Celine Kwok Garland may or may not have succumbed to peer pressure when her college friend raved (and raved) about a certain Intro to Furniture Making elective. At the time, Celine was immersed in the world of graphic design, yet heeded her friend’s words and enrolled in the furniture class. A few lessons on metals, plastics and other materials was all it took for Celine’s world to go from 2D to 3D. Her world no longer flat, Celine went on to finish two degrees in design—one in the Republic of Singapore and one in the U.S. She is now a lead industrial designer for Delta Faucet Company, using her talents to create beautiful product suites, such as the Zura®
and Esque™ collections, among many others. Recently we talked with Celine about her experience and perspective on the industry.
You say tomato (to-mey-to), I say tomato (to-mah-to).
Celine grew up in Singapore among lots of contemporary design. So, when she was first asked to design a traditional faucet, her initial instinct was to create a piece fused with Asian styling. After all, traditional really is a matter of culture. She said, “Because of my background, I approach traditional with fresh eyes that combine my Asian influence with a more American perspective.” Her cross-cultural sensibilities have certainly influenced many highly successful product designs for the kitchen and bath. Arts speak a different language.
Because of her background in graphic design, Celine often looks to this medium to inspire her full dimensional faucets. “2D art speaks an entirely different language than things drawn out in 3D. It can be hard to translate, yet it’s where I often find my inspiration,” she said.
Follow your clients’ hearts.
Her advice to designers? Help clients follow their own hearts and not someone else’s. Their homes are their own, and media shouldn’t sway their true styles. “You can always help tie their rooms together with accessories like a pillow or picture, but it’s important to help them follow their hearts to make their homes more special,” she said.
Oh, and in case you were wondering what Celine made for her first piece of furniture… it was a coffee table, which she still uses today. Thanks for taking time to speak with us Celine!