Souda is known as a Brooklyn-based home décor and furniture manufacturer. But beyond that, they are entrepreneurs; young and collective practice that collaborates mostly with other young designers from all over the World. The founders of Souda Shaun Kasperbauer and Luft Tanaka talk about their design aspects, expectations and challenges to be successful in the future.
Souda got its start right at the time when we were finishing our industrial design degrees at Parsons. Mostly we were looking to get our studio spaces out of our apartments, since living and working on design projects in the same space was becoming too chaotic. Souda began when myself and a couple friends started pooling resources in what we thought would be a shared work space. After a few months it really seemed apparent that our work took on a whole new element when put under one label. We decided to launch the company under the name “Souda” which is a Japanese word that roughly translates to “Oh, Yeah!”
Preparing an object to be manufactured in batches is a very different challenge than developing a concept for a single prototype. The design process and the product development process really have to work together in order to achieve the best end product. When Souda starts working on a project, it’s sometimes still in concept form. More complex products often require some reworking in order to ready an object for commercial production. Maintaining the designer’s original concept while improving the product’s function, manufacturability, and user-experience are really the functions that we as a manufacturer bring to the table.
Working with young designers is really fun but it sometimes comes with a specific set of challenges. When looking for new designers to work with one of the most important things is that there is a shared perspective between us and the designer. The designer needs to have a personality, a good eye, and the ability to objectively see their own work. Since a product sometimes subtly changes in order to make it appropriate for commercial production, it’s important to work with designers who are flexible and interested in the experience of the end user above all else.
“The designer needs to have a personality, a good eye, and the ability to objectively see their own work. Since a product sometimes subtly changes in order to make it appropriate for commercial production, it’s important to work with designers who are flexible and interested in the experience of the end user above all else.”
Right now we are preparing for our ICFF 2016 releases. We’re still not quite sure what will make our final cuts but one of the pieces we are excited about is a folding chair called the Profile Chair designed by a young studio from Vancouver, Canada; Knauf & Brown. Its a piece that has been in development for a couple of years now but we’re really excited to show the final version. Its such a beautiful chair and it really came together quite nicely.
I hope that we can continue to develop Souda into a larger brand. There are so many talented designers that we’ve yet to collaborate with and a lot of products that we think would be fun to make. Its been really exciting so far to start building our brand and its fun to watch it start to grow. 10 years seems like a lifetime away.