Peter Buchanan-Smith is a New York–based designer, author, and entrepreneur whose career has included designing book jackets for Farrar, Strauss, and Giroux; art direction of the New York Times Op-Ed page; creative direction for Paper magazine; and work for fashion icon Isaac Mizrahi, musical legends David Byrne, Brian Eno, Philip Glass, and the band Wilco. He is the author of several books, including The Wilco Book, and he has collaborated on many others, including Strunk and White’s classic The Elements of Style with illustrator Maira Kalman, and Muhammad Ali by Magnum Photographers. His first tome, Speck: A Curious Collection of Uncommon Things—which originated as a thesis project at the School of Visual Arts, where he also teaches—explores the fascinating lives of ordinary people and commonplace objects. This connection between people and objects is also at the heart of Buchanan-Smith’s latest venture, Best Made Co., a purveyor of bespoke axes that offers not only a finely crafted tool but an entrée into the symbolic world conjured by the object and summoned by its owner (adventure, hard work, balance, and so on).
Part of Insights 2010 Design Lecture Series.