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Maker Monday: An Aspire Exclusive Interview With Jennifer June

Loose Parts is a brand of sustainably manufactured, assemblable, and adaptable furniture. Custom tables, shelves, and garment racks are distinct by a minimalistic structure and tiny holes that line their sides, which make assemblage and rearrangement possible. Owner and creator Jennifer June took the name “Loose Parts” from a phrase in an essay by architect and artist Simon Nicholson. Nicholson’s essay sought to demonstrate that disconnected elements inspire children’s creativity through the desire to create something cohesive. Likewise, June, an experienced designer and maker, founded the company to draw people closer to their environment by engaging them in the construction of their furniture. This Maker Monday, we welcome Jennifer June.

June’s coffee tables and couches offer a rustic, contemporary flair to any environment, while inhabitants rest in the satisfaction of constructing the foundations of their own space.

June’s coffee tables and couches offer a rustic, contemporary flair to any environment, while inhabitants rest in the satisfaction of constructing the foundations of their own space.

Andrew Joseph: Describe your design style as if you were explaining it to someone who cannot see.
Jennifer June: Easy, as my design style starts and ends with how it feels in the hand. I love the tactility of natural materials, be it wood, silk, wool, clay, copper… and I kind of geek out on how things are made. I love when you can actually feel the human hand that designed the finished product as they coaxed the raw material into shape. It’s what makes something so special, when you feel like you’re connected to its maker.

AJ: What is something you hope to see trending in design in the future?
JJ: I hate to call it a trend because it implies temporality, but I hope to see us move toward a more regenerative design practice. That is, to leave behind the “take, make, and dispose” design process in favor of one that has more circular characteristics such as recovery, recycling, and reuse.

AJ: If you weren’t a designer, you’d be a ….?
JJ: If I weren’t a designer I’d probably be a vet. Of course, I’d have to get over my squeamishness around blood. And I’d want to be a vet for exotic animals. Can you imagine assisting in the birth of a giraffe?! That would be so amazing.

AJ: What’s something you always travel with?
JJ: A tape measure. I have a mini one I keep in my bag. It’s a holdover from my days as an interior design student. I was always measuring rooms and passages as a way of understanding proportions and their relation to the body. It’s one thing to design a room on your laptop, it’s quite another to actually measure out an opening and understand how the body feels passing through it. I still measure things I like. It’s kind of reassuring, like marrying theory and practice in real-time.

AJ: Are you a good cook? If so, what’s your specialty?
JJ: I’m a better baker than cook. To own a bakery was actually an early career aspiration and for most of college I worked as an assistant pastry chef. My go-to are cookies but I love to bake more extravagant desserts where I can flex my culinary muscles. This Christmas I’m baking a Bûche de Nöel for the first time which I’m excited about. I’ve been dreaming about tiny meringue mushrooms.

Crafted and sourced sustainably, Loose Parts furniture is also adaptable, allowing owners to design and redesign pieces according to their use and aesthetic intentions.

Crafted and sourced sustainably, Loose Parts furniture is also adaptable, allowing owners to design and redesign pieces according to their use and aesthetic intentions.

AJ: What would your dream project or dream client be right now?
JJ: A dream collaboration would be with Assemble. They share my interest in material research, manufacturing and social engagement. Loose Parts didn’t exist at the time, but I would have loved to see my furniture system used in their Cineroleum project where they transformed an empty gas station into a cinema. Through the help of volunteers they were able to transform a neglected space into a place of entertainment. Loose Parts is all about empowering people to build the objects they need, whether that’s a bookcase or movie theater. The idea that you don’t have to be a carpenter to make the furniture you want.

AJ: What are you most proud of?
JJ: Keeping my business alive during the pandemic. I launched Loose Parts in the fall of 2019 with the thought that I would be showing at trade fairs and showrooms. When that didn’t pan out I really had to rethink my business and broaden my vision of where Loose Parts could be used. As the world was grappling with how to make their home, office, or commercial space more flexible, I was working on how to expand my collection to meet those needs. It was an incredible time of growth both professionally and personally that I’m really proud of.

AJ: Style (or design) icon?
JJ: Georgia O’Keeffe. Whether in her home, her dress, or her paintings, she created from an authentic place of self that I really admire.

AJ: Favorite app?
JJ: Duolingo. Now that I’m not traveling as much I can dream of future vacation destinations while I learn a new language.

AJ: Secret talent?
JJ: I have really good hand-eye coordination. You can throw anything at me, and I always catch it.

The simplicity of June’s designs makes her products accessible, while their definable style makes them a unique addition to any home.

The simplicity of June’s designs makes her products accessible, while their definable style makes them a unique addition to any home.

AJ: How would you define your work in three words?
JJ: Adaptable, Sustainable, Playful.

AJ: What’s inspiring you in life (in the industry) right now?
JJ: Advancements in bio-based materials like mycelium, cellulose, and algae. I’ve been collaborating with a Parsons design student on creating paneling for my furniture made from recycled paper pulp, sawdust and rice flour. It looks like terrazzo and feels like brushed suede. It’s amazing.

AJ: A book that everyone should read?
JJ: In Praise of Shadows by Jun’ichirō Tanizaki.

AJ: What do you find yourself daydreaming about most these days?
JJ: Being able to put our face masks away for good.

AJ: Where is the first place you want to travel now that everything is opening up?
JJ: Milano! I will be showing a new furniture collection at Alcova as part of Salone del Mobile 2022. It will be my first time to Milan which I’m very excited about. After the show I plan on traveling with my family to Lake Como and relaxing in the Italian sunshine. I can’t wait!


About The Maker | Jennifer June, a seasoned designer practicing material investigation, human engagement, and sustainable design, has created a career out of understanding the relationship between people and their environments. She is the founder and fabricator of Loose Parts, an adaptable furniture system, designed with the goal of enlisting people to engage more deeply with their surroundings. Prior to founding Loose Parts, she worked with Donna Karan to design a fabrication and collaboration space for the Haitian Artisan Project, Arianna Huffington on the Thrive Global launch, founded Hermitage, a home product boutique, and co-founded The Flint Collective NYC, a cross-disciplinary public arts lighting design collective, among other interior and lighting design projects. Jennifer has a BA in Art from San Francisco State University, a Post-Bachelorette in Printmaking from Oregon College of Arts and Craft and a double Masters in Interior and Lighting Design from Parsons School of Design.

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