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Life in Clarks | Calen Knauf

What are you working on today?

Today I’m working at the Stussy office. Also working in the studio on a new bowl design and prepping a diffuser to slide into new light that made for a show in Toronto based on pieces that are all milled aluminum.



Can you tell us a little about your design practice? How did you get started with Industrial design?

I went to design school out of high school. My dad was a graphic designer, pre computer/Photoshop, designing by hand, watching his process inspired my interest in physical objects and made me want to go to school to learn more about design. I started out doing graphic design, but then my interest in 3 dimension objects just got heavier and more important. Now I can’t imagine any other pursuit in life than building my own products and shaping things.


How have your design evolved over the last few years?

My point of view has changed, I’ve been considering the way the world changes around us. For example, I was working on developing a water based light, using a large bag of water as a heavy mass for the base. The purpose was to preserve an archetype of light base, like an Arco light, with a big heavy block of marble at the bottom with a big arching stainless steel bulb at the top. The one I was working on is still a decorative light but avoids shipping all that unnecessary weight around the world, its packed small, because the user would add the water when it arrived. This caused the shipping process to be less of an impact and in-turn being more environmentally sustainable, and also keeping this archetype of light around because no one wants to ship a heavy chunk of marble.


Clarks Orignals - Suede Desert Boot

What other steps are you taking to keep your practice sustainable?

I’m trying to normalize sustainability, it should just be part of what you do, a step in the process. I am making products that people are buying in a considered way, they may be more expensive but they are never going to be thrown away, if it’s broken, fix it and love it, keep it forever, re purpose it, or pass it on. No ones throwing away an Eames chair. Re purpose things, recycling takes energy. 



Where do you draw your inspiration from? How do you stay motivated?

Literally everywhere, my daily life. Even watching YouTube, I saw a video on the representation of gravity, this inspired this suspended bowl I’ve been working on. It’s like a Lycra hammock, you can put your fruit in it and it decreases the pressure points that cause bruises. I’ve had this Muto fruit bowl I’ve had for years, it looks cool but it sucks, like most fruit bowls, they have hard walls that taper to the center, so you put a soft mango or banana in there that’s not shaped like the bowl, it puts a bunch of pressure on all the spots on your fruit and starts to bruise them and eventually rot them. I put tomatoes in this bowl and you could just feel their future (laughs) you’re going to rot in like 2/3 days. But when you put fruit in this bowl, you can feel their future and it’s a much brighter future.

What styles of projects are you looking forward to as you further your career as an industrial designer?

Keep going, building on prototypes. We started in 2013, 9 years ago and it’s been a long slow burn to become successful. Its complicated hobby, but I really enjoy it. Clients and other work feeds, I do what I like and if the world likes it, that’s great, if not I’ll keep going.

What music are you listening to in the studio lately?

A lot of House and Disco. The Libra mixes, and local mixes, like MoodHut and the Pender Street Steppers.

 Clarks Originals - Wallabees

Why did you choose this pair to wear today?

Of all the Clarks these resonate the most. The oldest pair of shoes I still own are a pair of Wallabees I had lusted on in high school and I have had them since.


 Clarkdale Gobi - Atticus Lace - Leather Desert Boot


Final words?

Don’t buy shit you don’t loose sleep over.


You can see more of Calen's work at

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