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I’ve shot Apparatus Studio for a number of years and I’ve watched their immense growth. They are part of my regular roster at the Milan Design Fair, and I have documented their ever-changing showrooms for Vogue Living. On top of it all, they’re the most down to earth people ever – I really admire them so much! It was a pleasure to go to their studio late last year to observe their dedicated team in action. Looking back at this shoot, it makes me truly miss the talented designers that I have got to know from the Milan Design Fair. 2020 is the first time that I have not attended this landmark event in the past 10 years but I’m sure it will come back stronger than ever.

Apparatus Studio is a high-end design studio. They create lighting and objects, fabricating them in-house with brass, glass, porcelain, lacquer and wood. Apparatus Studio was started by Gabriel Hendifar and Jeremy Anderson. Hendifar is the studios’ creative director, integrating his background in fashion into the tactility of their designs, and Anderson is a ceramicist, very much bringing his touch into their work. Their work is highly desirable because of its appeal to all of the senses. It is very apparent from their designs that there is a sensory element that brings the viewer in, giving all of their designs warmth. Visiting their showroom feels like a visit to the artisans of the 21st century!

What is something that I would be surprised to find in your space?
Perhaps technology. Although our work is not high tech in its nature, we use a lot of technology in its creating. Mostly because I like to see and hold and touch everything along the way. We 3d print a lot of components even before we start prototyping so i have a chance to really feel every part. Inevitably things change in subtle ways I would never have expected from drawings and renders alone.

Describe your ideal workspace in three words…
Focused, Textured, Energetic.

Where did you find the courage to follow your own path?
I was fortunate to work with very talented people from a young age. I think so much of my headstrong spirit was forged by these people. I worked with creatives who had built everything they had from the ground up. I was able to see what they did that worked and didn't work. I started to understand how strong my own instincts were.

What is the most productive practical tip you could impart on to a fellow creative?
Don’t force it. And this takes a lot of planning. Over the years I have gotten better at giving myself enough time in the year to work on a collection or project. Now I know how long my process takes for me to feel the best about the results. It has also allowed me to say no to projects, even if I think I could technically stretch it and make it work. I have become more aware of the things I look back at and regret or that stick out when I look at the finished product or space. And it’s not just about execution, this also relates to concept. I feel like I have to let myself live with an idea for a while before I feel it's ready. All of this is built into our studio calendar at this point.

What would you tell your 18-year-old self?
Honestly I would tell him that he’s loved and that he’ll find all the love he’s looking for.  I also might tell him his haircut isn't working, but maybe I’d let him figure that one out on his own.
What do you do to center yourself and find focus?
I find my focus in music, in conversation with friends and colleagues. I think I'm most centered when I’m able to tap into something larger than myself.

Does the space you work in have an interesting story?
It was built as a school in the late 1800s. The main part of our studio occupies the top floor which was originally the gymnasium, so we had these huge unbroken volumes we could carve into everything we needed and still have a sense of drama. For twenty some years before we took over the space, it was the home and studio of the painter Philip Taaffe. He had left it pretty raw so when we got there we were standing in a turn of the century school with paint splatters on all the walls from where his enormous canvases had been. It was pretty wild and I think he left a lot of good creative energy in the space.

What are you most proud of in the space?
I am most proud of my team. We’ve put together a really amazing, dynamic group of people that come into the studio every day and help us make beautiful things. For as much as we’ve grown and evolved, we still have some of our first team members around. I don't think I realized when I first started Apparatus how close I would get to some of these people and how they would feel like family.

What is your dream project?
I want to design a nightclub. Dancing is my meditation and I think these spaces have so much power. I can’t help but redesign every club I have ever been to in my mind, just the person I am. I would love to put that into action and make my perfect club with all the dark corners and runways and meeting points that I long for.

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