Jeff Davis has been designing and making objects and environments for over 25 years. Currently, Jeff owns and operates Vinylux, a Philadelphia-based manufacturing company that transforms vintage vinyl records into new products for the home.
What are your interests? What drives you and your work?
I am interested in discovering the meaning of the things we surround ourselves with — peeling back the layers of how we interact, why we choose, and how we are affected by the world of objects we live with. I am motivated by the act of discovering how a material behaves, both physically and how a material makes us feel. I love the discovery in design — when we are open to the feedback that comes from hands-on work. We make, we look, we think, we revise, and round it goes — there’s a conversation between ourselves the maker and things we make. I’ve worked with vinyl records as a medium for almost 15 years, and there are aspects of working with records that I am still uncovering — there’s a reward for digging deep.
What do you see as your unique skill sets?
I’m a hands-on designer. I need materials and tools in front of me in order to think — both with my brain and my intuition. I am a thorough problem solver, and I don’t take for granted that a design is successful until it proves out. I’ve got a sense of humor about the way we behave and subsequently about the tools and objects that I create.
Of your work in the world of design and the world at large, what is some of which you are most proud?
I currently am launching a new product — a Vintage Vinyl Bluetooth Speaker. The design was complex and challenging to create and involved a lot of different people in various aspects. There were FCC compliance regulations, manufacturing concerns, electrical component sourcing, licensing concerns, in addition to the function and aesthetics of the design. This was the biggest project that I have piloted to date, and am quite pleased with the final result.
What are you trying to accomplish in Product Design?
We are part of the discipline of helping to manifest the world we want to live in. What is meaningful? What do you care about? How can you help shape your environment to reflect your values?
Where can you see the field of Product Design going in the future?
I believe in the notion of a “system of values” — we have enough stuff in this country. We need to focus on creating meaningful experiences and interactions. This can take many forms — tools to aid the needy or well made furniture. As technology becomes more seamlessly integrated into our lives, physical objects can remind us of our humanity. We need to touch, to physically interact, to create.