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Maker Monday: How One Artist Found His New Calling in Design

April 2, 2018

The latest edition of i+s’ Maker Monday series sheds light on HENDO founder Jason Hernandez who made the switch from visual artist to furniture designer.


Making a major career change can often feel both exciting and uncertain but HENDO founder Jason Hernandez clearly found his niche when he transitioned from paint to furniture/artist to designer.

Based in Brooklyn, N.Y., in 2015 Hernandez started HENDO, a furniture design and fabrication studio that focuses on creating unique, handmade pieces. Balancing function with modern aesthetic, HENDO-made desks, conference tables, and shelving units have already made their way into major office spaces like Etsy’s headquarters and retail shops that are home to the Brooklyn Nets. It goes to show that with great risk comes great reward.

While most of his work is done for private clients or through design and architect firms, select pieces can be viewed in-person at Shook + Co. in Redhook, Brooklyn and on HENDO’s website and Instagram.

In the newest segment of the Maker Monday series, interiors+sources gets a glimpse at what inspires Hernandez and his work, and what he sees in the future for interior design.

How did you get your start?

I began my career as a visual artist and moved into furniture design after making my first table in a metalworking class at the School of Visual Arts [in New York] almost ten years ago. That experience definitely tapped into a need to express myself in a more concrete way—more than what painting was doing for me. 

What inspires you?

I'm inspired by the different geometries and textures I find in the city every day. I find furniture design to be a challenging way to satisfy the artistic need of combining line, form, and material to create something functional and beautiful.

What is your favorite design era?

Sorry to go so predictable here, but mid-century modern is just the best.

What is the hardest part of the creative process?

Finding the time to bring all the ideas I'd like to explore into a real three-dimensional object. There's a whole lot of sketchbook drawings that will probably live there forever.

What’s your favorite color?

I have to go with all the colors combined...so black.

Do you have any rituals for getting out of a design rut?

I find a trip into the woods and coming back with fresh eyes to be most helpful but when there's no time for that, I try drawing forms way outside of my comfort zone then slowly reign it back in.

Who has helped you realize your dreams?

A really solid base of friends in the field. There's always a great exchange of ideas and I'm constantly learning from them.

What do you think is next for the interior design industry?

There are so many new man-made materials that offer makers opportunities to play with color and pattern; I think we'll be seeing a continuation of that. Then, eventually everybody will want some simple, beautiful walnut pieces again.

What is your favorite thing in your working environment?

It's a tossup between a dartboard and a needy mini schnauzer named Gus.

From what career or personal mistake have you learned the most?

Let's just say that a $400 car is pretty much always worth only $400. That can be applied to just about everything.

What’s next for you?

Shop dart champion and a new dining set that will be so popular that I can move out to the country to make it.

About the Author

Adrian Schley | Associate Editor

Adrian Schley is an Associate Editor for i+s, where she has been covering the commercial interior design industry since 2018. Her work can also be found in BUILDINGS and Meetings Today. 

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