Designer-couple James and Chelsea Minola match age-old furniture techniques with modern design ambitions and eco-friendly materials.

Since they founded Grain, husband-and-wife team James and Chelsea Minola have racked up an impressive list of achievements and accolades. The immediate appeal of the pair’s accessible, small-batch creations, which range from tabletop objects to rugs to lighting, has made them a design world darling (Grain’s work has made numerous cameos in this magazine, though this is their first time on this list) and has led to collaborations with industry giants such as Design Within Reach and Anthropologie.

James and Chelsea Minola

James and Chelsea Minola

Photo courtesy of Grain

But while their products are visually striking, the couple’s mission goes deeper, based on their firm commitment to environmental and social responsibility. 

“What is important is not just the materials we are using in our products,” Chelsea says, “but the ways we are showing up in our local community.”

Currently, Grain is working with more eco-friendly materials like cork (expect a new furniture collection soon), looking to bring more of its manufacturing in-house, and seeking more diverse vendors and partnerships.

Photo courtesy of Grain

Below, learn how James thinks design could be more inclusive and read more of his responses to our Q&A.

Hometown: Bainbridge Island, WA

Describe what you make in 140 characters. Grain is a design practice dedicated to social and environmental responsibility that unites manufacturing technologies and craft techniques.

What’s the last thing you designed? A robotic mill that we’re building for the studio.

The Saddle Stool by Grain

The Saddle Stool by Grain

Photo courtesy of Grain

See the full story on Dwell.com: The Dwell 24: Grain
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