July 8, 2024
3 min read

Into the mind of Lichen co-founder Jared Blake

Jared Blake is the co-founder of Lichen NYC, a Brooklyn-based design incubator and studio centered around furniture and spatial design. Blake and his partner have created something unique with Lichen. They design furniture; they sell iconic pieces from Pesce to Eames; they make room for conversation around design and community. After several years appreciating Lichen's excellent taste and intentionality around design, we were eager to know what's been on Blake's mind.

What’s the best compliment you received recently?

I try to dodge compliments so as to not get addicted and remain humble. Please forward all compliments to my work or team.

What’s the last thing you read?

"Tribal Scars" by Senegalese film director Sembène Ousmane. I found it at a bookstore called Myopic books in Chicago. It's a great read, a series of chapters which could each be a movie.

What do you want to read next?

I’m starting this book called "The Gene Keys" by Richard Rudd. It’s like a culmination of two other books I’ve read to get to this point, that are connected but also really juxtaposed: The iChing by Fu Xi and "Archaic Revival" by Terrance McKenna.

A quote that’s meaningful to you?

“To be Bobby then, you gotta be Bobby now.” - Jay-Z

It’s a reference to Bobby Brown's rockstar-like stardom in the '80s and the unfortunate cost that lifestyle lead to. It’s a take on the quote "'Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all."

Best gift you’ve ever given?

That’s a good question. I wouldn’t say it was the “best” or a “gift” persay, but I was able to track down and return someone’s wallet who left it on a bench outside of our shop the other day. I’m pretty sure no gift I’ve given anyone felt better than that for both of us.

Where do you want to travel to next?

Still haven’t been to Paris. I’d like to see what the fuss is about.

What would you buy, if money weren’t an issue?

A house / farm.

What hobby would you take up, if you had the time?

Homemade small batch Yerba Mate. I’ve been tinkering with my own and it’s cute, nothing serious.

What’s an image or piece of art you can’t get out of your head?

I have a disdain for 90% of art I see. The pricing structure makes it an elitist construct to me, but that’s a nuanced conversation for another time.

A product of any kind you’ve been appreciating lately?

The Hake Brush [Lichen designer] Eric makes. Dust is a part of life; I live a dusty life so...

The funniest thing you’ve seen or heard lately?

The “I’ve been a nasty girl” guy with glasses brings me joy.

I’m also rewatching "Ramy," that's been really funny.

If you could build an extension of your own mind, what would it look like? How would it work?

I think I’m living in that vision with Lichen? Aren’t we all living in our choices to some degree? Dave Chapelle had this quote he mentioned at one of his stand ups:

“We’re living inside the biggest dream in the room.”

He said at the moment he’s rich and we are all paying to watch him do something he loves, but then he mentioned being in Saudi Arabia performing for a prince on his birthday, and that at that moment he was living in the prince's dream. The prince was like “Look, I have Dave Chapelle at my birthday.”

I think if I had some utopian views, money would be obsolete or trade and barter would be more prevalent. Capitalism ain't it, clearly, but we’ll be here for a bit until we figure out a better system.


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