If David Hockney and Charles Eames had a design baby the result would be Eric Trine’s vivid geometric furnishings and playful interior objects. Lauded for his use of clean lines paired with classic materials and a bright color palette, you can’t really turn a cheek without spotting his shapely work these days. Not only are his pieces seen in stylish homes from coast to coast, collaborations with West Elm and Need Supply make Trine a high-design sensation on the rise.
What do you offer that other brands or sites don’t?
"The first thing that comes to mind is: color. We offer nine standard colors in all of our small products, and the chairs and stools come in 13 colors. The second thing is price — our products are relatively affordable considering everything is made in Los Angeles. Our Octahedron Side Table is $299 (available in nine colors), it’s hard to beat that."
What does a typical day look like for you?
"I’m at the studio 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day. Our studio is both a workspace and a showroom. My day is a mix of emails, dropping off or picking up pieces from our network of vendors, and then a lot of photography and Instagramming. I shoot all of our stuff in-house, and I actually still "Insta" gram — meaning, I don’t pre-plan my posts, I actually share what we are actually working on at the moment."
What’s been the most rewarding project you’ve worked on to date?
"We’ve been fortunate to collaborate with some great clients and brands, but my favorite thing is our new studio space with the showroom. Being able to host our own events, showcase our products in our space, and have the community of Long Beach roll through, has been really rewarding."
Tell us about a recent challenge and how you worked through it.
"I just had to work through my first price increase from one of my main vendors - most of my small pieces went up by 10% and they increased my minimums. We had to adjust to the increase, and we just have to be way more strategic with our production strategy."
What’s one thing about the design industry you’d like to change?
"Counterfeit furniture is a major problem in the industry. And the biggest issue now is that social influencers will often push products that are knock-offs, or represent brands that sell knock-offs. I’d like to see influencers take a stand to support authentic design, rather than sneaking people in the backdoor to 'get that look.'"
How would you describe what you do to someone who has never seen your work or site?
"I run a small design studio, we design and produce our own line of furniture and home accessories, and we also design for other brands. We like to throw around this phrase 'Amigo Modern' to describe our aesthetic — it’s like a Southern California friend, casual version of modern."
Who are your design icons?
"Jasper Morrison is at the top of my list right now, but one of my all time favorites is Russell Wright."
What other professions did you consider and why?
"When I was a kid I wanted to be an architect, but since high school all I’ve wanted to do is teach. I still want to teach, and I’m planning to incorporate that into my routine this year by offering workshops and things of that sort."
What advice do you have for people trying to enter the design space?
"Work hard and find your voice, and set up your strategy for the long haul. Cultivate practices that will make you a better designer in five, 10, 20 years. Read books."
Is college needed — yes or no?
"I don’t think it’s 'needed' but it’s definitely helpful. Having a cohort of students and professors around you for years is a very special opportunity. I grew immensely during my time in both undergrad and graduate school."
What’s next for you?
"We are debuting a new chair this spring, a fully revamped website, and showing for the first time at ICFF."
See the full list of Lonny’s design disruptors here.