Talking to...Edward F. Weller III for the Weller Group USA
Edited by Karen D. Singh -- Interior Design, 8/1/2007 12:00:00 AM
Working at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill for 13 years, Edward F. Weller III climbed the ranks to associate partner in charge of interior design. While designing interiors for various financial companies, projects that often included custom furnishings, Weller discovered a passion for product. He founded the Weller Group USA in 2005.
His Trumble desks and tables meld the contemporary and the traditional, while the similar Reade line features sharper edges. Arbitus case goods offer wire-management options for the slickest of hedge funds. For the Battery Park office collection, four different work surfaces can be specified. And Studio 3 is a series of occasional tables.
How did you first get involved with furniture?
At SOM, I learned about scale, proportion, and function and how to apply that knowledge to both interior architecture and furnishings. The experience of taking a furniture concept from the abstract, on paper, to the actual was so exhilarating and rewarding for me.
Could you describe the journey from SOM to your own furniture company?
After I left SOM, I first opened an interior design firm, E.F. Weller & Associates, in 1990. It was during one of our projects that a representative for Halcon saw what we had created and asked if I would be interested in designing a line. I jumped at that opportunity, and the result was Gemini case goods and conferencing. I realized that I had a facility for furniture that other designers wanted to purchase for their own projects.
Do you identify more with cutting-edge or traditional?
Good design is good design. I see it as my responsibility to our community to offer different styles, so designers can respond to clients' needs. As long as the designs function meaningfully in today's context, then for me they're relevant. I enjoy working in various vocabularies.
How do you picture your buyer?
Most designers have neither the time nor the budget for customization. My hope is that they will find my products pertinent to their own specific objectives.
How do you arrive at materials and color palettes?
When I design an interior, the furniture is an integral part of my total statement, therefore I use materials that complement the architecture. That means the materials include wood veneer and paint, to which I add metal, glass, rubber, and fabric. We offer only finishes that are low-VOC—since it's also important to be environmentally responsible.