Spotlight: Brent Warr, ENVD ’19
Brent Warr graduated from the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture’s (APLA) Environmental Design (ENVD) program in 2019 and has already made strides in crafting an impressive career as an artist and furniture designer. After graduating from Auburn, Brent moved to New York City where he worked at alumni architecture and interiors firm, Meyer Davis. Following that experience he joined design firm Yabu Pushelberg until COVID restrictions forced him to return to hometown Atlanta, Georgia where he began his own practice and furniture design company. Brent immediately created and built his own distinctive line of furnishings and lighting; his first seven-piece collection will debut at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) in New York City in November of this year.
Recently, APLA Communications spoke with Brent and asked him a to share more about himself, his work, and how discovering the Environmental Design program impacted his education and career.
What are you passionate about? What drives your design?
Creating and crafting something beautiful yet functional that can inspire others and bring them joy.
Would you like to share more about your work?
I am very passionate about process, when it comes to designing and making. Most all my pieces are all prototyped multiple times until they work or look how I envision them. My first full collection (Woodfin) is an exploration of form, materiality, and function, contextualizing imagination and breathing new life into more traditional materials typically not used in the craft of furniture making. The sculptural furniture, lighting, and decorative pieces are made by using a unique wood, plaster, and paint mix to create a compelling and whimsical collection.
How did the Environmental Design program help you get where you are today? Did you always know that you planned to go through the program?
Surprisingly no, I was actually in the Architecture program my Freshman year and I had taken Magdalena Garmaz’s Intro to Environmental Design course. I had no clue what Environmental Design was and with it being a relatively new program at the time (2015) but I spoke with her a bit more about the flexibility it offered and a week later I went to my advisor and changed [my degree to Environmental Design]. Once in the major, I realized it was much more than I originally thought. The ENVD program is truly a one of a kind major that really allows you to explore and understand different design disciplines and use that understanding to create a major tailored [specifically] to every student. While you are exposed from a multiple different design disciplines early on, the program allows you to tailor it to what you want in terms of focus. In your junior and senior year you have the opportunity to dive deep in issues that gives you true depth over breadth of project. The most valuable thing I took from is program as well as from my teachers (Magdalena Garmaz, Jennifer Smith, and Robert Sproull) is true design thinking. Seeing problems and issues from a holistic point of view and then using resources around you to solve them. Whether it be from interviewing residents that are being affected by a real world design or giving real design briefs to potential clients, the Environmental Design major truly prepares you for real world experiences and challenges that sets it apart from other majors at Auburn University.
Is there a person, saying, or quote, that inspires you?
I am inspired by many designers, artists, and general people all for different reasons. As a furniture designer I am obviously inspired by other interior and furniture designers, furniture makers, and artists. For example, I am inspired by Brancusi due to his use of shape, form, and minimalism to craft striking and industry changing sculpture art. But, I am also inspired by current day thought leaders who focus on mindset and understand the mental challenges and struggles we all face and how to combat and excel past them. Both things are important to be inspired from. One creatively inspires, while the other intellectually inspires.