Ladies & Gentlemen Studio is a design studio owned & operated by power couple Jean Lee and Dylan Davis. Aside from collaborating on the Isometric Notebook, hosting their first solo exhibit, and creating exciting products, they're also some of Poketo's dearest friends.
Started in 2010 in the PNW and now based in an artisan community in Brooklyn, NY, L&G’s furniture design has garnered attention from the likes of The New York Times, Design Milk, and more. For good reason, too. Their art fuses play and flexibility with unique industrial design. From making mobiles to tabletop sculptures to jewelry, Lee & Davis’ vision gives seemingly random pairings and wayward objects new life.
Lee & Davis’ designs are sometimes years in the making. From a fleeting thought to the final product, their products are handcrafted with the help of time. As the passage of time kneads perspective, metal scraps they may have found years ago find themselves as the centerpieces for their latest projects. This ongoing process results in every product having its own unique story to tell. Movement, shadows, and even sounds and negative space come together and play a part in a multisensory experience.
Below are their thought process for making the Isometric Notebook and snippets from a conversation we had for our upcoming book, Creative Spaces.
Ladies & Gentlemen Studio space. Photograph taken by Ye Rin Mok.
On Poketo x Ladies & Gentlemen’s latest collaboration, the Isometric Notebook
Ilani (Interviewer): What was the primary inspiration behind the notebook's design?
Jean: We really love the design and functionality of the isometric grid pattern so we wanted to celebrate and (re)introduce it so more people can enjoy it. Instead of a typical rectangular notebook with isometric pattern in the pages, we wanted to have the form of the entire notebook inspire people to consider how isometric drawing blurs the line between 2D and 3D. We had a lot of fun creating a 2D optical graphic that made the notebook look like a 3D box.
Ilani (Interviewer): How does the isometric notebook help with design work (ideation, development, etc.)?
Jean: The isometric view is a conceptual framework for thinking through 3D ideas. It provides a uniform way to think about how parts of an object work together - almost as if working with building blocks or legos. Drawing this way gives designers an opportunity to be methodical with their ideas and build upon them in an iterative way.
The Isometric Notebook. Photograph taken by Becca Menichetti.
On working together:
Ted (Interviewer): When you guys work together as the two of you, who does what? How do you guys work together?
Jean: It was kind of organic, I think. That's why it took some time for us to hone in on realizing what we're good at, what each of us is good at. We definitely work pretty opposite, differently.
Ted (Interviewer): That's interesting.
Jean: Dylan is a list guy. He wants to check things off the list. He makes all the goals. So he kind of does more like the studio managing and also production planning and stuff like that, making goals for everybody.
Dylan: When the idea is realized, I'll take it into reality, because that tends to be a very step by step process.
Jean: [I’m more] spontaneous. So if I meet some people, and then I just start to come up with ideas in those conversations. I guess a lot of our projects just spur from different conversations that we have.
Davis and Lee working together. Photograph taken by Ye Rin Mok.
On their objects inspiring people to see the beauty in the everyday:
Jean: The object is part of creating an experience. The object could be what it is, but it's more the sense and the feeling that's associated, that could evoke.
Dylan: Our main mission when we create is to expose people to be more thoughtful about the objects they use in their daily rituals. It's getting people to be more [mindful] in how they consume and how they use things.
Ted (Interviewer): You want people to experience not just the pieces, but just the overall vibe and feeling. Is there something that you would want an individual to feel with your work?
Dylan: Just wonderment. Wonderment about the world. Because it's what we feel.
Jean: What is it that gonna keep people engaged if there isn't any sort of emotional connection with it? So I think without even us being conscious of it, but now being more aware of it, I feel like that's what we've been doing, is creating objects that engage people in a way that they didn't realize.
Works of art. Photograph taken by Ye Rin Mok.
On finding wonder on the daily:
Ted (Interviewer): On a normal day, how do you guys find wonderment? What is your daily ritual?
Jean: It's not necessarily daily, but when we do, we always get excited when we research and get samples of something. Actually, when we plan little field trips to go to certain stores to look at materials, or even walk around certain neighborhoods and shows.
Dylan: That's part of why we moved to New York.
Jean: There's so much inspiration. Even just walking around... maybe it's a texture, maybe it's a material. Even when we go to Home Depot, we're always like still finding stuff that [make us go] "Oh, cool, maybe this could be something."
A scenic look from L&G's studio. Photograph taken by Ye Rin Mok.