Friends of S6: Colton Brown
Changing from transient, apartment to apartment living to investing in more permanent space for yourself is something many of us dream of, hesitate over, and when we reach that eagerly awaited moment, feel both ecstatic and little overwhelmed.
Today we speak to multidisciplinary designer and creative technologist Colton Brown, who recently moved into his new space in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, about his work, his space, and his approach to setting up his new loft.
How does it feel to finally have your own space and be able to invest more permanently into it?
I feel very lucky to have a space to call home, but there is a part of me resisting the permanence of owning a home. Yet I’ve found that fixing one aspect of life opens up new areas for change to happen. While I no longer move apartments every year, I rearrange my space often, which has given me an appreciation for interior and furniture design.
Do you feel like your background (coming from a digital, music background) has enabled you to look at designing your space differently from someone who comes from an interiors or furniture background? Do you have any requirements from or desires for your space coming from this background?
Modularity is a concept from digital design that I have been thinking a lot about. This is often achieved by designing reusable components that are rearranged as a system as the product evolves. It also tends to lead to same-ness.
Modularity was something I wanted for my space, but not same-ness. I tried to choose pieces that would work well together if they were rearranged, but had enough character to stand alone. Like designing a digital component, function comes just ahead of form. There is room for the superfluous, but never at the expense of function or modularity.
You’ve got experience designing across a range of mediums - from graphic to digital to sound design. Has this influenced the way you look at designing your space?
The way I approach music and sound is very immersive. It’s about getting inside a sonic environment and pushing things forward intuitively. There are certainly more efficient ways of working, but this way I feel personally connected to what comes out. It allows me to trust my decisions.
In the same way, I haven’t drawn or sketched much of my space; I’ve focused on living here and following my curiosity until something clicks. When that happens, I respect it superstitiously. I feel that if a design decision can withstand a lot of change, and a lot of versions of myself, it’s probably good.
What was the first thing you did when moving into the new space?
For some inexplicable reason my neighbors have a full grown Macaw which is extremely loud. In the first few days here I soundproofed my door with $20 of weather stripping from the hardware store. Peace and quiet, number one.
After setting up, was there a part of the space you were particularly excited about or satisfied with?
I really love the nook created by the softwall partition. One one side is my workspace which is separated from the rest of the apartment. On the other side is a cozy eating nook at the head of the dining table which is where I usually eat breakfast.
During the day, rays of sunlight illuminate the wall, and in the evenings the ambient light from the desk lamp peeks through into the dining area.
Any favorite pieces in the new space?
Modus Dining Chairs are comfortable, strange and distinctive. The aged black leather really elevates the whole space.
S6 Coast Table is beautiful, simple, and sets the stage for an inspiring work area while adding warmth and character.
Molo Softwall is versatile and unusual, letting light filter through while adding privacy and partitioning the space.
Ligne Roset Togo is a crowd pleaser and people tend to have an opinion about it before sitting on it. I love the deep green velvet upholstery.
On a separate note, what’s the best piece of design advice you’ve received?
When designing a personal space, the ultimate purpose is to support and enhance your life. Things like making toast, taking your shoes off, and gazing out the window are as important as supporting productivity and hosting friends. So at the beginning of setting up a new space, when you have not made any big decisions yet, the best thing to do is simply live your life, and take it step by step.
Finally, are there any projects you’re working on currently?
I’m studying speaker design and working on an EP. @coltonbrwn