Every designer is only as good as their tools. For some, that’s a pencil and paper, for others that’s a table saw, and for some it’s a paintbrush and canvas. But in the case of young, emerging designers, it’s often also something like Samsung’s new, multipurpose Galaxy Z Flip 5G. The device features a dual-camera setup with an ultra-wide 12MP sensor and 12mm-equivalent f/2.2-aperture lens, as well as an LED flash, making it a powerful creative implement and design aide. To prove it, Samsung commissioned artworks and furniture from Mexican painter Luisa Salas, Brooklyn design incubator Lichen, and Brooklyn interior designer and shop owner Maggie Holladay of Claude Home. And to maximize the impact of those commissions, the company has also partnered with Complex and world-famous auction house Sotheby’s to sell those works. Even better, the proceeds will go to non-profit organizations of each designer’s choosing, including the International Rescue Committee, the Black Interior Designers Network, and The Loveland Foundation. To learn a little bit more about Luisa, Lichen, and Maggie, we swung by their respective design studios to see how their auction pieces were progressing. While there, we also got their backstories and learned how the Galaxy Z Flip 5G helps them work.
LUISA SALAS, PAINTER AND DESIGNER, MÉRIDA, YUCATÁN, MÉXICO
Luisa is a painter, muralist, and designer who’s exhibited her work in galleries and museums around the world. For Samsung’s upcoming Design in Mind Sotheby’s auction, she created Striving for Balance, a 31.5” x 50" acrylic painting on canvas. When we talked to Luisa, this is what she had to say about her work, inspiration, and auctioning her painting for the International Rescue Committee.
Luisa on Design Work Influencing Her Painting:
“As a designer, I find it super important to apply my background knowledge to art. I've found that balance can be easily found on an art piece whenever you use structure as a base, as well as visual guides and basic color harmony principles. On the contrary, through art, I've been able to learn the importance of freedom and spontaneity, as well as the importance of paying attention all around you and finding inspiration within.”
Luisa on Combining Contemporary Art with Mexican Refinement:
“I’m definitely always grabbing bits and pieces from both categories. I find it really important to reflect not only the place where I come from, but also the raw colors of the place I live in, and the vibrancy of my people. But at the same time, I've always felt a profound responsibility to show the refined side of Mexico that most people are not even aware exists.”
Luisa on Unexpected Inspiration:
“I recently found a heavy source of inspiration in vintage anime like Dragon Ball Z and Sailor Moon [laughs]. The color compositions, the aesthetic of it, and overall the good memories it brings me from much easier times have definitely impacted some of my latest works. Other than that, I would say music is definitely an influence on my art. Sometimes I try to draw in line with the melodies or frequencies that I get from listening to abstract jazz, soul, or hip-hop.”
Luisa on Auctioning 'Striving for Balance' for Charity:
“I've never had my pieces auctioned before. It’s exciting! But every year, I definitely try to help and get involved in as many charities and organizations as I possibly can, mostly by donating my artworks for them to be applied to products or campaigns that will eventually help people or causes in need. It feels incredible to be able to have this piece auctioned for such a nice cause. Not only does this charity help my own community, but the global reach they have is mind-blowing. I'm grateful to be able to help their missions for sure.”
LICHEN, DESIGN INCUBATOR, BROOKLYN, NEW YORK
Jared Blake and Ed Be founded Lichen as a Brooklyn-based design incubator and vintage furniture store in 2017. Since then, Lichen has grown as both a business and a community, with Jared and Ed expanding from furniture merchants to furniture designers in their own rights. Inspired by Postmodern design and the Memphis Milano era, the duo pioneered the creation of their own, round table style, engineering it to make living easier—and roomier—in cramped New York apartments. For the Design in Mind auction, the Lichen team made a round marble/granite dining table set on maple veneer legs. Recently, we talked to Jared and Ed to get their thoughts on Lichen’s growing business, creating their own furniture, and donating their auction proceeds to the Black Interior Designer’s Network.
Lichen on Their Growing Business:
“Lichen is already outpacing our expectations. As we grow, we continue to set the bar higher and higher. It’s no longer about simply flipping furniture. It’s also about pushing design forward while educating our consumer along the way.”
Lichen on Being a Design Incubator:
“We’re an interior design incubator because we’re versatile in our style. We’re not classically trained in interior design or the fine arts. This has led us to be open to all eras of design. We take historical designs and thoughts on interiors, merge them with new designers and thoughts, and meld them together into our idea of contemporary living.”
Lichen on Designing Their First Table:
“Our first design was actually a coffee table and we arrived at the design purely due to empathetic reasons. Space is a luxury in New York City and even the nicest of apartments lack the square footage to accommodate a traditional sized coffee table. Our clients were always asking for a smaller, clean-lined coffee table to make space transition seamlessly between their living room and kitchen or bedroom. And we couldn’t locate these tables quickly enough. This marble dining table that we’ve completed for the Samsung project is a reaction to the idea that space is luxury.”
Lichen on Supporting the Black Interior Designer’s Network:
“We chose Black Interior Designer’s Network to support opportunities in interior and furniture design where we are underrepresented. While it is important to highlight BIPOC designs and designers, we don’t want to be known simply because we are of color, but because we actually do great work and have ideas that will transcend outdated ideas and methods of interior and furniture design.”
MAGGIE HOLLADAY, DESIGNER AND OWNER OF CLAUDE HOME, BROOKLYN, NEW YORK
Maggie began her career in fashion, developing an eye for shape and color that she eventually transferred to her current work as a designer and seller of vintage and unique housewares and furniture via her Claude Home shop. For the Design in Mind project, she created the Lou Chair, a Scandinavian-inspired piece made from bleached white oak and shearling. Earlier this fall, we spoke with Maggie, who was kind enough to share her thoughts on showcasing contemporary artists at her store, her sources of inspiration, and why she wants to donate her auction proceeds to The Loveland Foundation.
Maggie on Working With Young Contemporary Artists at Claude Home:
“I think it’s really important to showcase a lot of contemporary creatives and young artists, especially with my growing platform. It’s essential to me that I give these artists an opportunity to grow and get their work out there, by being able to promote them with my following on social media. I’m extremely grateful to be able to share the work of up and coming and new designers and artists. Giving them an additional platform as part of my own has been one of the most rewarding parts of my job.”
Maggie on Her Inspiration:
“Ninety-nine percent of the time when I’m designing something, a lot of the inspiration comes from a vintage piece. I love to make a vintage item more current by changing the fabric or wood stain color without removing its history. When I design a newer, more modern piece, I design so that 50 years from now it will still be appreciated, so it will still be timeless in a way.”
Maggie on Designing for Charity:
“It feels amazing being able to create something that’s going back to a cause that's important to me, especially knowing that this is one of the first pieces that I’ve really designed. Knowing that this piece is going to somebody’s home who not only wanted the piece, but wanted to help and give back, makes it mean that much more to me.”
Maggie on Supporting the Loveland Foundation:
“I can’t explain properly how happy I am to be supporting the Loveland Foundation. Mental health is something that has affected me my entire life and I have always struggled with. Having the opportunity to give back to a cause that’s focused on mental health in the Black community for women is so important, especially right now with everything that’s going on with Black Lives Matter and the death of George Floyd. We are so exhausted and so many people don’t have the resources to help themselves. Loveland Foundation is offering free therapy and mental health resources to Black women who deserve and need it.”
Sotheby’s is delighted to participate in the Design in Mind program, which gives young designers opportunities, in partnership with Complex and Samsung. See the live auction and bid now on sothebys.com. For more, stay informed with Sotheby’s top stories, videos, and news. Click here to receive the best from Sotheby’s delivered to your inbox.
And if what you read above interests you, check out FoundersCard, a membership community of over 30,000 business owners who receive exclusive benefits and networking opportunities, which you can now access on Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip 5G.