Re-imagining Your Desk, Chair, and Everything Else

Your desk. How many countless hours do you think you’ve spent there, thinking up how to solve your next engineering or design problem?

And your chair. Oh, your chair. You inch it closer to your desk whenever on the verge of making modeling breakthroughs. Other times, you push it away from your desk to stop for just a moment, needing a second to free your mind and allow for new perspectives.

It doesn’t matter what you’re designing. It could be shipping containers, soap bottles, flashlights, or conveyors. We all probably have similar habits when it comes to how we sit – and where we sit – when we design.

But there are some, of course, who design the desks. There are some, of course, who design the chairs, and there are some who get new perspectives in unique ways – that is to say, not only from increasing the distance between their desks and their chairs for a fleeting moment of solitude and free thought.

Meet the guys at Garrett Brown Designs, custom furniture and interior designers who draw their inspiration from a relatively familiar source. “We both pull a massive amount of inspiration from nature,” Grey Carruth, a lead designer, said of himself and owner Garrett Brown.

Grey continued with an example: “The topography landscapes that mountains create are art pieces in themselves. We find ourselves utilizing actual topography scapes in our designs.”

Cabinets for a spa in the Newark Airport featuring topography doors, designed the team at Garrett Brown Designs.

When it comes to ‘landscapes,’ Garrett himself actually started off his design career by designing them,

“My design career started at the young age of 17. I started my own landscape design company with my brother in my hometown of Silver Spring, MD,” Garrett told me.

At the time, all of their design work was “was done to scale, by hand.” Funnily enough, considering the utterly awesome designs he and his team manifest today, he “didn’t even know that 3D design software like SOLIDWORKS existed.”

He continued to work with his brother on their business for about seven years. Then, after “a couple years of odd jobs and wrapping up school at CMC in Steamboat Springs, CO,” he really found himself becoming more interested in the arts.

“My apartment back then had a huge open wall that was in desperate need of a large piece of art,” Garrett recounted. “So, I hired a local artist to help me design and build a 4′ x 10′ piece of art. After we completed the piece, a friend came over and fell in love with it.”

“He asked me if I could make a headboard for him. I said to him, ‘Why not make a full bed?'”

 

The bed that started it all, combining Garrett’s love of custom furniture building and art inspired by the world around us.

And so it began!

“If that client hadn’t asked me to build him a bed,” Garrett professed, “I may never have gone down this path. When I designed and built that first piece, I knew I was hooked for life.”

Fast forward to today, and you’ll see that Garrett, Grey, and the rest of the team not only design ‘desks’ and ‘chairs,’ but they design beautiful, imaginative, natural desks and chairs as well. And much more, such as fully custom interiors.

Now, if you wanted to see an example of some of the work I’ve done, I could show you some videos I’ve made online. I could probably scrounge up some pictures of some things I’ve created. Some 3D models I might have. With Garrett Brown Designs, you can get a holistic idea for their passions and work just by taking a quick visit to their Instagram page, which boasts over 5,400 followers and shows tons of high-quality examples.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

The Juxtaposition Desk features a desktop planter with a fully functional drainage system to keep your plants green & happy 🌱

A post shared by Garrett Brown Designs (@garrettbrowndesigns) on

 After years of hard work, Garrett now has a full team – including Grey, who we heard from earlier – that focuses intently on making “custom furniture designed to be passed down through generations.” They do this with the help of SOLIDWORKS.

“I’ve combined everything I’ve learned about SOLIDWORKS and put it to use at GBD making very detailed assemblies and shop drawings,” Grey explained. “I found a way in the first two years of using the program to use it in more of an art sense. The final render was exactly what I desired the product to look like. This led me to fall in love with designing the aesthetics of products.”

For Garrett, there are “a variety of reasons” he uses SOLIDWORKS – beginning with the parametric design capabilities SOLIDWORKS possesses.

 

A side-by-side of one of Garrett Brown Designs’ assemblies and where the final product physically exists today!

“This really helps us when we designed a rough draft of a piece,” he elaborated. “If the size of a steel tube changes from 1″ square to a 2″ square tube, we don’t have to redraw the entire piece.”

Another big factor for them is communication. “Almost every company accepts the SOLIDWORKS files that we use, and they can read them easily.” Because many of them are using SOLIDWORKS already, Garrett says they “can share files back and forth and easily solve problems without having to go down a rabbit hole.”

Next time you’re inching closer to or or further away from your desk while using SOLIDWORKS, remember: perspective and inspiration can be gained from almost anywhere. Sometimes, you can get it from increasing your own headspace. Or, like Garrett and Grey, you can gain it from experiencing the outdoors.

Hopefully, after reading this story and seeing some of their creations, you gained it from this piece, too.

Sean O'Neill
I'm a Community and User Advocacy Manager here at SOLIDWORKS. As a longtime SOLIDWORKS user myself, I love meeting with users and hearing about all the interesting things they're doing in the SOLIDWORKS community!