includes curiosity, simplicity, alternate routes and patience; those are hallmarks I bring to avoid the creative blocks in every project I build.
Is there one person who you admire or consider to be your greatest mentor or design inspiration?
Ferdinand Piech who headed the development of Porsches little 914 coupe, and RISD's John Behringer who showed me I could unlock a limitless set of possibilities.
Is there one collection that changed everything for you?
Working for Dansk, Nambé, Hoya and Kohler Bath provided tremendous opportunity to be prolific, experimental and productive.
What was it?
There are pieces from each -- the Nambé Rocks Wine Rack and Anvil Fruit Bowls, Star Stream from Steuben, a lighting product for Kohler, each contains the DNA for which I am best known.
My approach includes curiosity, simplicity, alternate routes and patience
Is it hard to strike a balance between your creativity and the objective for commercial success?
No, I find the aspect that excites me the most is to continue exploring and testing the boundaries of creating frank and honest artifacts.
How would you define your personal design aesthetic?
Elegant. Brutal. Playful. Empathetic. Born of well-planned materials.
What is the most challenging aspect of being a Designer who works independently for multiple clients?
The most challenging aspect is asking questions and getting up-to-date answers and receiving requirements and direction that allow you to be creative and profitable.
What advice would you give to young designers who are just starting out in a commercial marketplace?
Find your own voice and understand that design these days could be anything.
If you could do one thing as a designer what would it be?
Window Air Conditioners.