HOMETOWN HEROES: DESIGNER GREG BUNTAIN OF FS OBJECTS
FS Objects’s Brooklyn-based founder slash new member of our Hometown Heroes Collective Greg Buntain knows a lot about turning lemons into lemonade—and natural materials into modern love-for-life art objects (and furniture for his signature brand, Fort Standard). We talked with him about random opportunities, the necessity of old notebooks and how a not-so-great economy led to his dream career in design.
How did you get your start as a designer—did you always plan on having your own studio?
I graduated from Pratt in 2008 at the peak of the recession with a degree in industrial design. Since nobody was hiring designers at the time, I fell back on my fabrication skills and built furniture for small Brooklyn-based studios and the New Museum. Then in late 2009, I was given the opportunity to open a men's lifestyle pop-up in Aspen with some friends—so I dropped everything, built a bunch of fixtures in Brooklyn and drove them cross-country in a horse trailer. We managed to build out the store in a week and opened in time for the holiday rush.
I ended up living in Colorado for the next six months, skiing a personal record of 45 days that season! Our shop carried the Swedish brand Fjällräven, and their reps loved how everything looked—so they asked me to design and build out their first U.S. store. That job allowed me to buy a bunch of equipment and start Fort Standard.
What kinds of things inspire you?
Inspiration is constant and comes from every direction. I’m always hyper-aware of my surroundings. My design is largely driven by the intersection of materials and the processes used to form them.
How do you recharge when your inspo’s running low?
I flip through my last sketch book. I think a lot of my best ideas are an accumulation of multiple smaller ideas that eventually find the right way to come together, forming something really special. Great ideas just need time to percolate in your mind before presenting themselves again in the right context.
What’s a typical day like for you?
Things are pretty hectic at the moment since we’re in the process of moving our Brooklyn studio from Red Hook to a larger space in Greenpoint—but in a way, it's no different. I wear a lot of hats and try to keep things and people moving in the right direction.
What advice do you have for someone trying to make it as a creative?
The more time you dedicate to your interests, the more people will come to associate you with them. I started with an opportunity to design and build retail stores, which led to more of that kind of work. After a couple of years, it got to the point where I had to turn down great opportunities just to be able to have the time to focus on what I wanted to do the most.
I also think if you're truly passionate about what you’re doing, you have a much higher chance of succeeding—not too different from the best long-distance runners who might just have a higher tolerance for pain than others.
Thanks, Greg! Shop his creations plus more from our favorite makers right here.