Creative Friends: Eve Fineman

Each month, we ask 6 questions of a friend whose creative work we admire.

This month we’re featuring architect and designer Eve Fineman. She does everything from residential and commercial interiors to furniture and product design, and is a writer and professor, to boot.

1. How’d you end up doing what you’re doing now?

I have been interested in design, and particularly furniture and interiors, since I was 7 years old. I was inspired by a picture book I had called “The Fourteen Bears in Summer and Winter” by Evelyn Scott. In the book, each bear had a summer and winter home inside a tree trunk. The bears each had unique personalities, expressed through their choice of furnishings inside the tree. I studied the interior of each bear’s tree trunk for hours, trying to decide how the spaces related to their personalities, and which ones I liked best. Even then, I gravitated toward the modernist bear. He is clearly the coolest one!


2. Describe a typical day.

I often say I have never had the same day twice, with the one constant being coffee! This set-up is by design, as I thrive on having many variables thrown into my days, including teaching design studio at Columbia College Chicago, working on client projects, collaborating with other artists and designers, working on speculative pieces, entering competitions, programming design events, curating exhibitions, reading, class preparation and administrative work. So instead of describing a typical day, I will describe today:

I wake up, drink coffee, take my son to school, come home to eat breakfast and gather materials together for back-to-back meetings. I head over to an architect’s office with whom I am working on a couple of projects. I meet with the architect and project manager about a law office interior renovation that is in the punch-list phase, and then meet with the architect about a kitchen renovation project that is currently in for permit. I stop back at my home office to grab acrylic and a custom concrete mixture, and head down to school to meet with a student intern. We determine the best processes for making molds to produce packaging and a new base for our lamp (below), that is being shipped off to Italy in less than 2 weeks. I eat tacos, continue to work on the lamp redesign, and then go to a studio visit with textile designer Dee Clements, as part of the programming for the League of Women Designers (of which I am a member and co-programmer). After the studio visit, I will go to one of my favorite Chicago bars, Danny’s, to celebrate a friend’s birthday and dance to music spun by my friend Damon Locks. (I will also probably eat and drink during the last 2 parts).

P.S. My son is not still at school waiting for me.



3. What are you working on now that you’re most excited about?

I am working on a residential project for clients whom I have worked with for years. Our current project involves a very modern buildout of a garage roof deck, including an outdoor kitchen and modern hot tub, wood screens and movable louvers for overhead shade. It will be all custom and very cool, like a relaxing private outdoor room in the trees.


4. What have you done there that you’re most proud of?

I am most proud of my teaching accomplishments. Seeing so many of my talented former students contributing beautifully and successfully to the world of design is incredibly satisfying.


5. What would you most like to work on (fantasy or reality)?


Collaborate with an audio engineer to integrate sound components into furniture

Learn more about designing for production, as an outgrowth of my furniture prototypes and custom one-offs

Get back to metalsmithing and design a stylish chain for reading glasses (to solve a personal problem)

Begin a collaborative project investigating the intersection of furniture and fashion

Curate a traveling exhibition for the League of Women Designers

Design a small modern vacation home for myself!

On a more macro scale, I want to grow my business to a place where I am able to integrate all of the facets of design that I practice and love.


6. If you weren’t doing this, what would you want to be doing (fantasy or reality)?

Fantasy: Conduct design research in collaboration with a neuroscientist or neuropsychologist, to understand more fully the brain benefits of good design, from healing spaces to places of domesticity.

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