Christine and Kevin are 2point54 Designs. They design and make stunning hand crafted limited edition pieces from their workshop on Vancouver Island. Read their story to find out how they came about creating such original and beautiful pieces and what they get out of it.
Who are you and where is your workshop/studio? What is it like?
2point54 Designs is a furniture and product design company started by Christine Sheu and Kevin Helm.
Our shop is a short drive from Victoria, located on acreage in Mill Bay on Vancouver Island. During the day, we look out onto a forested area, and late at night we are treated to a clear view of the stars in the sky. Being this close to nature is a source of daily inspiration and contributes to a greater appreciation for our surroundings. The shop is split into two levels with the design work executed on the mezzanine and construction produced below. The open format allows us to communicate while working on multiple projects. It’s a small space, but has everything we need without causing us to bump into each other.
What is the meaning behind your company name?
As former industrial design students in New York and now back working in Canada, the name, 2point54, has a lot of significance for us. It is the conversion rate between inches and centimeters and comes in handy all the time. It also plays into how we look at what we do as designers and makers. We are taking materials with unique properties and transforming them into their new form.
What inspires you to create?
Kevin: For me inspiration is all over the place and sometimes I surprise myself at what I observe in my surroundings. This starts the explosion of ideas in terms of where something could go. I am drawn toward structure, textures, patterns and materials and a lot of that is found in nature.
Christine: In a weird way food really inspires me. A really great dish can send people into another space with the perfect balance of texture, color, and flavors. It can draw from different cultures and a vast array of techniques to transcend time. The ecstasy I get from eating a perfect dish is the same as when I touch beautifully finished furniture. The goal is to create something really exciting to share with other passionate people.
How long have you been creating for?
We have both been creating things since we can remember, but it was in August of 2012 that we decided to take the leap of faith to start producing products for the public.
Kevin: As a kid, I think Lego was one of my best friends.
Making the product by hand allows us full control the quality through the whole process. Mass-produced furniture is no longer the quality that it once was. As individuals who have moved often, we know you are lucky if it can survive one move without the particleboard falling apart or chipping.
We strive to produce pieces that will endure the test of time. We want to create objects that you are proud to keep and pass onto the next generation. There is something extremely rewarding about crafting something out of a shapeless piece of wood or metal and transforming it into something that has a presence and a voice of its own. The true beauty of wood grain is not fully revealed until it has been carefully planed and given it first coat of oil. That moment of surprise makes every day at the shop feel like Christmas.
What new products do you have in mind for 2013/2014?
We have about a dozen projects in mind at the moment, but currently for the year we will be releasing a burnt charcoal inspired mirror called “Agent Smolder” and are working on a drafting table, which will involve some vintage elements that we couldn’t ignore. Another dining table and some products involving experimentation with materials will cap off the year.
How would you like your collection to grow? And where else would you like to see it sold?
Our collection will constantly evolve, as our interest and inspirations shift over time. Being able to add pieces to each product family to round them out is always on our mind. Unfortunately we don’t have a storefront presence, so that will be the next phase of our growth. We would like to see our product line branch further out into Canada and eventually get back to our humble beginnings where Christine and I first met in New York.
What is the best thing about what you do?
The best thing about what we do is not dreading the thought of having to go into work everyday. We consider each day a play day in terms of finishing projects, exploring new ones, dropping off a new finished piece and the reward that comes from the excitement and happiness in a new customer’s face.
Follow 2point54 Designs here:
Thanks Kevin and Christine. Great answers!
Good luck with your lovely work.
Tamra & Gwyn