Rockstar designers share the objects that made them

Over the course of our lives we all acquire things. Some are inevitably tossed aside as we move through various stages of our career, graduating from flat shares to owning our first home and ‘upgrading’ our lives. Other items take on a deeper meaning and occupy a firm place in our surroundings. We might find ourselves drawn to certain objects for comfort, or to find meaning. A splash-out purchase bought with your first pay cheque; a graphic design book that changed the trajectory of your career; a ticket stub from the night we met our spouse. 

In this special feature we’ve invited industry leaders in design, illustration, art and architecture to wax lyrical about objects that have inspired and influenced their creative lives. And we do mean industry leaders : there's swissmiss Tina Roth Eisenberg (this page), Aaron Draplin and Merijn Hos (page 2), Sidonie Warren (page 3), Dong-Ping Wong and Jon Cockley (page 5), Jessica Hische (page 6), and Benjamin Van Oost (page 7). From old records to handwritten postcards, rare flea market finds or relics from childhood, our eight creatives share their stories and reveal the truth behind why their chosen objects mean so much to them.

Tina Roth Einsberg

(Image credit: Tina Roth Einsberg)

Tina Roth Eisenberg is a Swiss born, raised and trained graphic designer. In 1999 she came to New York for a three-month design internship and never left. Often referred to as swissmiss after her popular blog, over the past 13 years Tina started numerous side-projects that have organically turned into businesses: a creative co-working community called FRIENDS; a global, monthly lecture series called CreativeMornings; a simple to-do app called TeuxDeux; and Tattly, a high-end temporary tattoo shop. She lives in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, with her two children Ella and Tilo who are teaching her the art of making slime and building forts.

(Image credit: Tina Roth Einsberg)

Notes from the Underground, by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

“A paper sculpture work crafted by Stephen Doyle, the book stands open, with words seemingly exploding out of it, masterfully assembled with an X-ACTO knife and a glue gun, the box was custom made. “I remember standing there, completely out of words, overcome with joy and gratitude. This was the most generous gift I have ever been given,” reveals Einsberg. “And it is now my all-time favourite object I own. It was gifted to me during a particularly turbulent time in my personal life, a time when I was redefining my life from the ground up. For me, this sculpture represents the notion of rebirth and a sense of potential.”

(Image credit: Tina Roth Einsberg)

Leaning in sculpture

“My father, who lives in Switzerland, suffered a stroke last year and had to move into a nursing home to get the care he needs. It was an emotional moment to see my dad, who always was a strong, entrepreneurial force in my life, losing his independence.” says Einsberg. 

“When I went to visit him in the nursing home, I noticed an artist exhibit in the entryway and fell in love with this statue by local artist Mario Campigotto. It now lives in my bedroom, and reminds me daily to stay curious, to lean into whatever life brings. My dad, even though he has almost entirely lost his eyesight and has other health issues, has stayed strong and optimistic. This statue is a daily reminder for me to stay in the energy of gratitude, just like my dad does, every single day.”

(Image credit: Tina Roth Einsberg)

Tattly confetti drawer

“Joy is at the core of Tattly, my temporary tattoo business. So it’s no surprise to anyone that we have an entire drawer filled with confetti. When you purchase tattoos on, you can add confetti to your package during the check-out process. Funny enough, it’s our most purchased product. We learned to be respectful and to confetti-warn the recipient: Our WARNING CONFETTI INSIDE stickers always put a smile on my face. 

"Our confetti drawer has reached a bit of a cult status and is usually the first thing people ask to see when entering our office space in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn. Everyone seems to agree that there is something really magical about running your hands through an absurd amount of confetti.”

Next page: Aaron Draplin and Merijn Hos

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Founder & director of Inkygoodness, Lisa is a published writer and arts journalist, focusing on creative business, graphic art and illustration and design education. Her words have appeared in Computer Arts magazine, Creative Bloq, Digital Arts and IdN.