From wooden robots to sprawling sectionals, American designer David Weeks takes a hands-on approach to his work, driven by the belief that design must hold universal appeal. Though he arrived in New York in 1990 with an art degree from the Rhode Island School of Design and the intention to be a painter, it wasn’t long before he instead applied his sculptural sensibility to product design.
Weeks transitioned from art to design while apprenticing under jewelry designer Ted Muehling soon after moving to New York. He started a metal-fabrication shop where he constructed curtain rods, tables and bookshelves for friends, eventually gravitating to lamps. It was in lighting design that he found his true expression, even if it took some time to get David Weeks Studio off the ground – he sold and delivered his first hand-made desk lamps from his VW Beetle. In 1996 he launched his studio from a factory in the DUMBO neighborhood of Brooklyn.
With a commitment to “democratic design,” Weeks applies a technique called “formal reduction” to his pieces, which involves a slicing away at generic shapes like orbs and cones until new forms emerge. After achieving some acclaim for his sculptural lighting designs, Weeks began to expand his design repertoire to include furniture and toys. His Sculpt Sofa Collection, which avoids right angles and takes its cues from topographic maps and modernist stone sculptures, received 2008 Good Design Award from the Chicago Athenaeum. His playful wooden animal and robot toys were also embraced by the design community – proving to be just as popular with adults as with children, and earning him another Good Design award in 2009. Weeks’ work has been used in projects for Barney’s New York, Kate Spade, Saks Fifth Avenue, MGM Grand Las Vegas, Bliss Spa, Brasserie NYC and the W Hotels. Additional honors include several nominations for the Cooper Hewitt National Design Award and he was one of seven designers chosen to represent New York at Berlin’s 7+7 Designmai exhibit. Weeks was also featured in the 2003 Cooper-Hewitt’s National Design Triennial: Inside Design Now.