Architect, furniture designer and business owner Ben Uyeda is insanely inspiring. From democratizing the world of responsible, eco-friendly design to coming up with dozens of new ways to work with basic materials like concrete and metal, he is revolutionizing the concept of making in the home.
Ben’s been a longtime member of the Brit + Co family. Two years ago, he joined us as a DIY contributor and today, we’re pumped to announce the launch of our DIY Concrete Design Class, taught expertly by Ben. Stay tuned for more deets on that!
If you hit us up yesterday, you may have seen my seaside jaunt with this awesome maker. Now, it’s time to learn more about Ben, what inspires him, why he started HomeMade Modern and how he sees the future of making changing in the next decade.
What inspires you? Why do you love to design, create and make?
Seeing how cheap furniture was made from particle board and plastic inspired me to try and create affordable design made from real materials. I get inspired by constraints. I like designing things that can be made with common materials and a limited number of tools. These constraints are inspiring because they define the boundaries of accessibility.
Tell us about HomeMade Modern.
I created HomeMade Modern as a way to deliver design ideas and experiments directly to consumers. Typically financial, manufacturing, and logistical infrastructure separate designers from consumers who experience their work as finished projects. I deliver design in the form of digital media content, which lets me directly interact with consumers.
What’s one piece of advice you’d share with other makers?
Precision can be ugly. The minute we were able to make perfectly formed plastic objects is the minute when we started to appreciate the flaws of hand-hewn natural materials.
Tell us how technology has changed and supported what you do.
The 3D printers in my studio get a lot of attention, but i would argue that things like Pinterest that virally spread visual ideas are far more impactful to my day to day.
What’s on your studio playlist?
This is my new favorite song.
How do you get into the creative flow? How does it feel?
When I wake up I have a coffee and sit down with my sketchbook. No social media or emails, just caffeine and ideas.
What do you love about teaching people to make? And inspiring people who don’t think they are traditionally creative?
Anytime I show someone how to make something there is a good chance they will show me how to make differently or better. I like teaching because a shared idea is one that others can improve upon.
We love the idea of looking at teaching and learning as a way of constantly iterating and improving on ideas, design and craft. Looking for more concrete action? Here are FIVE more ways for you to get up close and personal with Ben Uyeda.
LEARN: Take Ben’s Concrete Design class! In under an hour, you’ll learn everything you need to know about creating your own objects and custom molds using concrete.
FOLLOW: Follow Ben and his DIY adventures on Instagram @benjaminuyeda.
MAKE: Check out Ben’s archive of DIY projects here on Brit + Co!
WANDER: Take a seaside walk with Ben and yours truly as we explore the Ferry Building, Exploratorium and Hard Water here in San Francisco.
Know a maker who’s got a story to tell? Or perhaps one that would make an awesome teacher? Send a note my way or leave us a comment below.