Best of CH 2013: Interviews

A look back at a few of our top interviews with creative minds on the cutting edge of their fields

With the year drawing to a close, it’s time to pop some bottles and reminisce about some of our favorite moments from 2013. We’re searching through the year’s content for the best of CH 2013—looking back at the people, designs, destinations and moments that we fondly remember. This year we had the opportunity to meet and explore creativity first-hand with a diverse range of professionals around the world—from budding Japanese design superstars to Dom Pérignon’s charismatic Chef de Cave to the late founder of the Ace Hotel. Here are some of our favorite interviews from 2013.

“There’s nothing more demanding than a pinot noir, nothing more unpredictable. You always have the impression to catch it, but it often escapes; it’s always elusive.”

Richard Geoffroy of Dom Pérignon

Holding a title like Chef de Cave at world class champagne purveyor Dom Pérignon comes with a sense of responsibility that is difficult to fathom. Richard Geoffroy exemplifies the ability to balance said pressure with the creativity and open-mindedness that such a position demands when discussing the vintner’s 2002 rosé.

“Usually we start working on white and black because it’s totally the contrary and we can see if it works or not, if it works on white and black it works for all colors.”

Nendo’s Oki Sato

Japanese creative studio Nendo continues to push the boundaries of contemporary design in everything from furniture to large-scale architectural installations. We caught up with Nendo principal Oki Sato at Milan Design Week to discuss cross-cultural aesthetic perceptions, scale and the true meaning of not taking a day off.

“A huge part of making science accessible is making it entertaining, to make someone laugh and then come out of it feeling just a little bit smarter. It shouldn’t be a chore to read about science.”

Becky Crew

Sydney-based Becky Crew is a writer with a mission: To make science fun to read about—and not just for kids. We caught up with Crew upon the launch of her latest book to discuss creativity in contemporary science communication and weigh in on some of her favorite subjects.

“It’s something they can pass down to their kids and keep forever. It’s something they can be proud of owning, proud of the story behind it.”

Jeff McCallum

With the humble beginning of sweeping floors as an apprentice, San Diego-based surfboard shaper Jeff McCallum now makes handmade surfboards that are cult collectables for surfers from France to Japan. In a rare interview he discusses outside inspirations and staying true to himself in a constantly changing industry.

“It’s all about relationships, fields cross into one another frequently. It could be a basket or a conversation or a couch—it all ties back to design.”

Ambra Medda of L’ArcoBaleno

After co-founding and directing the Design Miami fair, Ambra Medda looked to the digital sphere for her next project, an online design store complete with its own editorial content. We caught up with the young entrepreneur to discuss the freedoms of forgoing a location-based business and seeking new design talent in unlikely places.

“I don’t sit down and sign-up like 600 people and go, ‘This is how we design.’ I actually, as a designer, never appreciated being too directed by somebody else, so I try to respect that with others.”

Tinker Hatfield of Nike

For sneaker fans (and Nike-lovers especially), Vice President of Creative Concepts Tinker Hatfield is something of a legend, having played a major design role in such classics as the AirMax and Jordan series. Our one-on-one with Hatfield explores his leadership technique for Nike’s massive design team as well as his architectural inspirations.

“We know that different systems work better for different arenas and different genres of music and we hand-pick our suppliers specifically for each venue—six different styles of sound systems across nine arenas.”

Noah Ball and Kyle Marriott of Dimensions Festival

The UK-based crew behind Croatia’s famed Outlook Festival created a more intimate sister act called Dimensions, which tests the limits of today’s advanced audio equipment from the confines of an ancient beachside fort in Pula. We caught up with the brains (and ears) behind this extremely well-produced festival, Noah Ball and Kyle Marriott, for a closer look at its special sound.

“The biggest thing about being a creative person, the most important skill is, learning how to cover up your mistakes. Because then they don’t look like mistakes anymore.”

Studio Moross

Making her mark on everything from graphic design to music videos, London artist Kate Moross opened her bright, colorful studio to us during a visit to the Big Smoke—discussing the balance between client needs and artistic freedom and learning your trade outside of art school.

“It’s hard to predict what will reach people and what won’t, so I usually don’t worry too much and just try to make the best piece possible.”

Nico Muhly

An old stuffy opera it’s not. Composer Nico Muhly thrilled US audiences this fall with the stateside debut of his internet-age opus “Two Boys.” Check out our interview with Muhly on the production of his poetic creation.


“When 99 things are right nobody notices or comments, it’s that one thing that’s wrong that people notice. It’s on a very subconscious level and people feel when something is off.”

Alex Calderwood of Ace Hotel

This year the world lost a visionary in Ace Hotel founder Alex Calderwood. With a knack for employing creative people, having remarkable ideas, and channeling them into spaces and experiences, Calderwood has left a mark on the world that is felt well outside the walls of his hotels. We were fortunate to chat with Calderwood one-on-one at the opening of the brand’s London property in Shoreditch.

Alex Calderwood portrait by Damon Way all other images cited in original article