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Meet the Makers: Ann Clark & Lena Georas of LAMOU

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LAMOU founders Ann Clark and Lena Georas are participating in this years High Point Market
furniture show at the end of October. Their exciting and innovative line of contemporary tables is exclusively offered at The Golden Triangle.

 

Before they head to the show in North Carolina, we asked them a few questions about themselves, their process, and products to take you behind the scenes at LAMOU.

 

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Where did the name LAMOU come from?

"We wanted to come up with a catchy name that also somehow describes the mission of our company. LAMOU comes from our initials “L” for Lena “A” for Ann and the Greek word “mou” which means “my” or “mine.” Sort of rolls off the tongue easily, don’t you think?"

 

 

What inspired you to start the company?

"As mid-career architects and long-time friends, we were both interested in the notion of design and community. After several brainstorming sessions the idea of opening design to a larger audience through new technology came about, and we decided to start with printing on wood table tops."

 

 

Why tables?

"We like the table as a metaphor for community: people come to the table, gather around a table and put things on the table. Tables are central to our lives at home and the workplace. We also felt that it was time to rethink tables. Why can’t tables be more like a pattern, rug or painting?"

 

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How do your backgrounds in architecture influence your creations?

Lena: "Architecture is about designing spaces for people to gather and a constant negotiation between the client and the architect. Living in Greece surrounded by spectacular landscape, I found myself focusing on views and framing in design composition. This led to further involvement with object design and painting. I also had the opportunity to design furniture with traditional craftsmen and loved the process."

Ann: "My background as an architect focused primarily around designing living spaces for families. Much of my design efforts revolved around the public spaces of a home, namely the kitchen and living rooms where people entertain and gather as a family. Kitchen islands and tables were always important factors in designing the right kinds of spaces for my clients’ desires. It became apparent to me that tables and table surfaces are essential to everyday life."

What played a role in the two forms: hairpin legs vs. Epic 'arch'?

"The first piece we prototyped was the Epic Persian Table. It came out of a conversation about surfaces and how one surface: a rug, could become another, i.e. a tabletop. Once we made the Epic prototype, we decided that we really wanted to open up the process of printing on wood to a larger audience, and create an affordable version which would be accessible to all, thus the hairpin leg version."

 

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Do you have a favorite?

"That’s a tough one to answer. We are both pretty eclectic in our style preferences, so depending on the mood and moment, our favorites can change.  We both love “Forever Zoe” from the Off the Wall Collection because she represents youth and energy in mature age.  We aspire to be like Empress Zoe!"

Can you walk us through the technical side?

"Actually there are two different manufacturing processes: one for the Epic Tables and one for the LAMOU side and coffee tables with hairpin legs. The Epic tables are made by laminating finely printed wood veneers to a bent plywood base, and then the veneer is coated with a protective lacquer. For the hairpin leg tables, the actual piece of wood goes through a flatbed printer and is digitally printed, sealed with a protective coating, then ready for use with minimal assembly required."

What program you use/how does the technology work?

"That is a trade secret."

What is the most complicated step in the process?

"For the Epic Tables, the application of the veneers is the most delicate part of the process and needs to be done with great care.  Also, particular attention to the design/pattern needs to be taken for best effect." 

Most rewarding?

"The most rewarding step for us, as designers, is actually coming up with the patterns and images that will go onto the tables and creating coherent collections. We get so involved when creating the files, its almost like being in front of a canvas."

 

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There is a lot of freedom in getting to create your very own piece with custom artwork--do you get a lot of requests for design help from your clients?

"We do get requests to help as not everyone has the computer skills necessary to create the proper files. We are more than happy to do so, but there is a fee for design and file management. We hope the onsite builder encourages more and more people to design their own table. We want to encourage freedom of expression and new ideas for decorating homes."

Was there a specific design that proved to be the most challenging to print?

"No. The printing really is dependent on the quality of the file. Because we both travel and collect images, sometimes a texture or pattern we want to use is shot from an iPhone. In that case, we need to do some computer work to bring the file up best print quality."

Do you have a LAMOU table in your home?

"Yes we do! We also have LAMOU tables in our office."

 

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Outside of personal/in-home use these tables would also look amazing in a lounge, restaurant even a hotel lobby... Can tables be produced on a commercial scale?

"Yes they can. Our production capabilities are scalable and we are anxious to see LAMOU tables in commercial settings.   We have discussed design collaborations with hospitality designers in Chicago, San Francisco, Providence and Tucson and will continue to pursue these collaborations."

Do you have a to-the-trade program for interior designers?

"Yes we do and we look forward to working with many designers."

How do you pick your featured artists?

"Being avid painters ourselves, we both know quite a few artists. We have started with artists whose work we know, but are hoping to get the word out and receive requests from artists and designers. We aren’t yet curating in an official way, but we know that when more artists’ start approaching LAMOU we will begin curating thematic collections."

 

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The 4-6 week turnaround is impressive for custom furniture creation. How are you able to produce pieces so quickly?

"The 4 - 6 week lead-time is for the LAMOU Classic line. We expect to be able to deliver these tables quicker as the demand increases.  The Epic Collection delivery time is 8 - 12 weeks, which we believe will allow sufficient time for design exploration for completely unique tables."

The prototypes were made in Rhode Island, now you produce pieces in Michigan. Why the move to the Midwest?

"We love Rhode Island, but the manufacturing capabilities for furniture cannot compete with what we were able to find in the Midwest. Also the central location of the Midwest makes shipping easier and more affordable throughout the continental U.S."

 

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Do you find that LAMOU pieces withstand the 'test of time'--especially given the swift pace of/changes in decorating trends and fads?

"The best thing about LAMOU tables is the versatility of the pieces. A customer can chose from a range of patterns, from classic to contemporary, art deco to pop art. The hairpin leg tabletops also can be easily changed according to season, occasion or trend.  The Epic Tables are more of a permanent decision for the customer.  The Epic Table is like a piece of fine art: you fall in love with it for life."

What is the most unusual image you've printed (or has been requested if you did not print it)?

"We have collected images from our travels and have beautiful patterns from Uzbekistan as well as files with old African textiles. These images are hard to find and are connected to personal stories, so for us they are special and unusual."

 

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