12 May 2017 | Hutspot Interviews

Introducing | Umbra Shift

We are very happy to be introducing Umbra Shift into the Hutspot family. Our newest brand features a collection of products that combine contemporary influences in the design industry. We sat down with Mingus New, Product Developer at Umbra Shift to talk about the brand, inspirations and what not to spend your first paycheck on.

Umbra Shift

What is Umbra Shift about?
For over 35 years, Umbra has been revolutionizing the industry with its application of thoughtful design to everyday items. Umbra Shift revisits these roots with a group of established, emerging, and in-house designers who share Umbra’s passion to re-think, designing personal objects that they themselves would want to give or use at home. The result is a collection that expresses different point of views, yet sits together with a shared belief in ideas that are functional, familiar and forward thinking.

When did you decide to become a designer?
I was raised among a family of artists, so there was so much creative energy around me. It was reflected in my childhood, but as I grew up I started to take a liking in mathematics and geometry. I became torn between two of my passions; engineering and visual arts. When I was 17, a family friend introduced me to the world of Industrial Design, and ultimately it seemed like the perfect marriage of my two obsessions. My designs are a marriage of maths and art – I try to keep mathematical elements present and yet also deliver aesthetics at the same time.

Umbra Shift

How did Umbra Shift came to be?
In 2014, I sat down with a few other Umbra designers at my apartment to discuss ways in which the company could be improved. Les, the president, had noticed a gap between Umbra and leading independent retailers. We wanted to create a subsidiary company that was a shift from what we already had in place, and Umbra Shift was born. It created a platform that allows us to work with incredible external designers, experiment with new vendors and materials, and re-imagine what an Umbra product can be.

Who do you look up to?
My grandmother, Debbie New. She creates unconventional designs – such as knitted sculptures and ornaments – through many different complicated techniques. In a way she redefines what knitting can be and broadens the horizon for knitted products.

Umbra Shift

If you could work with any person, dead or alive, who would it be?
Dieter Rams. He’s a renowned industrial designer from Germany. I’m curious as to what he would say about Apple removing the headphone jack. Such controversy!

What is your advice for other young entrepreneurs or artists?
Don’t spend your first paycheck on an Sottsass vase. Ettore Sottsass is an Italian designer known for his glassworks. They’re quite expensive.

Is the business you different from the private you?
The business me smells better I think (grins)!

Umbra Shift is available at all our stores.