Kari Merkl, interior design faculty, exhibits two pieces from her Merkled furniture collection at the Museum of Contemporary Craft through January 2015.
Interior design alum Andee Hess and her firm, Osmose Design, was written up in the July 2012 issue of Metropolis Magazine, as one of a handful of designers who found creative ways to survive the recession.
Excerpt from an article by Ken Shulman in Metropolis Magazine,
July 20, 2012.
If anyone has found a silver lining in the recession, which has decimated the design profession, it may be the newest class of interior designers. The downturn in new construction seen in major urban centers has fueled an upsurge in renovation and consolidation. And the young founders of Internet start-ups, bars, and restaurants turn increasingly to contemporaries, independents like themselves who can channel unsketched visions into tangible forms inexpensively and on time.
A welder, furniture designer, and lighting specialist, Andee Hess graduated from Marylhurst University in 2003 with a degree in interior design and spent the next four years at Skylab Architecture, a Portland firm where she worked on restaurants and trade-show booths.
In 2007, Hess founded Osmose Design. The firm realizes fantasies and cloaked desires for Portland's youngest and hippest, and draws on the talents of the city's broad creative community. Hess has built a Mario Brothers–inspired roof-top installation for Panic Inc., a local software company, and completely designed the Commodore Hotel in Astoria, Oregon, which included a found-object installation wall. The hotel job led to the design of an installation for a private residence—a project for which Hess artfully mounted fragments of a disassembled upright piano on the walls of the owners' den.
When the financial crisis of 2008 hit the Portland design community hard, it actually brought Hess more work as architectural firms that had laid off their in-house designers increasingly turned to her. "It's forced me to stretch a little," she says, "to seek out all sorts of collaborations, with artists, engineers, sculptors—whoever had the skills a project needed." The recession also taught Hess an important lesson about business. "Our work is about developing relationships," she says, "about drawing people out to help them understand what they truly want."