Designer Profile: Susan Clark

BY: SERENA CIPULLO DECEMBER 8TH, 2017

With fundamental values in community and collaboration as a way to produce exceptionally designed furniture, home goods, and lighting, Radnor seems ideal for any design lover. Susan Clark founded Radnor in 2016 as a platform to meld the process of creating with the concept of community. "Radnor’s role is to facilitate and support the design process—acting as consultant, retailer, and manufacturer. Its brand identity is communicated indirectly through curatorial choices, and its value is expressed through the quality and success of the designers it showcases and represents."

Susan Clark, photographed by Matthew Williams

The importance of good design has always been clear for Clark, allowing her to carry with her moments from her education which enriched her views. She reflects that during her time at Parsons School of Design, "a lecturer showed us a list of all the toxic 'ingredients' in a typical wall-to-wall carpet that had been in her home for several years. The lecturer had taken her own blood test, revealing she too had high levels of the exact same toxins in her. This idea is something I have always held on to. Materials can literally become a part of us, even just by passively living with them. As designers who are actively creating these impactful objects, we must question and engage with material choices in our designs."

"If we, as artists and makers, are to communicate through visual materiality then we must understand this maker’s language first, in order to clearly communicate." - Susan Clark

Later, Clark attended the Appalachian Center for Craft and then worked as a professional glass artisan. "In this time I realized design was another language I needed to learn, so I made the decision to move to New York." The move worked out. Clark has now successfully assembled a group of talented, collaboative designers under the Radnor name. "As a creative, community is essential. I want to always be surrounded by different perspectives, aesthetics and thought processes. I believe these variations in viewpoint push us to think beyond ourselves and often generate better work because of it."

These different perspectives have seamlessly culminated into the minimal and chic aesthetic that is Radnor. "We believe that being surrounded by well-made objects significantly improves quality of life," Clark explains, "and we strive to enable more people to enjoy the texture and depth of handmade products in their homes."

The focus on quality over quantity is evidently important not only for Radnor and the designers it fosters, but also for customers acquiring their work. This rising demand could explain the recent success of artisans and makers. "Studio design as opposed to industrial design is absolutely becoming more prevalent," says Clark, "but this is also due to the access provided by social media and the internet. Designer-makers are now able to educate themselves independently and no longer require a master-apprentice relationship to hone their craft. The internet and community of makers/artisans sharing their processes globally afford a designer/maker the opportunity to continuously absorb material languages and fabrication techniques."

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