Friday Five: Dan Michalik


Designer profile Q+A: Dan Michalik

Happy Friday! We are featuring Dan Michalik today, a furniture maker focused on the use of cork today.

1. Daily ritual?

I ride my bike every morning. I also direct the BFA Product Design program at Parsons School of Design, so the ride over the Williamsburg bridge is the most mentally cleansing thing, to allow me to focus on m=both teaching and my design practice. 

2. Best creative (or business) advice?

Be inspired by lots of things, including design media. But don’t make things that look like what the blogs are showing. By the time something gets published, it’s already time for designers to challenge and reinvent those forms! 

3. Current inspiration sources?

I was in London in August, and was blown away by the collection of Ugandan pottery on display at the British Museum. I’m making lots of vessels right now, exploring weird roundish forms and the intense meaning that goes along with vessels (right now I’m finishing an Urn) and the forms and materials of these items just blew me away. 

4. Favorite podcast(s)?

Given the urgency of our current political climate, I listen to at least one episode of The Daily, from the New York Times even day. It’s amazing how quickly they can deliver a thoughtful and deep dive into political events. 

5. How does your city influence your work? 

New York City is loud, colorful and chaotic. The sheer contrast of forms, colors and sounds I see every day (usually from my bike) pushes me to try to get different influences in my work. Because I work mostly in one material (cork), I try really hard to adapt that material and push it into new realms. NYC helps me with that effort.