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Designer Profile: Ian Collings of Fort Standard

We chatted with Ian Collings, one half of the interdisciplinary design studio Fort Standard, about the evolution of the studio, the design process, and the melding of minds.

You and Greg met while students studying industrial design at Pratt—how did Fort Standard evolve into the multifaceted (and very successful) design studio that it is today?

I think we are naturally interested in applying our process in a broad range of areas, but at the same time the evolution of our studio into a multifaceted practice is probably due to a very ambitious beginning and a habit of rarely saying no.

What is the process when designing a new piece? Do you each have specific roles or is it collaborative?

We design everything together. Our process is an ongoing conversation, which happens both verbally and visually through drawing or model making. Projects come in and out of the conversation, but the conversation continues to evolve as we grow. Each project evolves out of a discussion of the opportunities and potentials of the design direction and given parameters. We go back and forth until we understand and agree on an exciting starting point and then we develop that together. Over the years, we have taken on some more specific roles relating to how we run our business, but we normally divide the work organically in whatever way makes the most sense at the time.

You and Greg both produce work independently of each other. How is that work different from what is represented by Fort Standard?

Fort Standard is a true collaboration between two minds- it is a language we have developed together. The things we see in common make it easy, but the differences are what make us uniquely stronger. We each bring our own set of interests and view points which is the core of what we have built together.

What’s next? It seems like you guys have done just about everything, including store design, furniture, jewelry, and lighting.

We are currently working on a new line of lighting that will debut at the ICFF and a couple new products to be added to our home line in August.

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