Erin: What are you curious about?
Not in the "whoa my ass likes this couch" sense.
I'm interested in that broader overall feeling of well-being.
It seems to manifest when Beauty is born.
Just as balance is approached: materials marry form matching function fitting space.
Your spine tingles.
I'm sure there's a word ancient artisans created to conjure the feeling.
I think we're calling it "design inspiration" but that seems somehow weak, one dimensional.
I only know that when I listen it informs me, offers solutions, makes corrections, dreams up crazy ideas.
Eventually people ask the question "How do you know how to do this?"
Nakashima wrote about searching for the essence, letting the tree tell you what to make.
Fernando Valenzuela breathed through his eyelids like the lizards of the Galapagos.
Maybe that's how.
When it feels "good" I know I'm heading in the right direction.
Erin: Describe your work and describe your process.
Daniel: My work is purposefully utilitarian and I hope unpretentious.
My favorite quote is from a design blog called MVWIdeas:
“There is a divine simplicity to [Moyer's] work that seems to invoke a kind of rugged American nostalgia for the craft of centuries past while remaining incredibly modern. ”
I kind of love that.
My process is simpler still.
It begins curiously with those previously mentioned touchstones: material, form, function, and space.
A beautiful piece of something suggests...
A shape inspires...
A need requires...
The void cries out...
The rest is problem solving, dipping into that well of "design inspiration", allowing the answers to flow, cultivating the balance.
It sounds like crazy magic mumbo-jumbo bullshit.
Of course this should not imply the stuff makes itself.
Supporting the mumbo-jumbo is a time-tested down-to-earth palette of personal standard practice.
“Daniel Moyer’s signature elements- the gentle outward curve of his “shoes+socks” stacked legs, the floating top. a clever mismatch of joinery: a combination of old school mortise and tenon and standard off the shelf hardware, pins and rods and turnbuckles and XL wingnuts...”
— workshop.chic press release april 2013
But this is just my vocabulary.
The magic writes the songs.
(and let's hope it never stops).
Erin: We saw your ottomans at the Affordable Art Fair. How did a collaborative design project like this come about?
My dear friend Mika of Model Citizens NYC was invited to curate a furniture component to support the exhibit.
In the past, AAF simply rented picnic tables and folding chairs for their cafe and lounge and called it a day.
It just happened I was working on a giant sectional day bed/love lounge for the Fire Island roof deck when she called.
We installed the four 5x5 pieces in a row as gallery seating, made canvas slipcovers, "design inspiration" suggested we scatter Sharpie Markers about inviting guests to write, draw, sign in, comment, advertise...whatever.
The results, complete with red wine spills and swear words, were phenomenal.
Totally serendipitous mutually beneficial fun.
[not to mention they were subsequently rented to a future event for real money and all-you-can-eat lobster rolls before their final delivery to FI ]
Kismet is only part of it.
Too simple an answer.
Collaboration is Love.
Love, even or maybe especially among peers, needs to be nurtured.
Treat every encounter with respect.
Honor your connections.
Resist being a dick [ especially when the situation might allow you to be ].
Mika got a bucket.
She knew I might have fun ideas.
The bucket overflowed.
Erin: You started making longboard skateboards from scrap wood from your furniture projects. How have these boards taken on a life of their own?
Daniel: I actually started making scrapwood skateboards in 1975 with oak I pilfered from my father's scrap bin.
I sold four before I ran out of material.
In '06 I was making and riding big longboards back and forth to the old workshop in Greenpoint mostly because the alternative (B48 bus) sucked so badly.
I asked completely sheepishly if it might be OK to show a few in my booth at BKLYNDESIGNS that spring and the rest is history.
Turned out to be really popular to write about.
The 2013 Wall Street Journal review of the NOHONEXT FUNK.CHUBBY installation at Great Jones Cafe was the capper.
FUNKINFUNCTIONLONGBOARDS is no longer simply a sideline.
The whole process has changed my way of planning.
I think much more in terms of developing product lines than before.
Erin: Why did you decide to do furniture design and how did you get started?
Daniel: I never really decided.
I needed a table; I made a table.
I began thinking about how to improve the table.
Erin: We hear you're singlehandedly rebuilding your house on Fire Island. Tell us about it.
Daniel: It's amazing.
Fourteen years ago it was a four bedroom classic cheap-ass share house.
A vinyl-clad shag-carpeted double-wide on stilts in a swamp.
Unhappy after more than thirty years of abuse by seasonal renters.
Even underpriced it had been on the market for a year.
I never imagined we could buy a house.
Jennie-jo made it happen; subprime mortgages helped out.
Very little of the original house remains.
The telephone pole posts and floor joists are all I could point to that anyone could see.
I've touched every square inch personally.
Today it's bright, open and airy.
Completely transformed, top to bottom.
Full of custom furniture and fully loaded with beach house casual luxury.
Jennie-jo would like it to be finished soon.
I'm working on it.
Erin: At your studio, we saw you working with some experimental materials and shapes. Where do you get inspiration from for your projects?
Brooklyn is inspiration.
In terms of materials, there's nothing, no matter how esoteric or odd that isn't available or that someone isn't experimenting with, usually within a few blocks of the workshop.
My friends are all doing crazy, interesting and exciting things.
For me, it's more a matter of resisting the temptation to allow the smorgasbord of materials to shape projects.
I'm much happier and feel more honest when form leads.
Of course, the best is when the seed for the whole package just lands in your lap.
More of that mumbo-jumbo.
Erin: Tell us about your new wooden hammer and why the world needs it.
Daniel: Leaning towards naming it "House Husband's Helper"
It's a very masculine mallet.
Ultimately naturally minimal.
Begging to be used and not too fussy about how.
Culinary in that easy way.
Not afraid to squash bugs.
Erin: What is the most important thing you learned and from whom?
Daniel: My father.
Stay centered and apply yourself fully.
Cutting corners and saving time undermine quality.
Everything you do, even the smallest things, pay back double when you give the best you have.
He walked that walk.
Erin: How has skateboarding changed and evolved in Brooklyn and why is it still great?
Daniel: More people join the push culture every day.
Longboarding as transportation is huge.
It's not "still great"; it's greater.
Erin: If you had one superpower, what would it be?
Daniel: Kill greed.
Erin: What is your dream project?
Daniel: Living it.