Stephen Kenn - Stephen Kenn Studio
Your first brand was Iron Army, a jean brand. What lessons do you feel you have learnt from that experience?
Iron Army was a beautiful time in my life. I was 20 years old and was hanging out with my best friend every day. We were driven and read books about business and had conversations constantly about what makes good design and how to build a brand that fostered authentic community. I feel like we were touching on things far beyond our years. That brand lead us down to LA where I still live today. My greatest take away from that project was that I am not the brand I built. I have an identity outside of what I do. This is still a very core foundation that I reference often.
More recently you have moved into making furniture. How would you describe the look and feel of what you make?
I hope the design and approach feels authentic to people. The designs are incredibly intuitive for me. All the lines and dimensions are fairly basic and serve to be first and foremost functional. The materials we use aim to tell a story that is rooted in history paired with a quality and craftsmanship that allows these pieces to wear well into the future.
Name 5 items you can't live without?Motorcycle (Triumph Bonneville), backpack (black leather from our Encounter Collection), Our work truck (it was recently stolen and we just got it back!), journal (I write my thoughts out every morning), my phone (it's become a pretty useful tool for creativity and business)
What has been your favourite out of your designs or collaborations?
That's mean to make me pick just one, ha ha, but most recently I have been loving the vintage Boro armchairs that we are making in partnership with Hong Kong-based Growth Ring & Supply.
If you could say you designed any item or furniture, which one would it be and why?
One of my favorite designers is Poul Kjaerholm and I have always loved his PK-25 chair. It's made with a single bent piece of steel and a single woven rope. The simplicity is mind-blowing to me.
Do have a signature dish when entertaining?
People more often ask me to makes cocktails when I'm entertaining. I enjoy my place behind our home bar.
Reading a book or listening to music?
Reading H3 leadership by Brad Lomenick, Listening to múm
What's next for Stephen Kenn?
We have just released our third collection and we are calling it The Bowline Collection. It's inspired by the materials used in sailing and we have a lots of fun projects that we are working on by using that as the foundation. Outdoor furniture is also always niggling at the back of my mind. Also, note that on www.stephenkenn.com we'll be posting a lot more journal entries that will share design philosophy and the back story behind a lot of our designs his year.
Thanks for the questions!