Behind The Design: Peek & Trilogy Collection

Posted by Jamie Stern on 5/6/24 11:56 AM


Form and function come together beautifully in Peek & Trilogy, a quartet of new tables and stools designed by Timothy deFiebre for Jamie Stern. These deceptively simple pieces feature a careful balance of line and volume in streamlined silhouettes that work in multiple settings, including corporate, education, hospitality and residential, providing easy, lightweight options to choose from.

Read our interview with Timothy deFiebre below to learn more about his creative process, the inspirations behind the Peek & Trilogy Collection and the designer himself!


Could you describe your inspirations behind your new collections?

I’ll go way back on this one. I went to grade school in a western suburb of Chicago and I give my mother credit for taking my five brothers and myself into the city by train to The Art Institute where we would make a beeline to look at the famous Seurat A Sunday on La Grande Jatte, the Thorne miniature rooms, and this Clyfford Still modern abstract painting that was all black except for a small red area at the bottom left. All these for a young kid were a bit of a mystery but they struck a nerve in me.

Later on in college I would take out the classic MIT large volume BAUHAUS book. The images in there were not only my first formal introduction to the roots of 20th century modern design, they also spurred an interest in architecture, furniture and industrial design as well.

All these things became a basis for a way of looking at things for me. When you work on something that is simple like Peek and Trilogy, each curve, each thickness, each relationship of parts – all are important – maybe like each Seurat dot or that little touch of red by Still. Little things do make a big difference.


Where does your process begin when designing a collection?

When I start with a new client, I look at what products they have and try to find categories and solutions that will help them in the marketplace. At Jamie Stern they have a large selection of seating but didn’t have tables or stools. They have ottomans and poufs that do well but were not very mobile. I felt lighter weight designs, like the Trilogy, served two purposes as tables and seating on common bases would be the best additions for the company.

How long has this collection been in the works?

The designs were first started in late 2022 and first physical models were reviewed in spring 2023. The next round of revisions was documented and the final prototypes were complete for preview in late 2023.


Did you encounter any unexpected obstacles or challenges during the design process?

I don’t think the challenges were unexpected – but they are often the same with any new design. I draft in 2D on my laptop and then have it computer modeled. Once I’m happy with the design I then send it to manufacturing for a sample to be produced.

For these new designs I was adamant that the leg diameter be 7/8”. The first model produced had 3/4” legs which is a much more common stock size. and I remember telling Jamie that I had studied this and I really felt it was wrong for the factory to take liberties in changing this. When I saw this smaller size against a later specified 7/8” sample I had to admit the factory was right. As designers, we need to keep a sense of open mindedness because when something is visually right it’s right. And I told the head of manufacturing just that.

Do you have a personal favorite piece from these collections?

I like the Peek products because they have the added feature of stackability, allowing them to be efficiently put aside when not needed or brought out when they are required. The Peek's simplicity of four legs attached to a table surface or seat opens up more possibilities like other top sizes or shapes to answer multiple interior needs.


How do you hope these pieces will be used?

I try to make sure that whatever I design can fill multiple applications so I never create just a residential, hospitality or a corporate piece. I look to design things that have universal appeal – that’s why I call these beautiful generic pieces. Hopefully they can be used by anyone where they fill a need.

Do you have an early design memory that still informs your process?

I actually have one more beyond the Art Institute. When my father would travel to Europe on business and I would go with my mother to drop him off I remember seeing San Serif type for the first time – most likely Helvetica – in the airport signage at O’Hare Airport. Even though I had no idea what it stood for that typeface sparked a curiosity in me – It was so different from the Chicago Tribune Logo’s Old English Font I would see each morning on our doorstep.


Do you have any plans for future collections?

My next project for Jamie Stern is a lounge chair that I’m just now reviewing a first prototype of. First models with all their imperfections lead to a better design in the end. I often say that I don’t always know what beautiful is so I continually try to extract the ugly until the object feels like it is at rest.

Do you have a dream design project?

Honestly, I don’t think that way about design – I have a slew of concepts that I still want to tackle at some point.

Lastly, do you have a favorite vacation spot?

Although my trips there have always been on business I love Milan. I tell people that Milan is not beautiful in the way you have in the grandeur of Rome or the refined elegance of Paris – its beauty is in the people on the street and the work that they produce. My most recent visit to the Triennale was like being a kid in a candy store – all these classic design pieces that I had seen for years in books were there to revel in, to study scale and see 360 views of objects that still inspire. If that’s not a vacation I don’t know what is.

See more from the Peek & Trilogy Collection by Timothy deFiebre for Jamie Stern here.


Topics: Furniture

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Jamie Stern Furniture, Carpet, Leather & Fabric blog JSpecify4 is a blog developed to educate, inform and inspire you. Educate? We stick with what we know and we know a lot about Furniture, Carpet, Leather & Fabric! Inform? Find out about everything from our newest product releases to industry news. Inspire? View our custom stories or see some of our latest installs for a creative boost.

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