Recently appointed one of MAISON&OBJET America's Rising Talents, ceramacist Ben Medansky is quickly becoming one of the industry's top young design stars. Launching Ben Medansky Ceramics in 2010 at just 24 years old, the Arizona native has worked with a variety of clients and collaborated with everyone from Herman Miller and Bergdorf Goodman to world-renowned designer Kelly Wearstler. Check out our Q&A below to learn more about the innovator.
1. Who is your biggest role model?
I’d say my grandma Cookie has been my biggest role model. She taught me to always be making art - every day. She encouraged doodling during phone calls as a great method to let subconscious ideas flow.
2. Which movie or play do you wish you could have designed the set for?
I’d love to update and redesign the set for RENT but have it based in The Bay Area. The issues are still so relevant, but gentrification is a different thing these days.
3. What is the best way to gauge a client’s personality before starting a project?
GTS: Google That Shit! It helps to see the kind of internet presence and aesthetic a client has and what sort of work they’ve done in the past. This is the best way for me to see how I can bring something new to the table.
4. What new design elements are you excited to integrate into your work?
I’m really excited to start working with masonry and reinventing ceramic tiles. I feel there are endless possibilities of sizes and shapes to discover.
5. How do you completely unwind?
Weekend camping trips, especially to Big Sur with my pup!
6. If you hadn't become a designer, which career would you have pursued?
I’d most likely have become a geologist or archeologist. I’m fascinated with both history and science, especially the formation of the earth and rocks.
7. What’s the worst pre-designer job you’ve ever had and why?
I’ve been working for artists since I was young. I got my first apprenticeship at 13 with a glass blower. In high school I worked at Best Buy which has been my only non-design/art job. It was really boring but honestly, it wasn’t so bad because I got great a discount on subwoofer speakers for my truck.
8. What’s your favorite recipe?
Strawberry-Banana Smoothie:Blend 1 banana, 1 cup strawberries, some kale, 1/2 cup each vanilla yogurt and almond milk, 2 teaspoons honey, a pinch of cinnamon and 1 cup ice.
9. Create your perfect playlist for us.
10. Who is your designer crush?
Max Lamb. For me, his work is rooted in the process of the materials which he chooses to play with. The aesthetic outcome is influenced by those experiments. I admire that exploration.
11. Would you rather shop new or vintage?
New- always looking towards the future ( but I’ll take cute hand-me-downs any day!)
12. First celebrity crush?
I loved Topanga from Boy Meets World because of her big lips and her free-as-a-bird personality. But then I realized I was into guys after I saw the D’angelo “How Does It Feel” video!
13. What’s your hidden talent?
I’m pretty good with wheels on my feet, like blades or skates.
14. Best restaurant in your area? Where is it?
For Breakfast- Dinette in Echo Park.
For Dinner - Agashi Gopchang in Korea Town.
15. SF or LA?
Not even a real question! That’s like comparing painting to sculpture. I love living in LA and visiting SF as often as possible.