Where I Work: Bernard Brucha of MASHstudios

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Last year, we followed along with Bernard Brucha, of MASHstudios, on a typical workday and we found the industrial and space designer so intriguing we wanted to see where and how he worked. Besides designing incredible furniture, MASHstudios envisions office and retail spaces that we’d all die to work in. So now, we head back to his Los Angeles studio to see what he and his firm are up to and how they keep getting the job(s) done, in this month’s Where I Work.

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What is your typical work style?

I typically wake up and scan through emails and read the paper first thing in the morning on my iPhone. From then on, it really depends on the day. Some days are design days, some are managing days. Design days are more introspective and if I’m diving deep into a project such as a new furniture line, I like to work from home where the buzz of the office isn’t as distracting and I can get my creative juices flowing. However, if I’m working on a commercial project, I prefer to be at the office so I can collaborate and ideate with the team.

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What’s your studio environment like? 

Well, we do have a new office mascot who has pleasantly disrupted our routine. An Australian Shepherd named Rue is a recent addition to the office…she’s sort of the office stress ball – she loves to literally stick her nose in everyone’s business.

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As far as design, the office has an open floor plan to foster creativity. I’m not the type of boss who is sequestered in an office. My desk is out with the team so anyone can ask a question and get an answer on the spot. And music is a must. It varies widely from old school hip hop, to electronica to Johnny Cash…everyone has control until they get voted off the stage.

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How long have you been in this space? Where did you work before that?

We’ve been at our Venice Blvd. location since 2006. Prior to that we worked out of my apartment in Santa Monica.

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If you could change something about your workspace, what would it be?

Air conditioning. In Venice we don’t often need it, but when we do, we really miss it!

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How do you record ideas? 

I’m definitely a paper napkin sort of guy. My inspiration comes at all hours of the day (and night) so I tend to sketch on whatever’s close. I recently started designing a new collection under a cabana in Palm Springs.

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Do you have an inspiration board? What’s on it right now?

No, we try not to focus too heavily on what’s hot now – we like to focus on the big picture and look ahead. For our custom work, our inspiration really comes from our clients. All of our custom projects reflect the client’s culture and mission – we try and build beautiful, durable furniture that makes a statement about who the client is. As far as our residential lines, such as LAXseries, we like to look at how people live in order to find creative furniture solutions for everyday tasks, such as taking off your shoes or putting a book on a shelf.

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What kind of design objects might you have scattered about the space?

We have a lot of art and found objects, ranging from Shepard Fairey pieces to Charlie the office “chick” to an industrial factory chair inherited from my father.

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Are there tools and/or machinery in your space? 

We keep a series of hand tools in the office, but the fun tools are kept in the factory.

What tool do you most enjoy using in the design process?

Pencil.

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Let’s talk about how you’re wired. Tell me about your tech arsenal/devices.

I keep it simple – iPhone and MacBookPro.

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What design software do you use, and for what?

We use a wide range of software – 3D visualization tools have become pretty amazing, as well as high-end engineering and manufacturing software.

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Do you have a favorite piece or collection that you’ve designed?

The 3x shelf from the LAX collection is my favorite. It represents the beginning and affirmed that a simple idea could be embraced by many.

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When did you feel like you “made it”? With what design? At what moment/circumstances?

I’ll let you know when I get there!

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Tell us about a current project you’re working on. What was the inspiration behind it?

We have 10-20 projects going at any given time – some of them are quick and the solution seems to leap out, while others take a long time to brew… some things can’t be rushed. Clients come to us because they want something different than what everyone else has. In order to be innovative for them, we challenge ourselves to constantly learn about, test, and refine our manufacturing processes as well as the materials we use.

Do any of your designs live in your home or personal life?

Yes, most of the things we design tend to live with me for a while – I like to test everything before it goes out into the world.