Sinclair Smith & Company is a multi-disciplinary design studio based in Brooklyn, NY. Our services include strategic consulting, industrial design and interior design.



Moses the vacuum cleaner

Posted on May 28, 2013 in Advertising, Brooklyn, Product, Research, SS&CO projects

I wrote my master’s thesis on the historical relationship between product design and social class and I really wish I’d found this advertisement in time to have included it. I’ve never seen an historical document spell out in more brutal terms the extent to which product innovation has changed the means and behaviors of menial labor to render the working class more “presentable” and the leisure class more able bodied. Whether they were on their way up or on their way down, families at the beginning of the 20th century who found themselves members of a new middle class were suddenly forced to maintain house and composure simultaneously; and mass produced consumer products filled the gap left by unaffordable servants, creating a huge market saturated by what have come to be known as labor saving devices. I was searching for something else when I found this ad in an early 20th Cent Brooklyn Blue Book here.

Also! Project at Wanted Design

Posted on May 23, 2013 in Education, SS&CO projects

I just completed teaching Design Performance for the first time in the inaugural year of SVA’s MFA program in Products of Design. I developed Design Performance for the department at the request of my department chair and mentor, Allan Chochinov. Design Performance is a five week course that examines the rituals of design exhibition and pushes students to explore and develop the space and behaviors they stage around the pedestal instead of solely fixating on the artifacts they place upon the pedestal. The official course description is here. The five weeks of the course at year’s end are followed by three intensive weeks of supervised production wherein the students prepare their work for public viewing.

The process my students went through culminated in “ALSO! Project,” which we presented at Wanted Design this passed weekend. The reception by the public and design community was beyond expectation. I am thrilled. We got a great tip of the hat from Julie Lasky on page 2 of her review of design week for the New York Times. Margaret Badore gave us a huge shout out in a dedicated post on Treehugger. And there’s a thoughtful post on Core77 by Ray Hu with some valuable crit and suggestions. The department has thoroughly documented the project on its blog here.

The coverage aside, I am primarily proud of the 16 dedicated individuals who dared to be this department’s first class and who followed me down the rabbit hole for the first run of my course. It was not always an easy ride. I am grateful to them for their trust and for their patience as I worked out the ideas of the class for the first time. They are an amazingly close, creative and energetic group. They deserve all the praise they are getting. They are (from left to right above in white shirts):

Willy Chan
Joseph Weissgold
Charlotta Hellichius
Damon Ahola
Kathryn McElroy
Rona Binay
Cassandra Michel
Mansi Gupta
Samantha Moore
Emi Yasaka
Zena Verda Pesta
Matt Barber
Richard Clarkson
David Thonis
Clay Kippen
Gaia Orain (not pictured)

The work they did in Design Performance was a group project. Each student took on specific responsibilities based on their strengths as unique designers but they worked as one and deserve to take credit equally.

Kathryn McElroy gets a massive photo credit; her insane diligence and skill is best seen on the ALSO! Project documentation tumblr. Additional credit is due to PoD faculty member Benjamin Critton who provided graphic direction and supervision for the project, actors Jason Schuler and Anna Foss Wilson who provided voice overs for “BOOM”, and Samantha Hinds and Marko Manriquez for their tireless coordination of administrative and technical needs of the department and students. Many thanks to Claire Pijoulat & Odile Hainaut of Wanted Design for hosting us, giving us carte blanche to do our work and providing access to the space and vendors. And last but not least, huge thanks to my mentor and friend Allan Chochinov for bringing me on as faculty and even bigger congratulations on an incredibly successful first year with the department. Here’s to many more!

We Are NPR

Posted on May 11, 2013 in Music & Art, SS&CO projects, Web

I’m super excited to have just launched a new song and a site for it. We Are NPR is a punk anthem for National Public Radio that I’ve been singing to myself for geez, like 10 years now? I’ve been writing it in my head and for the past year or so I’ve been talking to my good friend Timo Ellis (of The Netherlands) about recording it together. My chops are pretty out of shape for a super-charged punk tune without a lot of practice and I knew that with Timo being the ultra badass that he is, we’d be done lickety split. And we were! We tracked it all one day at a really fast tempo and then Timo re-tracked it slower another day and I put the vocals down and Ron Shaffer at Atlantic Studios West mixed it and then I designed a site for it and Isaac Lubow coded it and voila!!! So without further ado, using my old bandname, The American Trampoline Company presents We Are NPR!!

(The project page for it on this site is here.)

Multiplo– modular furniture cushions

I saw this product Multiplo on Treehugger and had to curse a little for the similarity it bears to one of my student projects, Gogo Blocks. Of course I’m not claiming foul play, and I applaud the people at Multiplo for the one thing it takes to make any idea come to life– follow through. They made it happen and their
product totally outshines my student models below…

foolinghoudini.com is live!

Posted on May 23, 2012 in Books, Featured, graphic design, SS&CO projects, Web

foolinghoudini.com is up and running. Many thanks to Isaac Lubow for a stellar coding job and Alex Stone for the opportunity. Reserve your copy of the book here!

New business cards!

Posted on May 16, 2012 in Branding, graphic design, SS&CO projects

These have been getting a strong response. Particularly from bankers and lawyers who are like, “shit, this is way better than the one I got.” I handed one of these to a former professor last week and she asked, “will you always be retro?” I’m sure I gave some bullshit neither-here-nor-there answer at the time, but the answer is yes. A resounding YES! I can do many things, but I will always have one foot in the past. Now to start that locomotive company I’ve been dreaming of…

foolinghoudini.com is set to launch!

Posted on May 15, 2012 in Books, Featured, graphic design, SS&CO projects, Web

Design and coding are complete for foolinghoudini.com, the website for the forthcoming book, Fooling Houdini by Alex Stone. You can see Alex talk about the book here. The book comes out in mid June. Site launch is imminent…

Dolce Vita Nolita store is open for business!

Posted on Apr 6, 2012 in Featured, SS&CO projects

Work is complete on Dolce Vita’s latest shoe and ready to wear store on Elizabeth Street in Nolita and the doors are open! Congrats and thanks to everyone at DV for another great project!

More photos to come….

Adobe Illustrator happy accident

Posted on Mar 16, 2012 in Architecture, graphic design, SS&CO projects

Now I just need to build one.

New pix of OKI

Posted on Mar 15, 2012 in Architecture, Brooklyn, Featured, Photography, SS&CO projects

I met photographer Naho Kubota when Brutus magazine brought her here to shoot our home, and the pictures she took were so amazing that I asked her to come back and take more like this one above of our kitchen. Check out Naho’s work and check out the pix she took of our place.