Our design studio has since moved to Munich, Germany. Discover our Q&A with John and meet the Munich Design Studio team behind Coalesse products here.
Location matters. The areas where we live and work shape our lives in every way, perhaps in more ways than we even realize. They can impact everything from the way you dress to the architecture of the buildings around you. As you travel around the country, you’ll find that different areas often have their own distinct styles and ways of life, and San Francisco is no exception.
The fact that the Coalesse Studio is located in San Francisco means a little bit of California design makes its way into every project our designers work on. California design is a difficult concept to sum up in one brief statement, but if you were to ask Coalesse Director of Design John Hamilton, he’d tell you it’s more than an aesthetic style; it’s an attitude.
“What makes California design different for me is the very optimistic and entrepreneurial spirit that seems to exude from the people and the approach they take to everyday life challenges,” he says. “I am always amazed by the highly optimistic and whole-hearted approach that the California design studios seem to use in combining new thinking and intense rigor, often through a restrained use of materials and processes to create fresh and innovative solutions. ‘Everything is possible’ is the attitude, and everyone can be a part of the process.”
Something about California really does fill people with a sense of optimism. For over 160 years, California has been a popular destination for people who have big ideas and the drive to turn those ideas into reality, and San Francisco is one of the top cities these people to come to. This kind of environment makes San Francisco an ideal location for the Coalesse Studio.
“San Francisco is one of the leading locations in the world for companies that think differently about work and about the spaces they create for employees. Many of the experimental workplace ideas that lead to emergent worldwide trends seem to come from the Bay Area,” says Hamilton. “It is really beneficial for us to be in close proximity to that and to those same points of inspiration.”
In addition to being close to so many forward-thinking businesses, the Coalesse Studio’s location allows our designers to be inspired by a common local culture. Everything from the Potrero Hill neighborhood to the city’s many tattoo shops has served as inspiration for the Coalesse Design Team.
Inside the Design Studio
Much like the population of San Francisco, the designers who work at the Coalesse Studio come from a very diverse set of backgrounds. Although they do share a common local culture at the studio, each designer comes in with their own distinct perspective shaped by their unique background. The fact that we frequently collaborate with external designers adds even more points of view to the mix. We asked Hamilton about how they maintain a cohesive point of view amid all of these influences:
The designers who work at the Coalesse Studio come from all over. What are some traits they all share? What is their common design sensibility?
Hamilton: Passion for what they do and how they do it. They all have different design sensibilities, but they also understand how to channel their personal interests into what is right for a Coalesse challenge.
Hamilton: All of our projects start the same way: with a concise design brief based off of research and focused on a user insight that aligns the designer with the project and its goals. We use this process for ourselves and for when we partner with outside designers so that any newly-developed solution has the ability to work with our existing portfolio of products.
What do you look for when you hire a designer?
We are pretty passionate and curious as a group and usually look for that in others that we might bring on. The design process for our studio is very hands on and we love to make models to learn, so we look for designers who also use the making process to develop ideas. The group is open minded and very collaborative. As individuals, the designers are incredibly diverse and humble; yet everyone seems to have the desire to do more and to push each other to be better.
Do you think it would be possible for a designer to work for the studio remotely, or is being present in San Francisco critical?
Work and the ways that work gets done are changing rapidly, so I wouldn’t want to say that working remotely couldn’t also be a solution for our studio. But so much of our work is about the socialization of ideas, the studio culture and the ad hoc development that happens on all projects that working remotely would put that designer at a disadvantage.
Need help? Let the Coalesse
Concierge Team assist with