Michael Ryan is an award winning product developer and trend forecaster, offering his services and journalling his work at Michael Ryan Design, based in Chicago, USA. Michael has always been drawn to textures and colours with a history behind them, and a story to tell. He was raised in Colorado and now lives in Chicago, so coastal and mountainous lifestyles have shaped his design style. So we are proud to bring you the Designer Insights of Michael Ryan.
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Images: 1) Rock Crystal Chandeliers – ebanista.com 2) Cortez Desk – julianchichester.com 3) Embroidery/Applique – hollandsherry.com 4) Serpent Side Table – rosetarlow.com 5) Estate Planters – longshadow.com
1) In your own words describe your unique style and creative aesthetic?
I would have to say my Colorado roots have influenced my creative aesthetic towards items with history and functionality. When products tell the story of home, I have to grab them.
2) When starting a new project, what is your creative process?
First, I learn everything about the client possible, their needs, their lifestyle, and their plans for the space, including future growth. Then I tailor my sensibilities and product knowledge to help them along the way with selections to installations.
3) Out of the creative people you have worked with, who is it that you respect and admire the most?
Right after college I felt I knew everything, & why not?! I had spent enough time studying and experimenting in different mediums. I could not have been more incorrect! Soon after, I landed my first design job in a large corporate environment and became good friends with my then mentor Mr. Gregory Blow. He had taught me in a short amount of time how to design for retail stores, and to communicate with vendors from around the world. After a year or two of mastering CAD systems, and private label product development he introduced me trend development. This changed my entire way of thinking. From that point on, I was able to research, design, defend and publicly speak about design decisions that effected not only mass merchant accounts but my own design sensibility. Afterwards, I was afforded the opportunity to work freelance and start working for myself. Thank you Greg.
4) When looking for inspiration is there a particular thing you do to get inspired?
I rely on important memories from the past. Then I recreate the essence of the moment by selecting corresponding textiles and products that are a continuation of that lifestyle.
5) What has brought you to this point in your career? And what is your advice for people looking to follow in your footsteps?
Stay in school, graduate from a good college and align yourself with successful companies, mentors, and products that inspire you. It does take a while, be patient, work hard and gain all the experience you can in the area that you love. The rest will fall into place.