Photo by Tyson Call
“There is room for all of us creatives in this world. Find your niche, find your unique voice and point of view and what makes you different from everyone else in this world and provide that to your audience / clients and you will be successful.”
— Andrea Beecher, M3LD
When asked to describe the moment she decided to become a designer, Andrea Beecher of M3LD responded with a knowing nod to a ubiquitous theme: “It’s always been in me.”
Armed with keen ambition and playful boldness, Beecher has crafted a multi-faceted design career characterized by both curiosity and focus. Her aesthetic is fearless and dynamic, often pulling from brutalist modern motifs and employing varied elements in intriguing and unexpected combinations. Across numerous creative industries, she has rolled up her (likely pattern-laden) sleeves and plunged in.
This process of discovery is complimented by a dual emphasis on collaboration and accessibility, overlapping themes reflective of Andrea’s belief that “everyone deserves good design whether you are wealthy or not.”
In 2015, Andrea partnered with Brian Garrett and Jason Frederick to launch her newest endeavor: M3LD, a brutalist inspired product design company with an arresting collection of furniture, lighting, and accessories.
Behind the phrase, “We’re not saving lives; we’re saving eyes,” the M3LD trio seamlessly mixes pattern, materials, manufacturing methods, and textures to create timeless nuggets of modern-inspired-va-va-voom. Beneath the combination of elements hums a strong cohesive voice—a striking blend of sexy and masculine that could be likened to that of Lauren Bacall: fiercely sophisticated. M3LD was identified as a “Trend Watch” display in their first exhibit at High Point, and has since garnered national attention.
TARRA recently connected with Andrea to discuss her experience as a designer.
Heavy Pet Dish, Burnished Brass | Photo: Reed Rowe
Mason Concrete Pendant Lamp | Photo: Reed Rowe
Q. Describe the moment you decided to become a designer.
A. It’s always been in me. When I was a child I was constantly collecting things to decorate my room with. Rocks, bottles, and free post-cards from galleries and such that I would frame to create my own gallery wall. I have a home video that shows me super stoked on Christmas morning because Santa left me curtains and a bedspread. I was seven. What kid at seven is excited about anything other than toys? So I’ve always known I guess.
Q. If you were handed any project in the world, what would it be?
A. I would love to design a boutique hotel with my two business partners. I love design that has a personality and voice. I love design that surprises and makes people think or laugh. A hotel would be a perfect outlet for that because a lot of people would be coming and going, giving each new person a new experience. It’s also a great project because there are so many different spaces in a hotel. Reception, lounge, bar, guest suites, the list goes on. It would be a lot of opportunity to be creative in different ways for different uses. I would love to use concrete to build a brutalist structure inside and out, reminiscent of the buildings in the late mid-century and in Eastern Europe.
Q. What is inspiring you at the moment?
A. The WWII war memorials, or Spomeniks, that were built in the 60’s and 70’s in the former Yugoslovia.
Q. Walk me through your creative process.
A. When I design furniture, lighting and accessories with my M3LD business partners the process is a bit different than that of my interior design process. It is fun to have different outlets for my creativity. And the act of creating and designing with two other designers is fun, I love collaborating.
Some of our best work comes through when we are brainstorming together because we all have different points of view and inspirations that manifest themselves. We start by sketching our designs on paper. Sometimes it starts with a shape or material. Then we make a prototype of the item out of cardboard, foam core and/or poster board so that we can make sure the scale is right. It also gives us insight into how it might be assembled or manufactured.
Then we do a technical sketch of the item. Piecing our design together with swatches for finishes, and all technical specs. Then we send to our manufacturers so they can produce samples for us to approve. For the arrival of the samples for our first collection, me, Jason, Brian and our partners got together to open all the boxes. It was like Christmas. We cracked a bottle of champagne to celebrate. Seeing the actual pieces that we had designed in the real was one of the most exciting things in my life up to this point. So amazing!
Q. What design rule do you love to break?
A. I’m not sure I’m breaking a rule when I do this, but I certainly take it to the brink when mixing pattern on pattern on pattern and many many colors together. To me there is no limit!
Q. What technology in your industry do you totally geek out on?
A. The wallpaper industry has had amazing things coming down the pipeline as of late and as I mentioned, I love pattern. In furniture manufacturing I love the use of 3D printing and large scale laser and plasma cutting machines that allow for really cool metal manipulation.
Q. Three items you can’t live without.
A. My 11” Macbook in rose gold, my entire business hinges on that tool.
My home. Is that too big to be considered an item? It is a place that I love sharing with my friends and family and a place that is a true representation and expression of who my husband and I are. Whether it be this house or any other, I can’t imagine not having a home that I can make my own.
A notebook and pencil. Not only am I an avid list maker to help keep me organized in my personal life and in business (I LOVE making lists), I am constantly noting inspirations, sketching new product ideas, taking project notes and journaling my travel experiences and destinations. For me the act of doing these things on actually paper with pencil or pen (I prefer pencil) is preferable to making notes in digital format. Not only is it super satisfying to cross things off of my lists, I also continue to add to those notes and sketches in what I would call creatively organized chaos.
Q. What are you most excited about for the future of your business/industry?
A. I believe people are more open and excited about design and art again. They appreciates what a designer can provide and/or offer and they see value in that and they are in search of cool products . Technology, television, the film, they have all opened people’s eyes to what is possible and what is happening out in the world and they want it too. I feel that everyone deserves good design whether you are wealthy or not. My goal is to help people bring good design into their homes if they want it, either with my product or with my interior design.
Q. How has being a woman in your industry/career been challenging and what have you learned from it?
A. In manufacturing. In interior design I faced a lot more challenges than I have in manufacturing. Because the construction world is predominately made up of men, I really had to command respect, study up, be more knowledgeable and be a problem solver in order to be taken seriously as an Interior Designer on the team. I guess I’m lucky, I have not seen any significant challenges in the manufacturing world to date. But I am a true believer in growing from challenges and pushing through anxieties towards my vision. I’ve come this far, there is not much that could push me off of the path.
Q. What is the one piece of advice you would give to young women who are just getting started?
A. There is room for all of us creatives in this world. Find your niche, find your unique voice and point of view and what makes you different from everyone else in this world and provide that to your audience/clients and you will be successful.
Q. Favorite Instagram account to follow and why?
A. @BRUTAL_ARCHITECTURE because I LOVE brutalist architecture. It inspires a lot of what I do.
Thick Accent Lamp | Photo: Ashlee Reed Rowe
Hank Concrete Pendant Lamp | Photo: Ashlee Reed Rowe
Angela Sculpture | Photo: Ashlee Brooke Carroll