Shop from Home with Cuff StudioAuthor:Lindsey Shook
Kristi Bender and Wendy Schwartz—the powerhouse design duo behind LA design firm Cuff Studio—have been curating homes and hospitality spaces for almost 13 years. Since 2016, the driving force behind their collaborative creativity is a dynamic collection of modern furniture, lighting and wallcovering that has quickly become a major source of success for their business. We spoke with the team to uncover what is currently keeping their inspiration and business alive.
–What is giving you the most hope right now? (Kristi) The clean air in LA! Doubtful that it will stay this clean, but everybody on our team is out walking every day, multiple times per day. Also the walking and reconnecting with our husbands before the kids wake up for remote learning, taking our dogs out and catching up on podcasts, or in the case of our product manager, Amy, working her way up to a jog to keep up with her daughter who practices her dribbling skills.
–Is there anything you discovered while in isolation that is inspiring your work? (Wendy) Reinvigorated creativity. Sure, there are the demands of daily responsibilities and chores that come along with being mothers and business owners, and these have multiplied during the pandemic. But pre-pandemic, we schlepped a lot—to games, clients’ homes, school pick ups, parties—trying to making it home in time to catch dinner. Now, there seems to be a bit more space and flexibility, more freedom to ignore what day or time it is and this openness allows us to dive deeper and think broader. Back to clean air – it’s as if the clouds have cleared and the blue sky is our canvas to create.
–How do you believe the pandemic will change the design of a home? (Wendy) We think it will change in many ways. To start, it will be more function-forward. Who needs a guest room if you rarely have guests and have loved working out from home? Maybe people will make that guest room a wellness sanctuary, mini gym, endorphin feeder or a home office. Secondly, we envision more mindful purchasing. We’ve all seen the amounts of nature foraging by people who have their local florists delivering weekly. We think that there will be a newfound joy in cautiously creating more thoughtful and less wasteful moments in the home. Filling a console with a collection of impersonal accessories or fussy florist provided bouquets, will be a thing if the past. Carefully prioritizing, choosing, mindfully selecting what goes on that console, on that wall, on your kitchen island will be part of the design equation.
–What have you changed in your day-today process as a result of working remotely, that you will continue to maintain? (Kristi) More time on social media. Really evaluating not only what we communicate on our feeds but cultivating relationships, supporting other makers and designers and using direct message constantly to say hello and check in. In fact, motivated by the amount of time we spend on other Instagram feeds, we were inspired to host an informal Zoom with 25 designers and makers, whom we have never met face to face. We figured that we can compliment them—as we do on comments—but in person and with a cocktail in hand.
–Which LA restaurant do you miss the most? (Wendy) At the beginning of the pandemic, we missed the freedom to go where we wished and personal connections, more than missing a particular restaurant. We have missed sitting around the communal table at our studio with keyboards clicking away, eating our snacks and breaking out into conversation. So, we delivered make-your-own pizza kits with a bottle of wine and homemade biscottis to each and every member of our team for what we have dubbed ‘Cuff Curbside’. While it wasn’t the same as sharing a meal at the studio, it was amazing to see everybody and connect over something physical. Plus no traffic made it possible to explore new neighborhoods and drop off to everybody’s homes in record time.
–Any fun movies you enjoyed while in isolation? (Kristi) We all watched and loved The Last Dance on Netflix. It re-ignited the athletes and scrappy survivors in all of us. Michael Jordan’s work ethic, his hopefulness, his drive to bring out the best in others was the perfect reminder to us. We have also been watching—and forcing our kids to watch—90s movies like Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Adventures of Babysitting, and Overboard.
–What are you the most thankful for right now? (Kristi) Camaraderie. Whether its supporting other makers and small businesses in the design community via Instagram shares and sourcing for projects. Or, within the context of home life where shared family meals aren’t always pleasant—kids tired of same old meal, debates on excessive screen time, sometimes if we are lucky, info on their new online corona crush—but shared and together, nonetheless. We launched a collection at the start of 2020 called Common Ground, as we were tiring of the polarization of our nation and noticing design element threads that bring together, unite. Ironically, here we are now finding common ground not only within our design community but in our neighborhoods, in our homes, everywhere! This camaraderie, trust and in some cases newly formed friendships, are true gifts.
SHOP FROM HOME WITH CUFF STUDIO: We moved into our own studio/showroom at the end of 2019 because the Cuff Studio collection was growing and we needed a location for potential clients to come see pieces in person. Lucky for us, our Hollywood studio has entrance we share with makers Bradley Duncan Studio and Estudio Persona. It’s a one-stop-shop for all things beautiful. Here are some of our favorite pieces from Cuff Studio, along with a few from our alley mates.
–The Arc Armchair by Cuff Studio
-The Rope Wrapped U by Cuff Studio
–U Bench by Cuff Studio
–Sulfur Sun Bowl by Bradley Duncan
–Paddle Table by Cuff Studio
–C Back Counter Stool by Cuff Studio
–Arc Console by Cuff Studio x Bradley Duncan
–Arrow Table by Studio Persona
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