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BDI Designer Profile | Matt Weatherly
For over 30 years, BDI has been committed to creating beautiful and functional high-end furniture for the home and office. Delivering the very best in aesthetics, performance, and quality means we must always strive for innovation.
To gain some insight into the creative processes at BDI, we chatted with Associate Design Director Matthew Weatherly to learn a little more about the personal and professional influences that have shaped his design direction.
Weatherly is most well known for the popular Corridor, Tanami, Sequel, and Centro collections.
TELL US ABOUT A FAVORITE CHILDHOOD MEMORY
"I have so many fond memories of visiting my grandparents in Tennessee during the summer months. 'Pa-paw' Weatherly would always take me to this great 1950s-themed convenience store to pick out snacks and Dr. Pepper. Of course, I wasn’t able to articulate it at the time, but these outings gave me a glimpse into how effectively aesthetics can create a sense of time and place."
"There’s something about modern design that just speaks to me."
YOU STUDIED DESIGN AT PRATT INSTITUTE AND THE ROYAL DANISH ACADEMY OF FINE ARTS. WHAT ATTRACTED YOU TO THESE SCHOOLS?
"I was attracted to Pratt's Industrial Design program because of its historical reputation. The campus’s location in New York City certainly didn’t hurt, either!
The study-abroad program in Denmark was an exciting opportunity to live in Europe and learn from one of the leading academic institutions in the fields of architecture, design, and conservation. My time there was truly instrumental to my career as a designer."
WHEN DID YOU FIRST DISCOVER YOUR LOVE FOR FURNITURE DESIGN?
"Flipping through Design Within Reach catalogs in college sparked the beginning of my love for furniture design. There’s something about modern design that just speaks to me."
WHO OR WHAT HAD THE BIGGEST INFLUENCE ON DEVELOPING AND REFINING YOUR DESIGN AESTHETIC?
"My studies in Denmark had the most significant impact on my design aesthetic. I was fortunate to have Erling Christoffersen as my professor, and he introduced me to the works of Danish Modern designers. Arne Jacobsen, Børge Mogensen, Poul Kjærholm, Finn Juhl, Poul Henningsen, and Hans Wegner are among the most influential designers to me."
WHERE DO YOU FIND INSPIRATION WHEN CREATING A NEW FURNITURE DESIGN?
"I gather inspiration from everything ranging from architecture to sci-fi movies. I like for there to be a sense of adventure in my work."
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST DESIGN FOR BDI? WHAT LESSONS DID YOU LEARN FROM IT?
"My first design for BDI was the multi-swiveling Continuum mirror. The project taught me about structural limitations with materials such as steel, wood, and glass. Each project since has taught me something new."
"My design aesthetic can best be described as soft and minimalist, which I believe gives furniture a timeless quality."
HOW HAS YOUR DESIGN AESTHETIC EVOLVED OVER THE YEARS?
"My design aesthetic can best be described as soft and minimalist, which I believe gives furniture a timeless quality. However, my understanding of and appreciation for color have become increasingly relevant in my work."
HOW DO YOU STAY ABREAST OF THE LATEST TECHNOLOGIES, AND HOW DOES THAT INFLUENCE YOUR DESIGN?
"I am always researching technological developments as they pertain to furniture applications. As technology and devices become smaller, I'm interested in finding smarter methods — ergonomics, assembly, day-to-day use cases — to increase human interaction with our products."
HOW DO YOU SEE TECHNOLOGY SHAPING FURNITURE DESIGN IN THE NEXT FIVE TO 10 YEARS?
"I believe we will continue to see furniture applications evolve with the Internet and user-interface technologies. There will continue to be creative methods for how we research, purchase and interact with furniture."
WHAT IS A "BUCKET LIST" DESIGN YOU WOULD LOVE TO WORK ON IN YOUR LIFETIME?
"I would love to dabble in transportation and footwear design, which is something that appealed to me during my college years. I guess that’s my subconscious reminding me that even when we’re on the go, there can be — should be — an aesthetic element."
WHAT IS SOMETHING MOST PEOPLE DON'T KNOW ABOUT YOU?
"I'm a mixed martial artist with over 10 years of experience in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. I have recently immersed myself in Muay Thai kickboxing."
FINALLY, WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT WORKING WITH BDI?
"I love the team I work with. Their creativity and passion are unmatched, and we drive each other to constantly innovate."