ARTIST INTERVIEW: Simon St. James LeComte of NewMade LA
Company: NewMade LA
Artist: Simon St. James LeComte
Simon St. James LeComte is a 26-year-old designer based in Los Angeles. Simon’s father is Dutch and a European classic car collector, and his mother owns Amsterdam Modern (the largest importer of Dutch mid-century modern furniture in the country). He has been surrounded and inspired by Mid-Century design, particularly European design all his life, growing up in a mid-century modern home designed by Edward Fickett, Frank Lloyd Wright’s protégé. He relies heavily on the aesthetic, construction, and functionality of pieces within that era to motivate his work and inspire him. As a kid, he was fascinated by how things were constructed. He had a strong interest in creation and the mechanics behind products so he always knew that he would be hands-on. Growing up with these creative influences helped to curb his design sensibility towards more practical applications.
Simon owns and operates two design entities, NewMade LA, a product line which primarily focuses on home goods, and his own custom design label, Simon St. James Studio, which specializes in custom lighting for bars/restaurants, hotels, and private clientele.
Both design entities have grow exponentially since their launch. NewMade LA has been a featured brand for establishments such as Urban Outfitters, Nordstrom SPACE, and West Elm. His custom label has been lucky enough to have been a part of places such Oriel Chinatown, Café Birdie, Checker Hall, Tender Greens Boston, Hoxton LA, and SOHO House to name a few.
Regardless of the project and/or company, his main goal when designing is to create something timeless and impactful, and he feel that his work both in NewMade LA and Simon St James Studio are examples of that.
What would you say is the driving force behind your creative work?
It’s the inability to be completely and totally satisfied. While I stand behind everything that I design, I can’t help but feel like I can always do better and do more. It’s this urge to constantly progress that drives me to push myself and my vision.
How do you find a balance between practicality and beauty in your creations?
To me, it’s the same as a making a decision that requires listening to both your head and your heart. Both have to work in unison. Sometimes it’s easier to create for one or the other, and I think that the real balance is to make sure one doesn’t compromise the other. I always try to push my designs to be a work of art while still having functionality as a product. When designs exist on those two planes, practicality and beauty, that’s when you really make something incredible.
What are your most important artistic tools?
The pencil. I think that it should be one of the most important tools to every creative, and I think it’s one of the most overlooked. It allows me to think freely, to get out as many ideas as possible in a small amount of time, and it allows me to convey those ideas easily. It is the one tool that has been a part of every design, turning ideas into reality. It’s easy to be drawn to technology or rendering programs, but I think many overlook this very simple way to ideate.
Do you have a favorite creation, artwork, or design of your own?
That’s hard to say. Our 2-piece folding chair has been granted the Cleverest Design Award of 2018 by Architectural Digest, so I’m pretty excited about that one right now!
What is a new idea you have been working with recently?
Lately I’ve been experimenting with new forms, materials, and methods of production. I’m always trying to expand and try new things while sticking with the aesthetic and identity of the brand. I think this next round of new product should be worth tuning in to!