From his studio in Nashville, Ethan Summers mixes local materials with sustainable designs to educate buyers on the origin and craftsmanship of pieces.
Ethan Summers, founder of design firm Oil / Lumber, grew up in a Japanese Buddhist home in Ogden, Utah, where—like a lot of kids trying to fit in—he wanted to “be more Americanized.” Now his background exerts a strong influence on his furniture, household objects, and clothing, whose aesthetic is tough to pin down.
His Kōhī table takes its name from the Japanese word for coffee and has cantilevered edges that tip a hat to George Nakashima, but its execution in Tennessee white oak gives it a Danish modern vibe.
From his Nashville studio, Summers has worked on local projects for clients like celebrity chef Sean Brock, boutique hotels, and retail spaces. “People tell me to hire more people, but the whole point of this was working with my hands,” he says. “I don’t want to lose that side of things.”
Learn why Summers thinks design could be more inclusive, plus read more of his responses to our Q&A below.
Hometown: Nashville, TN
Describe what you make in 140 characters. We are a design firm primarily focused on furniture, apparel, and home goods. These items are designed and produced in house.
What’s the last thing you designed? We recently designed a new table for a residential client that will be released in our line in a couple months.
Do you have a daily creative ritual? Five minute meditation, coffee, and music.
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