Creating the Environments That Inspire You to be You
Rethinking the mundane. That’s what drives Brad Somberg and his team at B+N to design products and systems infused with the kind of creative energy that can inspire everyone who encounters them. Their open-ended solutions invite people to make their own discoveries about how to make the most of them.
B+N is an industry veteran with the mindset of a start-up. Tell us more about how this perspective drives the work that you all do!
After all these years, I still feel we are scratching the surface of the impact we can have on the design community. As a creative entity, we are never sitting idle. We love to evolve and learn every day.
Creativity and innovation have been integral to B+N’s success. What’s something you do personally to keep that energy flowing?
As I have gotten older, I spend more time reading. Pre-pandemic, I also enjoyed traveling the world and keeping my senses open to experiences. The combination has led me to challenge the team to be more creative across all disciplines of the organization.
Where do you think the design industry still has room to grow? What advancements are you looking forward to?
Technology. I don’t know what I don’t know, but there seems to be a new wave of technology that fortunately or unfortunately will influence how we all live our lives. The pandemic has also challenged all the norms, and as we come out of it, I can feel the creative energy across every interaction I have. Therefore, how we experience the world will change, and as creatives, we will need to lead that charge.
B+N’s offering provides a lot of customization opportunities. How important is it to you all that designers are able to put their own spin on your products, to better work with the space it will live in?
I am not here to tell people how to see things and how to live. I am here, though, to give them tools to tell their own stories in their own voices. We are providing products that act as chameleons. You be you, and let me help you develop and execute that vision.
A love of shirking the status quo is shared by both B+N and Durasein. How do you all cultivate that spirit within the team?
We are true to who we are, and if the masses follow, great. If not, we’ve still been true to our principles and beliefs…We see the world through our lenses and have assembled a very eclectic group of people. Even so, when you get them under the same roof, we seem to have a common goal: to share great design and help bring people together to have their experience.
Do you play favorites? What’s one product or system that you find particularly groovy?
I really don’t have a favorite, but I do love watching our products evolve as different people and environments engage with them. They go through a maturing cycle that is fun to watch, and once we understand them better, we add elements that allow them to continue and become timeless and relevant.
The pandemic changed the workplace as we know it. Has this shift affected the company’s focus at all?
Interesting question…We certainly have challenged ourselves during this period to add value for those we touch. It led to a new product, our Mr. Drippy high-volume hand sanitizing station, that earned the Best of Year Award from ID. It also led to a collaboration with AMASS where we developed a serum to make the entire experience of staying safe a little more enjoyable. On the office and team front, we are challenging our own structure and questioning the purpose of the office. IT will look much different for us post- than pre-pandemic.
Is anything new coming to the lineup? We’d love to plug a piece or two!
Hmmmmm…We are getting ready to launch multiple material collaborations to be utilized with System 1224. We are also getting ready to launch electrified Sorbetti. On the people side of this place, we have decided to scale up and make sure the experiences that our clients are having are ones they will never forget. We are taking a 360-degree approach to how we interact with the world.