Toby Barratt, Pamela Goddard, and Nik Rust are the founders of Propellor Design in Vancouver, responsible for multiple funky furniture and lighting lines. Here, they share their first memories of design.
Barratt: Making things, and by extension design, have been a constant in my life since I was a kid. My first big self-directed project was when I was 10 years old. I built a large banana costume out of chicken wire and papier-mâché for Halloween. I only got one coat of yellow paint on it before the big day, so it looked a little sad.
Rust: I was a drawer of things as far back as my memory goes, but the earliest memory I have of actually designing something would have to be Easter of grade 1. We were each supposed to create a ‘bonnet’ for the Easter parade, and despite the reams of colorful crepe paper and other materials available, I made a bonnet that consisted of a flat cutout of an Easter egg at the end of a straw which was stuck into the top of an upside down Styrofoam coffee cup (which was meant to be worn on the head fez style). A second straw was jammed through one side of the cup and out the other. I connected the straws where they met inside the cup so that the wearer could reach up, grab the horizontal straw, and push it side to side making the Easter egg on top swing to-and-fro. It was ugly as hell, but I remember the praise heaped on the hat by the teacher and her colleagues as being intensely satisfying.
Goddard: I knew I always wanted to be some sort of artist (ok, after I decided a veterinarian's practice wasn't in the cards for me—too sensitive for some of the less savory stuff). My first design experience was assisting my older sister with our treehouse fort. We would sneak off into the woods so my parents wouldn't catch us doing something so dangerous, nail boards to trees for the floor, and build up from there. My parents were probably right—that thing was rickety, but no harm done.
(Pictured from top left: Toby Barratt, Pamela Goddard, and Nik Rust, the founders of Propellor Design; Dram chandelier; Mycologic light)
--Hospitality Design, sister publication of Contract