Stoel Burrowes

Professional in Furniture Design.

About Stoel Burrowes

  • 2-Time Winner of Furniture Design Award.
  • Specialized in Furniture Design.
  • 2 Featured Original Designs.
  • Highly Creative, Diligent and Innovative.
  • All Designs
  • Furniture
Cat's Cradle Living-Room Chair

Cat's Cradle Living-Room Chair

Furniture Design

'A' Back Windsor  Dining Chair

'A' Back Windsor Dining Chair

Furniture Design


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Interview with Stoel Burrowes

Could you please tell us more about your art and design background? What made you become an artist/designer? Have you always wanted to be a designer?
I hold a degree in History of Art and in Product Design. I worked in the 1980's and 90' building, designing and selling fine hardwood, contemporary, handmade furniture. The practice and long learning of woodwork as a craft deeply influences my concepts and process of art and design. I teach design and drawing in the Department of interior Architecture at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. My creative practice and research in design theory has been demonstrated in writing. presentation, 2d and 3d art work and furniture design. My latest endeavor has been to build memorial paper pyramid pyres.
Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
After working in a 3 - 6 person wood shop and showroom and then in a large University setting I have chosen to maintain a small design/woodworking shop attached to my home. I utilize facilities and expertise of other shops together with my own work to realize my designs.
What is "design" for you?
Design is an optimistic process to bring together a wide variety of information, experience and expectation to create a poem in materials. Design is the arrest of ideas into experience.
What was the first thing you designed for a company?
In 1984 I designed an easy chair with leather cushions and exposed solid wood frame that is as comfortable as a recliner. I had built numerous items from 'napkin sketches' but this easy chair was a first in product realization for a company.
When do you feel the most creative?
When I am pushing the grass decapitator, when the tea is hot and the air outside my window is sold, when the car's cruise control is humming, when I am walking the dog, when materials are taking their place as if without me, when the space between is as important as the objects themselves...
Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
Materials and edges along with 'deep interlock and ambiguity.' (Alexander)
What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
Energized humility. When a design feels complete, the very first thing I want to do the next morning, before pee or coffee, is to look again at that project. More often than not I see something else but it is still a special moment.
What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
Hubris clouded by self doubt with a strong questioning sense of what's next.
When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
A first reaction before or in-spite of advertising, expectation or pre-judgment.
From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
A designers responsibilities include making the world a better, stronger, healthier, clearer, sounder, less obscure, more tolerant, more peaceful, lighter, more discerning, more aware,
How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
We are always struggling to be as good as the best of our ancestors.
Where do you live? Do you feel the cultural heritage of your country affects your designs? What are the pros and cons during designing as a result of living in your country?
North Carolina, USA. Living in the oppressively consumerist, money greedy, militaristic society is negative but the mix of cultures, heritage and curiosity is positive.
What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
Melita coffee filter cone, ceramic hand coffee grinder, scraper, chisel, draw horse
Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
“The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' (I found it!) but 'That's funny....'” Isaac Asimov. The same is true of design.
What is your "golden rule" in design?
I would like to change the 'golden rule' from "Do unto other as you would have them do to you." to "Give and Go." The footbal play that would have the player/designer pass/give the ball/idea to another player/evaluation. Then the player/designer should move on to open field to be ready to receive the ball/idea back. Thus, the ball/idea is advanced not in a direct or linear stop and start but, rather, by triangulation and finesse/evaluation.
What skills are most important for a designer?
A broad knowledge with a deep practice of quality and craft will allow a design to flourish.
How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
If you find the beginning, you have stopped looking and if you think it ends when your paid then you are not paying attention.
What was your most important job experience?
Teaching and design have been most natural for me. The jobs that taught me the most: factory work, woodwork and sales take more practice, patience and attention to detail.
Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
I work mostly by myself but I work, always with others to add expertise and knowledge before, during and in the realization of designs.
Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
I am currently working on a paper pyramid that can celebrate, memorialize or spiritualize a moment, an event or a life.
How can people contact you?
STOEL BURROWES DESIGN 1108 East Franklin street Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA, 27514-3221 burrose@bellsouth.net

Extended Interview with Stoel Burrowes

Could you please tell us a bit about your design background and education?
I hold a degree in History of Art and in Product Design. I worked in the 1980's and 90' building, designing and selling fine hardwood, contemporary, handmade furniture. The practice and long learning of woodwork as a craft deeply influences my concepts and process of art and design. I teach design and drawing in the Department of interior Architecture at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. My creative practice and research in design theory has been demonstrated in writing. presentation, 2d and 3d art work and furniture design. My latest endeavor has been to build memorial paper pyramid pyres.
What motivates you to design in general, why did you become a designer?
After working in a 3 - 6 person wood shop and showroom and then in a large University setting I have chosen to maintain a small design/woodworking shop attached to my home. I utilize facilities and expertise of other shops together with my own work to realize my designs.
Did you choose to become a designer, or you were forced to become one?
Design is an optimistic process to bring together a wide variety of information, experience and expectation to create a poem in materials. Design is the arrest of ideas into experience.
What distinguishes between a good designer and a great designer?
In 1984 I designed an easy chair with leather cushions and exposed solid wood frame that is as comfortable as a recliner. I had built numerous items from 'napkin sketches' but this easy chair was a first in product realization for a company.
What is the value of good design? Why should everyone invest in good design?
When I am pushing the grass decapitator, when the tea is hot and the air outside my window is sold, when the car's cruise control is humming, when I am walking the dog, when materials are taking their place as if without me, when the space between is as important as the objects themselves...
What would you design and who would you design for if you had the time?
Materials and edges along with 'deep interlock and ambiguity.' (Alexander)
What is the dream project you haven’t yet had time to realize?
Energized humility. When a design feels complete, the very first thing I want to do the next morning, before pee or coffee, is to look again at that project. More often than not I see something else but it is still a special moment.
What is your secret recipe of success in design, what is your secret ingredient?
Hubris clouded by self doubt with a strong questioning sense of what's next.
What are your favorite designs by other designers, why do you like them?
A first reaction before or in-spite of advertising, expectation or pre-judgment.
What is your greatest design, which aspects of that design makes you think it is great?
A designers responsibilities include making the world a better, stronger, healthier, clearer, sounder, less obscure, more tolerant, more peaceful, lighter, more discerning, more aware,
How could people improve themselves to be better designers, what did you do?
We are always struggling to be as good as the best of our ancestors.
What helped you to become a great designer?
North Carolina, USA. Living in the oppressively consumerist, money greedy, militaristic society is negative but the mix of cultures, heritage and curiosity is positive.
What’s your ultimate goal as a designer?
Melita coffee filter cone, ceramic hand coffee grinder, scraper, chisel, draw horse
How does design help create a better society?
“The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' (I found it!) but 'That's funny....'” Isaac Asimov. The same is true of design.
Which design projects gave you the most satisfaction, why?
I would like to change the 'golden rule' from "Do unto other as you would have them do to you." to "Give and Go." The footbal play that would have the player/designer pass/give the ball/idea to another player/evaluation. Then the player/designer should move on to open field to be ready to receive the ball/idea back. Thus, the ball/idea is advanced not in a direct or linear stop and start but, rather, by triangulation and finesse/evaluation.
What would you like to see changed in design industry in the coming years?
A broad knowledge with a deep practice of quality and craft will allow a design to flourish.
When you have a new design project, where do you start?
If you find the beginning, you have stopped looking and if you think it ends when your paid then you are not paying attention.
Do you think design sets the trends or trends set the designs?
Teaching and design have been most natural for me. The jobs that taught me the most: factory work, woodwork and sales take more practice, patience and attention to detail.
What do you wish people to ask about your design?
I work mostly by myself but I work, always with others to add expertise and knowledge before, during and in the realization of designs.
When you see a new great design or product what comes into your mind?
I am currently working on a paper pyramid that can celebrate, memorialize or spiritualize a moment, an event or a life.
Who is your ideal design partner? Do you believe in co-design?
STOEL BURROWES DESIGN 1108 East Franklin street Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA, 27514-3221 burrose@bellsouth.net

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