Maker Monday: Jude Heslin Di Leo

While you’ve probably heard of Jude Heslin Di Leo, or his furniture line, you may not know much about the fellow behind the furniture. As a committed craftsman, Heslin Di Leo has spent the past decade as a spatial and industrial designer for some of New York City’s top restaurants, stores, offices, and other hot spots (including designer store Maison Margiela, annual media spectacle 29 Rooms). With a dedication to scale and simplicity, he launched his furniture company, Bear and Lion, just a year after entering the design world. Now operating as an eponymous company, Hesline Di Leo recently launched a brand new line of furniture that is sweeping the design community. Composed of bleached maple and English bridle leather, his “Gibbous” furniture melds elements of feng shui with tracings of the lunar calendar. Most notably, Heslin Di Leo’s “Gibbous Cabinet” was named the #1 product of the year by Architectural Digest, and his “Gibbous Chair” was named an NYCxDesign Awards Winner just last month. Take a look at Jude’s award-winning designs below, and join us in today’s Maker Monday. The “Gibbous” Table, Chair, and Corner Cabinet, three of Heslin Di Leo’s fourteen pieces, make use of two everyday elements, wood and leather, to create a groundbreaking line of practical-use furniture.


Andrew Joseph – What’s your favorite time of day?
Jude Heslin Di Leo – Early morning, most of the time before the sun rises. I start with stretching and meditation to get grounded and clear. Then I’m ready to dive into my work.

Andrew – Style (or design) icon?
Jude – It depends on when you ask, but most days it would be Jean Prouve. He perfectly balanced design and engineering with material and manufacturing economics.

Andrew – How would you define your work in three words?
Jude – Considered, Subtle, Balanced.

Andrew – What’s inspiring you in life (in the industry) right now?
Jude – There’s a growing interest in design everywhere. People are awakening to the beauty and depth that design adds to our lives.

Andrew – A book that everyone should read?
Jude – The Harvard Psychedelic Club by Don Lattin. it’s especially interesting now during the resurgence of psychedelic healing and new cultural perspectives.

Andrew – What would you like to be remembered for?
Jude – Creating a way to support people in their conscious evolution with design.

Andrew – Favorite city to recharge?
Jude – Palm Springs, the desert is so alive!

Andrew – A skill you’re working on mastering?
Jude – Living in the present moment.

Andrew – If you made a documentary, what would it be about?
Jude – It would be about the synergy of ideas. I find it fascinating how people in different places will come up with the same concepts around the same time. It’s a zeitgeist thing, and I think there is something much more to be discovered with how we are all interconnected.

Andrew – What are you most excited about at this time in your life?
Jude – Absolutely everything, I feel there is limitless possibility lurking everywhere. I just have to tune into it.

Andrew – Your affirmation for today?
Jude – There is no such thing as a bad experience. Every experience is a learning experience, as long as you use it to grow.

Andrew – Who is a contemporary inspiration in your field?
Jude – At the moment, Marc Newson. He elevates design into a form of high art.


About Jude Heslin Di Leo | Jude Heslin Di Leo, a current Cooper Hewitt National Design Award nominee, is a spatial and industrial designer; creating interiors, furniture and experiences. With a deep commitment to the exploration of craftsmanship, Jude’s work has a subtly penetrating feel. Since 2006, he has designed, managed and developed interior build-outs, furniture and lighting elements for restaurants, retail environments, offices, residences, and experiential events in and around New York City. He co-founded the sustainable furniture company Bear & Lion with Bernardo Guillermo in 2007, where the duo self-produced original lines of contemporary products from their Brooklyn based studio. Over the course of his career, Jude has collaborated with highly established architectural and interior design firms, developers, and artists on large scale projects. Born in San Francisco, Jude received his bachelor’s degree in Industrial Design from Pratt Institute and studied graphic design while attending Rhode Island School of Design. He continues his education through his evolving work and curiosities. Jude’s new line of furniture just debuted at the Architectural Digest Design Show in March, where his Gibbous Cabinet was awarded #1 of the 25 Top Products by Architectural Digest.


Andrew Joseph is a regular contributing editor for ASPIRE DESIGN AND HOME magazine. See more of his work here

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