The municipality believes in the design by the committee


For some principals whose names are engraved on the front door, the idea of ​​a commission design may make them hesitate. But within AD100 Commune Design, the model is really just that: a community of creative talent who live by the belief that design is best when executed collaboratively. “Everyone has a voice, and just [by] recognizing that, the product is so much better in the end,” says Roman Alonso, who runs the Los Angeles-based company alongside Steven Johanknecht. There is a caveat to this “everyone” quota, however, he jokes. “I have a rule: Check the ego and the lawyer at the door, otherwise you won’t get a good product.”

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In addition to – or perhaps even thanks to – harnessing many talents, Commune Design has fostered a portfolio that spans a number of creative disciplines, from soulful interiors to the packaging of a tea caddy. The studio isn’t one to be pigeonholed, but you can tidy up the various hats and remove the multi-hyphens as well. “I remember someone asked me, ‘So what are you doing?’ “says Alonso. “And I was like, ‘Well, we’re designing shit.’ I mean, how is it so hard to understand?”

Be sure to make this concept even clearer in a new tome. Common design (Abrams), which chronicles the studio’s creative endeavors over the past 15 years. In this week’s podcast episode, the company founders sit down with the podcast host and AD decorative arts editor Mitch Owens to discuss the book, as well as the founders’ training days at Barneys New York, their decision to launch in Los Angeles rather than New York, and how they approach the fearless design by approving the talent that surrounds them.

Listen to the full episode below or find it wherever you get your podcasts.


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