Joe Munson is the rare artist who brings to every project a perfect blend of daring design, mechanical ingenuity and finely finished fabrication – from lustrous aluminum furniture to spectacular transforming glass walls. Part artist and part engineer, Munson is known for his minimalistic aesthetic and intensive, perfectionistic approach to craftsmanship. Using the most durable mediums, Munson’s designs are built to last.
“Our studio produces functional art pieces. Every detail must be precisely choreographed into a beautiful form to fully define a physical space.”
– Joe Munson
ARTIST, INVENTOR, FABRICATOR
Joe Munson is the rare artist who brings to every project a seamless palette of daring design, mechanical ingenuity and finely finished fabrication. Part inventor, artist and engineer, Munson designs and fabricates custom furnishings, displays and high-concept art installations utilizing metals, glass and acrylics. Munson is known for his minimalistic aesthetic and intensive, perfectionistic approach to craftsmanship using the most durable mediums; Munson’s designs are built to last.
Munson is renowned for creating sleek, original furnishings from lustrous aluminum seating to spectacular sliding steel doors that are described as artfully designed machinery. Furniture is functional art, says Munson. Every element must be precisely choreographed with seamless mechanics in an elegant manner to define a physical space. With a keen ability to assess a design challenge, determine inventive solutions and deliver an uncommon alchemy of function, artistry and exacting craftsmanship, Munson has earned a reputation for his imaginative approach that pushes the boundaries of what is deemed possible.
Munson sweats the details and never accepts the notion of design constraints, often devising custom hinges, latches and locks to accomplish his vision.
To guard his authentic instincts, Munson avoids being influenced by convention, trends or the mass-produced. I try not to bombard my senses with imagery of what’s been done. I don’t want it to influence my creative process, Munson says. Yet he readily admits being influenced by the groundbreaking work of minimalist artist Donald Judd, inventor Burt Rutan, and acclaimed sculptor Alexander Calderfor whom Munson’s son, Calder, is named.
Joe Munson was not a typical kid. He spent countless hours immersed in designing his own model airplanes, custom kites and off-beat contraptions. His endless curiosity was captivated by discovering how things worked or how he envisioned they should. Born in Kansas City, Mo., Munson was raised with an intensive Midwest work ethic. His aesthetic point-of-view was greatly influenced while attending high school in London and traveling throughout Europe. In 1996, Munson pursued his creative aspirations and moved to New York City where he worked as a designer and fabricator in the chic Tribeca neighborhood.
As the owner of Fabrikom, Munson designed and fabricated hundreds of installations for dotcom entrepreneurs in the heart of New York City’s “Silikon Alley”, including a complex broadcast interface for Pseudo, one of the first interactive TV-Internet networks started by entrepreneur Josh Harris, which became the subject of the Grand Jury Prize winning documentary film “We Live In Public” at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival. Munson’s design and fabrication work has transformed a broad spectrum of Manhattan real estate including workstations for Weiden & Kennedy Advertising, high-end displays for the flagship Swatch Store, fixtures for the Wolff Shoe showroom, and interiors for New York’s chic bars and restaurants, including the Sapphire Lounge. He has collaborated on diverse projects with renowned design teams across the country, from Gluckman Mayner Architects in New York to Exhibitgroup Giltspur in Dallas where he led the company’s design and installation of retail kiosks for the nationwide rollout of LEGO stores.
More than an artist, Munson became a true artisan working alongside New York’s top craftsman, architects and designers. For the self-taught designer, Munson credits his decade working in the Big Apple as a defining training ground that dramatically impacted his evolution as an artist and shaped his high-concept, high quality, minimalistic aesthetic.
In 2006, Munson returned to his Midwest roots to start a family and open Sukhoi, a design firm in Kansas City’s Creative Crossroads District. Sukhoi was recognized internationally for its sleek, award-winning Series One furniture line. Not surprisingly, “sukhoi”translates in Japanese to “wow” — a common reaction to Munson’s lustrous and ingenious creations. In 2009, Munson scaled back production of Series One to expand his focus on custom design and fabrication with the launch of Joe Munson Studios.
Joe Munson’s custom designs have been featured in international trade shows and publications,including Lucky, Interior Design, Interiors & Sources, Soho Style, Design International, Hudson Magazine, New York Magazine, KC Magazine, The Kansas City Star and KC Home Design.
Munson also serves as a guest lecturer on furniture design at the Kansas State University College of Architecture, Planning and Design.
Today, Joe Munson continues to create objects of beauty that transcend the mundane, the expected — and as many of his clients will concede — the imaginable. His functional works of art are one-of-a-kind, designed to meet the distinctive tastes, requirements and high expectations of his valued clients.