Most people would be in agreement that bugs, planters and room dividers don’t have much in common, but Matt Genefaas and Dan Craig would beg to differ. The two juggle running an edible insect company, Crawlers, as well as a homeware company, Made of Tomorrow. Genefaas has a chat about what the new furniture range, Space Between, was inspired by, as well as how him and Craig spend their days in slashie roles moving between pushing dried insects to the world, as well as polished mirrors and space dividers.
What trends, colour palettes, or places inspired the latest Made of Tomorrow range, Space Between?
Last year, we were lucky enough to spend four months traveling the world. We spent time in countries where we had drawn design inspiration from in the past, embracing the culture of each city, and visiting design museums that we had only dreamed about visiting. Places like Copenhagen, Amsterdam and Greece were probably our biggest inspirations. Copenhagen and Amsterdam inspired us more in terms of a mood and feel that we brought though the collection, and in terms of a colour palette, I think that we were inspired by the pink skies and warm tones of the likes of Greece and Italy. Spending time traveling definitely allowed us to look at our company from a different perspective, and make improvements from what we discovered. In terms of design, it was more than just gathering inspiration that benefited our work, it was actually more about us discovering what our own style truly was.
How does it build on or branch out from previous products you’ve done with Made of Tomorrow?
In the past, we have changed every piece in our range for each new season, but recently we have decided to keep a smaller range of staples which are our top sellers. We do however have a few brand new ranges this season, being the ‘garden range’ and the ’surface range’. Dan and I both love collecting indoor plants but our two Burmese cats love to chew them! So we designed the new ‘Fold Arch Planter Box’ to be able to display our plants indoors so the cats aren’t able to reach them. (Update: turns out, they still find a way.) The ’Surface Range’ is an entirely new range for us. We have always wanted to design a new product line that is complimentary to the folded and powder coated metal products in our range, while still being the same minimal and architectural style of ours. The designs for both the room divider and lean mirror came quite organically – and we already have few new ideas to add to this in the future.
You and Dan are also the co-founders of Eat Crawlers, New Zealand’s first edible insect company. How do you guys juggle both these roles – is it difficult being a slashie and having more than one business on the go?
In short, yes it is extremely challenging. Each day there is a different challenge for each business, and each businesses demands are entirely different. Food production of edible insects and homeware don’t have a lot in common. We have developed a bit more of a routine now where we can spend some time focusing on each business each day, but as they both grown, this becomes more and more demanding. We know that putting in the amount of effort and work we do now is paying off, and we are excited for the future of both companies.
Do you treat Made of Tomorrow and Eat Crawlers as different creative outlets, or is there a bit of crossover in what you do in both?
We definitely get to be creative in both businesses, and in very different ways for each. My role is best described as creative director so I photograph and design all of the content for both brands. Made of Tomorrow is close to our own personal style, so designing for it is very organic and effortless. Then on the other hand with our recent rebrand of Eat Crawlers, we have gone with a very bright, enthusiastic and quirky design that is completely different from our personal style but it is enjoyable to have that creative outlet and also to keep challenging me in a design perspective. We get creative with both business, shooting fun campaign imagery and designing EDMs, etc. We like to have a big focus on this and to make the most of our in-house capabilities and skills.
What’s next for you two – do you have any other exciting projects planned on the horizon?
We definitely do! We have exciting things happening this year for both brands – and potentially a third company (why do we do this to ourselves?) Made of Tomorrow has a very exciting product launching in August which we will be showcasing on the international stage. And then Eat Crawlers has some very exciting things happening which are due to be announce in July, all going well! It has been, and will continue to be a very busy, and challenging year. But we love what we do, and it is incredibly rewarding.