Founded in 2012, Galanter & Jones has been making waves in the design industry and beyond with their innovative line of heated outdoor seating. We chat with Miranda about their backgrounds, how the design was developed, and what inspires them.
Hi Miranda. I understand you and Aaron grew up in Montana, what part?
We grew up in Missoula, Montana. We also spent some of our childhood living in Greece. That’s why all of our pieces have Greek names!
What drew you to San Francisco?
Sixteen years ago, I flipped a coin between NY and SF and SF won! It took me a while but about eight years ago, I convinced Aaron to join me.
Did you have backgrounds in the design industry before starting Galanter & Jones? What are your individual roles in the company?
Aaron started in the architecture program at the University of Arizona but realized that it wasn’t as creative as he wanted it to be so he switched majors. He’s always built and designed things but the Helios Lounge was the first item that he developed with the idea of making an actual product. I was the style editor at Sunset magazine for years and have done lots of photo and floral styling. Currently, Aaron is in charge of production and design and I’m in charge of sales, marketing and PR.
“It’s not easy to manufacture or be creative in San Francisco but having a very supportive and cool community of like-minded people inspires us and keeps us moving forward.”
Where did the idea for creating heated outdoor seating come from?
Aaron was working on a design/build project in the Mission District and had the idea to make a piece of heated outdoor furniture. It worked really well and when he looked around and noticed that there wasn’t anything like it available, he dropped everything and spent about ten months prototyping the first piece at TechShop in San Francisco.
I see threads of continuity from California Mid-Century Modernism to your designs – the casual indoor/outdoor lifestyle, organic forms, and emphasis on function over decoration. What is sometimes forgotten is the technical innovation that led to many of the iconic Mid-Century designs, such as Charles & Ray Eames’ molded plywood and molded fiberglass chairs. I also see that technical innovation in your work. Are they an inspiration to you?
Yes, absolutely! Many people think that our pieces are also molded fiberglass and are surprised to learn that they’re made from cast stone. We’ve drawn inspiration from Mid-Century designs, California icons (like Heath Ceramics), indoor/outdoor living (our childhood in Montana and Greece). We are really proud to make a beautiful product that also solves the age-old problem of staying comfortable outdoors.
Anyone or anything else that you are inspired by?
The design community in San Francisco! It’s not easy to manufacture or be creative in San Francisco but having a very supportive and cool community of like-minded people inspires us and keeps us moving forward. We are also really inspired by road trips, the ocean, travel and our parents. They are the coolest.
Your designs feel right at home here in California, but they’re also suitable for many locations and climates. Any unusual or unexpected orders you’d like to share?
We were inordinately proud when we got the first order from Montana! Thinking about our pieces in our home state fills us with pride.
You recently added benches to your collection of sofas and chairs. Are there any other new designs in the works?
Yes! We are working on a new, lower cost line that we hope to debut before the end of the year. We want everyone to be able to afford heated outdoor furniture because well, it’s pretty great. Our favorite stories are the ones from clients who tell us about all the time they now spend using their outdoor space because of our products. That’s so satisfying!