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What Good Design Means to Eny Lee Parker

The designer, known for her sculptural ceramic furniture, takes us inside her studio and her mind.

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With Eny Lee Parker, the Queens, New York-based designer loved for her organic-shaped ceramic furniture, you can always expect the unexpected. Sure, you may recognize her Oo Lamp, an artful, hand-built lighting piece adored by design connoisseurs and home decor enthusiasts alike, or her terra-cotta-legged coffee tables that she first showed at Sight Unseen OFFSITE in 2017, but Parker has so much more to offer. With an insatiable curiosity, the designer is not one to be boxed in by any particular style, category or material. Instead, she is constantly looking to experiment, evolving as a designer each time she creates something new.

While lauded for her masterful use of clay, Parker, who launched her business while still attending Savannah College of Art and Design, has explored other mediums such as glass, designed cloud-like chairs upholstered in fluffy mohair, and even made colorful rugs that feel like eye candy for any space. More recently, the designer has announced a new project called “At Home,” a personal series of furniture and lighting meant for filling her new house with, starting with linen and sateen light pendants accented by romantic bows.

Here, we talk to Parker about her growing collection of work and what good design means to her, as she gives us a tour of her studio.

Eny Lee Parker Furniture Designer Ceramic Objects Lighting Oo Lamp New York Queens Interior Design Decor Studio Mirror Plants

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How she got into interior design:

“I wasn’t into studying before high school, and my mom noticed I focused better when I was drawing, so she encouraged me towards the arts. My main interest for college was painting and fine arts, but I was pulled into interior design — only because I was good at painting in perspective.”

What she loves most about working with clay:

Noguchi had said in an interview that he didn’t like working with clay, because nothing was impossible. He liked the restrictions and purity of materials in wood, stone and metal. With clay, however, you can do almost anything. But for that very reason, I love working with clay. I have a wonderful studio assistant who does most of the building now. Sadly, I’m on my computer a lot, but for new things, I try to be hands on.”

Eny Lee Parker Furniture Designer Ceramic Objects Lighting Oo Lamp New York Queens Interior Design Decor Studio Mirror Plants

Emmysu/Hypebae

Her work as a designer is ever-changing:

“I wasn’t aware I had a design language until people started telling me my work was quite organic and playful. I try not to focus on that, although it is a struggle not to care if your work is cohesive. I’m happiest when I get to explore, expand and grow into different directions, so I hope people are acceptive of that growth, regardless of a design language.”

How living in New York influences her work:

“I love the access to people — there are so many creatives, fabricators and museums here. I feel like New York is the portal to other countries as well. I love that you can meet anyone, literally anyone here in this city.”

“Personally, running a business, especially under your name, can be lonely. Being part of the furniture design community in New York is wonderful, because we help each other out. I’ve always grown up in tight communities, and that is 90 percent how I got here. I won’t have it any other way. The other 10 percent is luck.”

Eny Lee Parker Furniture Designer Ceramic Objects Lighting Oo Lamp New York Queens Interior Design Decor Studio Mirror Plants

Emmysu/Hypebae

Her definition of good design goes beyond aesthetics:

“Aesthetically, everyone has their own preferences. To me, if I connect with a piece visually, of course I’d want to buy what the person is selling. But who they are, and what they are about, weigh in a lot in that decision. I’m part of that generation buying into emotional design, or Transformation Economy, which means we crave the soul of the piece and want to connect with it on a personal level.”

Apart from the ceramic objects she’s known for, she has created some beautiful rugs as well:

“My best friend Spencer Malinski is a print designer, and we live together. During the pandemic, jobs were wavering and unstable. Luckily, my business was doing okay since people wanted to invest inside their homes. I felt like it was just the perfect time for us to focus on something together. Rugs were a mix of my interior design background and her expertise in 2D artworks.”

Eny Lee Parker Furniture Designer Ceramic Objects Lighting Oo Lamp New York Queens Interior Design Decor Studio Mirror Plants

Emmysu/Hypebae

On the concept behind her new personal series, “At Home”:

“I bought a house! ‘At Home’ is me creating things I’d want to live with, in my 1870s farm house in Connecticut. In a pretentious term, the house will be a designer’s rental, serving as a gallery for all things commissioned by artists I like and pieces made by me. In less of a pretentious term, it’s a storage unit where I get to keep my favorite things. This is the first time I design with myself as the user, since most of the pieces that I launch derives from a specific project and client — I’m very excited.”

What she has found inspiring lately:

“Korean artists and brands, such as Jinyeong Yeon, okkim studio, Studio HAK, Jungjoo Im, Seungjin Yang and Wonmin Park. I’ve been really enthusiastic watching the design and arts flourish in South Korea.”

Eny Lee Parker Furniture Designer Ceramic Objects Lighting Oo Lamp New York Queens Interior Design Decor Studio Mirror Plants

Emmysu/Hypebae

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