Lossless Toronto – Meet Furniture Designer Evan Bare
I was introduced to Industrial and Furniture Designer Evan Bare of 608 Design through Nathan Buhler (read his Q & A with Lossless Toronto). Nathan and Evan are working on a relatively top secret urban landscape installation that they might choose to share with us soon, but it was Evan’s chairs, with echoes of midcentury simplicity and names like The Annex Chair, that absorbed me. I recently had the chance to ask Evan about his work, his process and his passion for function, beauty, sustainability and accessibility.
Who are you?
My name is Evan Bare and I am an industrial designer.
I was born in Toronto and grew up just 45 minutes North in an old farmhouse. It wasn’t city livin’ and much of my childhood was spent outdoors, either in the garden or taking apart whatever mechanical contraption I could get my hands on. My folks collected antiques, so there was never a shortage of hand made Victorian era pieces to hide in. This undoubtedly fostered my connection with furniture. Later, I studied Industrial Design at Humber College and lived in Toronto West for several years.
What do you do?
First and foremost, I’m an industrial designer who specializes in furniture. I started out in a factory that made internal parts for sofas using computer-controlled machines (CNC). It wasn’t my dream job but 100% critical in helping me to understand how things are made. A few years and experiences later, I started 608, which focuses on design/engineer consulting as well as building my own line in a way that makes sense to me. I use 3D software to solve problems virtually and then I translate that into physical form using CNC cutting machines and reduced impact materials. I use the term “sustainably-minded” to describe my commitment to environmentally responsible product design and construction. True sustainability is difficult to achieve today because 99% of consumers are now programmed to want things made or look a specific way. Keeping the materials simple, reducing waste, adding tons of value into a piece — like storage or the ability to be repaired — and using local, and low or no chemical added materials is a good way to start weaning consumers off throw-away goods.
What gets you excited about what you do?
I feel my design identity is constantly evolving by working with amazing new people on multidisciplinary projects, while keeping my process at its core. I’m excited by making things differently through a process I’ve honed using 3D software and CNC routing. Three-dimensional printed objects and computer controlled machines married to good design ideas have me thinking about the future of making stuff locally, not overseas. I love building furniture for people, immersing them in the process, telling them about the wood I’ve used and where it came from. I keep my ideas pretty simple and enjoy the story of how it’s made over how potentially cool it could all be. Educating consumers is the key to change.
My dream is to develop a modular factory that builds modular furniture and accessories. It would be a blueprint that functions anywhere in the world using indigenous materials local to each factory location while drawing from a universal design database of products.
What do you love about Toronto?
I love that Toronto can be so cold yet inviting; so random yet it gels. The talent pool here is ridiculous from a design perspective and I find tons of inspiration from within the city limits. I’m bias towards the west end, which still feels like home when I drive through it. I can’t get enough of the never-ending supply of hole-in-the-wall restaurants found in each unique neighbourhood across the city.
I am privileged to know the extremely interesting photographer, graphic artist, writer and all around awesome dude Matt Pfaff AKA Madd Hattere. He’s done a lot of studio and on-site shoots for me in the last couple of years. You can see his work on Flickr (creative and portrait) His tragic view of the life and the city are interpreted through his lens almost ever day of the year.