There is the concept of a design studio, and then there is the conscious evolution to being an ethical design studio.
Year of None. has embraced this since its 2016 creation, and uses a robust whole systems design approach whereby the effects of a business’s actions on others are considered within its business model. The result is unique, handmade, carbon negative furniture made from responsibly sourced materials. We chatted with Mikey Kendrick, Founder, to get the details on the inspirations and ideas behind Year of None.
Why is it important that your Year of None. and your work be anthropological and ecological in nature?
I think that everything should be.
In my mind there is no reason they shouldn’t be when you consider all the modern tech we have today and all the great channels for public and international conversation. There is no reason why I think we can’t start moving towards more socially responsible, sustainable, and ethical business models. We really are operating on a global human spectrum, so that needs to be considered when creating new business models.
Starting Year of None. was kind of an experiment in that department for me. I worked for two big chemical companies and I kind of had firsthand insight of how that industry works. It’s not inherently evil, it always serves a necessary purpose in terms of human progress. I see that there are different ways of doing things now that aren’t so detrimental to the environment; that aren’t so exploitive.
What are your thoughts on your work and community? Is it aimed at setting an example for makers? Or just people to be more earth conscious?
Absolutely. In fact that was, and remains the main goal.
At the end of the day, speaking completely candidly, I could really care less about how successful my individual business is. What I care a lot more about is that it leaves a model behind for other people to potentially use to their advantage in the future. That is why it’s so important to me to take such a robust approach. It’s conceptual rather than physical.
You can run a sustainable business, you can be ethically inclined, and have a positive impact. It doesn’t have to be such a constant uphill battle, which is stigma that I think keeps driving people away.
The big answer is my business is a positive impact. A conceptual footprint. A high-impact for-profit businesses.
What’s a current project you’re working on now/or have planned later that you’re excited about and want everyone to know of?
My big project for 2018 is to essentially expand the line. The model is to have a bunch of existing permanent designs that people can order, and I also do a lot of custom work which is either full custom projects or dimensional modifications to what I have already.
My other big project for 2018 was to start a workshop that has to do with direct social impact. I retail in a store call Fourth and Nomad at Heights Mercantile. They’re a small shop run by Morgan and Andy Summer, and their whole store concept is essentially around local makers and artisans. We’re trying to come up with a concept for me to do with them so I can start teaching workshops at their retail location, which is a great way to do community outreach and to teach about concepts and ethical design.
If there was one thing you could let readers know about your work, what would that be?
It’s hard to pick one thing when you take the whole systems design approach, because there are so many different aspects of your business. You want people to know about all of them.
I’d like people to know that I'm local and that I encourage them to come pay a visit if they’re interested, because I'm happy to take time to chat and tell people about what I do and to discuss different opinions.
The Year of None. studio is located at TXRX Labs at 205 Roberts St. a5, Houston, Tx 77003