Squares stand as pillars of form.
Squares make us think.
Bruno Munari said a square is a “harmonic skeleton,” and he was correct. A square is a shape of near infinite potential. With four equal sides and four equal angles, it’s possible to see simple form from a distance, or to look closer and reveal the Golden Section curving into the logarithmic spirals found in nature, animals and ourselves.
What we do is who we are: our shape is our form, inside and out. We’ve chosen the square for its inherent meaning, potential, and purpose. Our endeavors draw inspiration from nature. Our labour is done to improve the world, to leave it better than we found it by elevating ideas and expanding life’s potential.
“I design modular, interchangeable forms for others to create with. For me, the player is of equal importance in the design process, giving life to otherwise inanimate objects.” —Karen Hewitt
“Partnering with Karen has reinforced the importance of play in the design process— how the more useful, enduring ideas so often come from the least structured, ephemeral moments.” —Byron O’neill
Karen is a renowned toy designer living in Vermont with work featured in the MoMA and internationally. Byron O’neill is a Creative Director at Solidarity, who has been part of the team for 17 years. In 2015 the pair connected and began a nearly decade long collaboration that took them from Karen’s enchanting attic toy-workshop to toy fairs in Nuremberg, Germany, culminating in an exceptional feature in Shelburne Museum’s recent Object/s of Play: The Work of Cas Holman and Karen Hewitt. Their carousel-inspired geometric toy designs are beloved and have a future far beyond this single show.
For decades we’ve enjoyed the immense honor of calling Burlington, Vermont our home while collaborating with creative partners across the planet. There’s a certain standard of work expected by an audience that thinks globally, and we’ve always brought that attitude and quality home with us.
It was with immense pride, and considerable joy, that we collaborated with our dear friends and long time partners at Higher Ground Music and The Iskra Print Collective on Echo, a print retrospective. 367 poster designs, 280 pages, 25 years; the book is an echo of the unique relationship between an independent live music venue, a design studio (that’s us), and a silk screen collective across the past quarter century.
Beyond the book itself we collaborated closely to put together a decades-spanning gallery show including 100 selected posters printed by Iskra, designed by us, for a concert at Higher Ground. The walls were full of art from beginning to end, and the gallery was full of friends and fans. Across the many years, many folks from the art community in Vermont have participated in this ongoing celebration and collaboration, and most of them came to celebrate the book.
The Burning Chair is Burton Snowboard’s first ever video advertisement. First published in 1998 it remains sacred in the minds of true believers despite an almost unfathomable simplicity in production. In the early days of JDK, now Solidarity, a La-Z-Boy chair was found at the dump, driven up the mountain pass in Stowe, Vermont, doused in lighter fluid, Macgyvered with a car battery, and with some frayed wires, ignited (no permits included). The message is simple: get off your ass.
We did a lot of work we love, and we met a lot of people we’re proud to know. In the world of design, good work doesn’t slow with the seasons, so we’re sure this winter will be much of the beautiful, purposeful same.
See you soon.