Y.S Collective talks trends, exciting projects and summer holidays

Describe the past year in 3 words: James–Change, Progress, Coffee; Dan–Really F**king Short; Sam–Products, Spaces, Experiences
It's been a big year for young NZ designers Dan Kamp, Sam Griffin and James McNab.

Furniture and lighting design trio Y.S Collective have made a name for themselves since 2012, when they set up a studio in Mount Maunganui and starting commissioning pieces from craftspeople and manufacturers around the country. 

Then, earlier this year, they turned the business on its head, wrapping up production, and using the brand as a platform to make one-off and limited edition pieces. They also introduced Think & Shift, where they concentrate on commercial and bespoke work for clients such as Lujo, Red Bull and Sleepyhead.

Now the designers have upped sticks and moved their studio from the Bay of Plenty to Auckland to be closer to clients.

We asked them to reflect on the year, predict upcoming design trends and share their design inspiration.

What's been your favourite design achievement/project this year?

Sam: A recent creative studio fit out, for Motion Sickness Studio. We designed everything from the walls to the furniture. See here for more pics.

Mixed Motion Studio. Fitout by Think & Shift

What projects are you most looking forward to?

James:  The release of a unique table we've been designing for Y.S Collective, which combines advanced manufacturing and traditional handcrafted timber in, what we like to think, is a totally new language of form. I’m very excited for this to finally come to life. And watch out for some collaborations with NZ fashion brands, and the unveiling of our recent fitout projects.

Dan: We’ve recently started working with the guys from I Love Ugly. They are an inspiringly successful young New Zealand company and are growing at an amazing rate. I can’t wait to help them to deliver as well on 3D design as they do with their clothing.

Sam: Fast paced, high impact projects with brands who value great design. In particular, I’m really looking forward to being a part of Urbis Designday 2015.

What trends this year made you really excited, and inspired your work?

Dan: This year it's been great to see New Zealand retailers really starting to pick up on the importance of creating experiences for their customers, rather than just filling up every square inch of floor space with racks of product.

James: Pretty much everything coming out of Japan. Designers like Nendo, Naoto Fukasawa, and mA-style architects all design with refinement, simplicity and honesty in everything they touch. On a conscious level, I to try avoid trends where possible, especially with client work as they tend to limit the lifespan of a design. 

Green House, by ma-style architects
Green House by mA-style architects

What new design books/references/websites did you discover this year, that you'd recommend to fellow designers?

Dan: Not new and not necessarily about design, but I have spent a lot of time watching TED Talks this year. There are some truly fascinating things happening in the world and amazing people making them happen. TED Talks is a great platform to hear experts talk about the future in a positive manner, without the all-too-common doom and gloom messages.

James: I really got caught up in the Think & Shift Tumblr feed this year – I find Tumblr blogs are great for inspiration. Also Vice’s MotherboardBehance, and Furniture Served, an online furniture blog. On a separate note, a film called The Human Scale has had a massive impact on my thinking this year.



Who's this year's design hero, and why?

James: it's very close to home, but it'd be hard to look past Nat Cheshire's talk at Semi-Permanent Auckland. He spoke amazingly well and really brought out the potential of the city on an international scale.

What big design trends are we going to see in 2015?

Dan: I think masculine design, for the home, is well due for a bit of renewed interest. Women aren’t the only ones who buy design for their own lives and I think people are starting to remember that. I’m really looking forward to designing for both sexes next year.

James: Smart and efficient NZ manufacturing. Making product in New Zealand is an option more often than people realise, and I think we’ll see more of it in 2015. I would also like to think there will be a greater integration of innovative technologies such as 3D printing in every day, well designed consumer products.

How are you spending the Christmas/summer holidays?

James: Mostly around the beach up north for Christmas with the family, and then looking to get away on the odd camping excursion with friends. 

Dan: It won’t be summer for me. I’ll be travelling around Japan for a few weeks with my partner Ali and two good friends. I’m looking forward to delving into Japan's vibrant culture for a good dose of inspiration and perspective!

Sam: Walking every square inch of Auckland to find all its little gems.