What I’m Reading: William Holman of Guerilla Furniture Design

Inside Flipboard / October 8, 2014

Will Holman is a one-man design studio. Trained as an architect, the multi-disciplinarian took it upon himself to approach buildings from all angles. After graduating from Virginia Tech, he poured concrete at urban laboratory Acrosanti, taught carpentry to rural kids in Alabama and was an artist’s assistant on the South Side of Chicago.

Now back in his native Baltimore, Holman is helping a nonprofit company build safe, affordable makerspaces for local artists. He’s also a regular contributor to BmoreArt, posts DIY guides on Instructables and writes about design and the politics of craft at Object Guerilla, a blog “on the front lines of sustainable design.” His first book, Guerrilla Furniture Design, is due out from Storey Publishing on March of 2015.

Holman’s work is both purposeful and practical. As someone who spends a lot of time thinking about how structures impact our lives, he’s done his fair share of research. So we asked him: what are you reading?

There is so much media out in the world, and I get to it through a variety ways: streaming video, podcasts, radio, blogs, books, print magazines and social media. I use Flipboard to cut through the clutter and get a daily dose of useful information at the top of each day.

I read widely on a huge amount of topics like sustainability, food, politics, music, film, literature, design, architecture, art, urban planning, economics and history in order to inform and expand the horizons of my work.

My front page is news sources, so I can quickly catch general headlines. The second page is mostly design sites, spread across sub-topics like industrial design, technology, architecture and urbanism. The last page is longer-form pieces for when I have time in the evening, food sites, less serious stuff.

For news, I hit The New York Times, local Baltimore sites, then Quartz for business updates, The Daily Beast for headlines, and Politico for Washington news. They give me a good broad overview of national and international news.

In design, I check Core77 every day. They do great mid-length pieces that examine a lot of passed-over corners in the design world. I particularly enjoy their “True I.D. Stories” series.

CityLab and Places Journal are smart, well-argued sites about urban design issues, placemaking and sustainability.

Then in the back, I love Longform and The New Yorker. I really enjoy non-fiction across topics, and Longform pulls together the best articles from 20-odd good magazines. My parents always got the New Yorker growing up, and eventually I picked up the habit.

Reading informs me as a designer. Design does not exist in a vacuum. A well-informed designer is a well-informed citizen, putting the problem at hand into a broader social, economic and cultural context.

Follow William on Twitter (@objectguerilla) or find him at Object Guerilla.

~ShonaS is curating “Proof of Experience