Five Minutes with Conrad Brown of Vancouver Design Firm, Knauf & Brown


Conrad Brown is one half of local design duo Knauf and Brown. Together, the two former skaters have made an impression on the global design community, winning awards and finding themselves featured in countless magazines. From lamps to chairs, Conrad has his hand in elevating these everyday home fixtures inspired by his background in photography. I had a chance to sit down with Conrad before he hit the stage for the next edition of PechaKucha Vancouver on September 21st, 2017:

What inspired you to become a designer? I grew up in a family that used G.U.M. brand toothbrushes in our kitchen to clean dishes. My dad would take a heat gun to the plastic handle and bend them so they were more ergonomic for scrubbing. So, shaping things has been part of my earliest days. I thought that if I could get in early on the product cycle, then people like my dad wouldn’t have to create these weird workarounds.

Speaking of workarounds, I never heard of anyone using tooth brushes to scrub pans before… Well, I don’t know if it was for pans specifically but it was probably for something daintier.

Did you use these custom brushes your dad made? I didn’t do the dishes. I was too busy being a dick, little kid.

Does your design have a philosophy that it abides by? You know the feeling you get when you gravitate towards a specific table or corner in a restaurant but you don’t know why? I want to create that feeling. I’ve always been really interested in the intersection between comfort and aesthetics.

If you could design for one person specifically, who would it be? Myself, because I don’t have a home full of things that are perfect for me.

What is something you want to design but you haven’t had an opportunity to yet? I’ve always wanted to design a pavilion; a semi-permanent, mixed-use space for people to hang out in. I would like to get shortlisted for the next pavilion at The Serpentine Gallery (in London) but I’m not sure we’re on anyone’s radar for that.

You’ve been commissioned to make a souvenir for Vancouver, what is it? A well-designed guide of etiquette for riding public transit. Just a little pocket guide to remind people of things like “don’t stand in front of the doors in the back” or “let people off before you get on.”

When you’re public speaking, you imagine everyone is _____ . High.

Are you going to be high? *laughs* … No comment.

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