Up & Coming Sustainable Designer: James Lear


James Lear has some serious design pedigree. Before enrolling full-time as a student at the Rhode Island School of Design’s Furniture Design Department, he cut his teeth as a fabricator for both Bettencourt Woodworking and Scrapile (both TH faves, who can also be seen in living color on TreeHuggerTV here). Though he's still on board with Bart and company at Bettencourt Green Building Supplies, James has begun designing and prototyping his own designs, with a strong focus on sustainability and smart, green design. "Trace," the chair pictured above, is a "practically and aesthetically light-weight dining chair constructed with low-impact and reclaimed materials", according to Mr. Lear, and we like the looks of it. He continues, "The piece takes conscious note of sustainability while avoiding it as an aesthetic consideration...(its) intention was to derive iconic images of the chair and 'trace' it in space with bent rod, creating a fundamentally minimal, but entirely identifiable, form." The simple design is created from simple (for the most part) sustainable materials: a stainless steel rod, hemp/organic cotton quilted seating surface, reclaimed/recycled carpet pad (used as batting). After the jump: another of James's prototypes and more pics. ::James Lear Design

The "Profile" table takes a similar approach and employs a similar design aesthetic to the above chair; spare, sophisticated lines are created by an archetypal table profile that's updated in an attempt to change the common construction associations. Bamboo ply sits atop an aluminum base, a material which, Lear notes, is energy-taxing in its manufacture, but offers infinite recyclability. A more detailed look at the table (below) reveals the thoughtfully simple construction. Learn more about Lear and his burgeoning design portfolio at his website.