A multi-disciplinary collaborative, Los Angeles, CA
wrk-shp is a design studio located in downtown Los Angeles and is operated by an architect, Ryan Upton and an architect-turned-clothing designer, Airi Isoda. wrk-shp designs buildings, clothing, home goods and everything in between. With a focus on materials and details, wrk-shp produces functional everyday things both artful and useful.
Q: So to begin with, how did the two of you meet, and before you started working together had you always admired one another's work?
A: We met in Architecture School - we were in the same design studio and we became friends. At the time, we were both students and still figuring out the design world - yet we were both making furniture, sewing, and exploring small projects on our own. After graduating, we worked for different architecture firms in Los Angeles and our goals became more focused. That's when we started wrk-shp.
Q: In terms of your design process, is it totally collaborative or are ideas generated individually and then refined together?
A: Our design process is very collaborative. We sit down together and sketch a lot of bad and some good ideas. We also share a lot of thoughts about design. Ultimately, we land on something we both agree has potential. I tend to look at the overall macro view of things, and Ryan is really good at developing the details of how things come together.
Q: wrk-shp operates in a number of different fields; architecture, product design and apparel. Would you say that you have creative ADD or does moving between each practice feel more fluid and inevitable?
A: For us, the multi-disciplinary approach is very fluid and natural. Since the beginning, we had the goal of creating a design studio that was architecture, products and clothing. We started the clothing line first since we knew that architecture was going to take more experience and time to develop. Designing home goods was a great bridge between the clothing and buildings, and really helped us create our design language at a smaller scale.
"Our design process is very collaborative. We sit down together and sketch a lot of bad and some good ideas. We also share a lot of thoughts about design. Ultimately, we land on something we both agree has potential."
Q: You just recently got done doing your first trade-show at NY Now. How did it go and how do you feel it differs from apparel?
A: One of the things we really enjoyed at NY Now was seeing our designer friends and meeting new ones. Also, we were able to create a space to showcase all of our products, and getting a reaction from buyers and press is great. We can't really create a branded space in the apparel shows in the same way. Our favorite show was earlier this year at INTRO during Design Week because we got to show the full range of home products and clothing all together.
Q: What are your plans for wrk-shp in the next year and what are you most excited about?
A: We are mostly excited about some of architecture projects we are currently designing! There is a retail store opening in the next few months that we can't wait to share. We look forward to doing more architecture design in the next year and product collaborations as well.