Best of CH 2022: Interviews

10 thought-provoking discussions from the year

Stimulating conversations spark new ideas, open eyes to new ways of being, teach us to be better listeners, challenge us, and connect us to one another. It’s for these reasons that we speak with individuals that inspire us, uncovering and sharing the methodology, motivations and some of the magic behind their work. Be it emerging designers, acclaimed artists, musicians or chefs, there is endless insight that can be gleaned from dialogue. Below are 10 such stories from 2022 that best capture the invigoration and ingenuity that come from conversation.

by Chris Maggio, courtesy of Chaz Bear

Toro y Moi on His Multi-Faceted Project Mahal

Chaz Bear—aka recording artist Toro y Moi—has always been something of a shapeshifter. From the mellow synth-pop in his 2010 debut album, Causers Of This, to the lush and instrumental indie-rock on What For? to the house-inflected, psych-pop of Outer Peace, the multi-hyphenate artist dips into a mélange of genres and sounds, making each one uniquely his own. MahalBear’s seventh studio album, is no exception; it cruises through ’60s and ’70s psych with funky bass lines and woozy melodies to explore and lament capitalism’s mass consumerism. Conceptual and layered, Mahal—which also features a new short film co-starring Eric Andre—is a seemingly chill, groove-laden project but it gets more complex with each listen… Read More.

Courtesy of Dalí Nelio for Agua Mágica

Oaxacan Culture, Heritage and Ancestral Wisdom Imbue Agua Mágica

Just over two years ago, a chance encounter at a gas station in Mitla (located about an hour from Oaxaca de Juárez) between Rogelio Juan Hernandez and Rafael Shin led to the creation of Agua Mágica, an ultra-premium mezcal underpinned by tradition and Oaxacan culture. The bright, smooth, gently smoky elixir is perfect for sipping, and its entire process is imbued with folklore, poetry, romance, ancestral wisdom and a little magic… Read More.

Courtesy of Whipsaw

Interview: Whipsaw Founder, Designer and CEO, Dan Harden

Despite winning over 290 design awards and filing over 1,000 patents, Whipsaw—a highly acclaimed strategy, industrial design, digital design and engineering consulting firm—doesn’t aspire to be the most celebrated or prosperous company. For Whipsaw, success lies in designing solutions, meaningful experiences and, most of all, a better world. Since its conception in 1999, these ideals have shown through their widespread work, including home-gym machine Tonal, medical product Medostic and swanky home robot Bizzy. At the helm of the company is the equally prolific CEO and founder Dan Harden, who has not only amassed another 300 design awards himself, but who also leads the firm with an innovative and altruistic design philosophy… Read More.

Courtesy of Bristol Studio

Bristol Studio’s Sophisticated Combination of Basketball, Japanese Design and Nostalgia

Founded by Luke Tadashi, with MAASAI Ephriam, Jake Fenster and Rashaad Dixon, LA-based studio and lifestyle brand Bristol Studio appeared on the scene in 2015 and hasn’t showed signs of slowing. Inspired by basketball but imbued with Japanese design and drenched in nostalgia, Bristol Studio garments are conceptual but practical, contemporary but classic. There’s a certain charm and authenticity to each design, as they are inspired by childhood and adolescent memories playing basketball. Thanks to all these elements combined, the brand is carving out a niche space that blurs basketball and sophisticated but laidback style. We recently spoke with co-founders Tadashi and Ephriam about Bristol Studio’s culture mash-up and future plans… Read More.

Image of Leonor Varela as Cecilia in Francisca Alegría’s “The Cow Who Sang A Song Into The Future,” photo by Inti Briones

Sundance 2022: “The Cow Who Sang a Song Into The Future” Director, Francisca Alegria

From the moment a long-deceased mother rises up from the waters of a polluted river as a smattering of fish sing a haunting chorus from their own death beds, writer/director Francisca Alegría‘s debut feature film The Cow Who Sang A Song Into The Future straddles a world both fantastical and heartbreakingly real. This stunning cinematic escapade, which was shot in Chile, is a story of ecological damage, uncovered secrets and overdue reconciliation, developing personal identity and strengthening familial bonds… Read More.

Courtesy of Moooi

Interview: Marcel Wanders on Design in All The Realms

Marcel Wanders is all about ideas, stories and the senses. The widely admired Dutch designer and art director (perhaps best known for his Knotted Chair) approaches all his projects with fresh perspective and an innate, conceptual understanding of design. At the helm of the Marcel Wanders Studio (which focused on product and interior design until Wanders ceased operation earlier this year) and Moooi (a furniture and lighting company that he co-founded with Casper Vissers in 2001), he combines innovation, tradition and technology with digital and physical elements. Last month, we meet with him at the Moooi A Life Extraordinary installation during Milan Design Week to discuss the brand’s recent collection, the return of in-person events, the role of digital in design, as well as the metaverse and sustainability… Read More.

Courtesy of Jonathan Wijayaratne and Ryan Wijayaratne/Lilith NYC

Sneaker Brand Lilith NYC Centers Women and Femmes in Streetwear

Though they are regularly worn by any and all genders, highly covetable streetwear sneakers are branded, stylized and shaped for men. “If you look at the history of most athletic brands, they’re rooted in male sports, male athletes. All the footwear silhouettes are built for them,” says Sarah Sukumaran, the founder of the Queens-based sneaker company Lilith NYC. “The Sheryl Swoopes basketball shoe is the only shoe from the ’90s for a WNBA player,” she continues. In fact, in the nearly 25 years since the WNBA’s inception, only nine players have garnered signature shoes, compared to the NBA which saw 22 signature sneakers in 2021 alone… Read More.

Courtesy of Jordan Millington

Photographer Jordan Millington’s “Evolution of Innocence” Series Starring Susanne Bartsch

A striking, varied and theatrical array of images starring NYC nightlife legend Susanne Bartsch, photographer Jordan Millington‘s Evolution of Innocence series elucidates the electric connection between artist and muse. The entire collection—which probes our ever-developing emotional vantage point of the world—makes its debut at Lume Studios this weekend, a realization of a dream for Millington. Within, each photograph is as thought-provoking as the next… Read More.

Courtesy of Rizzoli

Interview: Lee Broom on His First-Ever Illustrated Monograph, Fashioning Design

Earlier in 2022, English designer Lee Broom celebrated the 15th anniversary of his eponymous label with an exhibition of serene, ethereal and outright astonishing beauty for Milan Design Week. Furthering his accolades in this milestone year, Broom has now released his first-ever monograph, Fashioning Design, penned by accomplished writer and editor Becky Sunshine and published by Rizzoli. Broom began working on the book in April 2020, as other projects were paused due to the pandemic and his restlessness needed to be channeled. Sunshine and Broom communicated via Zoom for multi-hour sessions, during which they drafted the narrative that now accompanies hundreds of images representing more than 100 products and exhibitions. The resulting work offers so much to those who admire Broom and admire his design work… Read More.

Courtesy of Sông Cái

Sông Cái’s Lush Gins Embody Vietnam’s Diverse Terroir

Founded by Daniel Nguyen, Sông Cái is the first gin to be made in Vietnam—an accomplishment that seems surprising given that the country’s rich forests abound with flavorful botanicals ripe for spirit-making. Nevertheless, much of Vietnam’s mountainous landscape is mistakenly associated with rice paddies and deltas rather than vast habitats. To showcase the country’s diverse terroir, Nguyen cultivates Vietnam’s rare heirloom flowers and fruits using local methods to craft decadent and unique sips and, in doing so, reimagines the dry gin category… Read More.

Hero image courtesy of Dalí Nelio for Agua Mágica