Logan Komorowski is a busy man. I write this before we arrive at his office in Guangzhou, China, where Logan both lives and works. This is the first thing that strikes me about him, and most likely to anyone who has been paying attention to the brand Logan has been developing since 2007. One has only to look at the recent growth of "United Strangers" to realize quite how busy a man he must be. New designs and additional stockists have led to increased demand, resulting in the expansion of "US" to include the Studio Goods line and an additional range of dining tables and leather sofas under the "United Strangers" umbrella. It strikes me as highly likely that a new branch of United Strangers will develop before long, as Logan continues to fertilize the brand he has been busy developing over the last several years.
But this isn't the reason, specifically, why Logan is so busy. Designing and developing products and dealing with problems is part and parcel any manufacturing business. The reason why Mr Komorowski is so hardworking is that he does not know how, or when, to stop. "I get restless if I spend too much time away from the office or the factory," he says via phone call from Seoul as we arrange an interview. That comment is Logan Komorowski in a nutshell. Hardworking, focussed, devoted to the brand and eager to spend his time doing what he loves. It hasn’t been luck that has driven United Strangers’ success.
Logan lives in a quiet residential zone in Guangzhou close to the financial center. From here the United Strangers studio (located in RedTory “art district area of the city”) is a short fifteen-minute drive away, through modern and ageing residential complexes.
We arrive outside the studio, housed in a modern container structure, where we enter through a large, iron, door.
AN INTERVIEW WITH LOGAN KOMOROWSKI
How and when did United Strangers start? How did this Project come about?
Our brand name tells part of the story: United Strangers. The original idea for this company was to be unique, to think differently and create our own world, where everyone is welcomed to come in and share. We pulled together people from all around the world and from all ages to create this exclusive design style. From New Zealand to France, USA, Canada, Mexico, Chile, Colombia, Korea and China, we are all different and this is why we can provide a unique design perspective; all our experiences are drawn together to create this unity. We are constantly searching across horizons and cultures to collaborate on our designs. Our team is excited for more people to join our community and live the design experience with “US”. Everyone walks a different path. We are essentially strangers but sometimes those paths lead us to unite and make beautiful products, and this is what we are excited about.
I loved design since I was very young. At 16 I started creating recycled furniture from timber that I accumulated while working odd jobs. Turning leftover timber into functional, long lasting furniture was rewarding and piqued my lifelong interest.
What pushed you to design furniture in China?
After building my design experience with architects and designers in Los Angeles and London I came to China to do charity work in Guiyang, Guizhou helping orphaned kids to improve their english skills. On that first visit I had an epiphany that I could design and produce the kind of furniture I wanted. There was a space in the design market that was waiting for us to create innovative and different designs for the world could see. I aimed big from the start and I needed an avenue for this creative side of me to speak out. So, in 2009 UNITED STRANGERS was created as a design company and in 2013 brand started.
Describe United Strangers in one sentence
United Strangers is a medium to high-end furniture brand, meeting the highest requirement in quality and producing furniture with a twist.
What types of people buy United Strangers products?
People who buy United Strangers furniture are generally young professionals with a flare for style. They are design savvy, care about where the materials of their furniture are sourced from and want high quality products that will last.
We are currently stocked on various websites, small local stores and specialty designer stores. Our aim is to find small distributors that listen to what their customers want. We would rather sell to a small number of like-minded people and be able to provide support to all the links in the distribution chain. We like to think of everyone we deal with as a part of the United Strangers community.
What’s United Strangers at present?
Our objective is to continue to provide the best products and services available. For that we need to keep the business centrally located. China is the ideal location for both manufacturing and logistical reasons. However we are always looking for new ideas and ways to improve our design, our materials and our customer’s proximity. In the future we may see smaller production batches and more on in store galleries in other continents.
And thinking of the future…
Thinking of the future, I would like to open 60 stores galleries worldwide. These could be a collaborative space with US products within a showroom or a stand-alone United Strangers store. We want to be the Strangers helping the retailers, wholesalers and websites enhance their business. In terms of design, we plan to provide a complete home area and come out with new ideas. Our current products are interior folused but our next step will be outdoor items. These items will be showcased at the next Shanghai furniture show in September 2018. Another exciting project we have coming up is the United Strangers coffee shop at Redtory. Construction is about to commence so it will be open soon. We will keep you updated through our Wechat, Weibo and Instagram accounts.
United Strangers use a combination of old and new designs coupled with ethically sourced materials from all around the globe, finished by skilled craftsman, leather workers and technicians. Was this intentional or was it an accident of circumstance?
United Strangers is a furniture company but also a design community; a place where anybody is able to feel good. It’s our spirit and we truly think this is reflected in our designs and workshops. In a world where cultures create conflict, at United Strangers we are trying to share theses cultures, learn from others, and be different by being united to bring joy, fun and happiness around “US”.
We also consider ourselves as a social responsible company. We take care of the environment by choosing to work with recycled and sustainably sourced materials, and we produce goods for the demand so that we don’t create unnecessary waste.
We have a good relationship with our team and workforce. Without them production would stop so at United Strangers we work closely as a team and constantly learn from each other.
Where and when can we take a look at a United Strangers showroom?
You are invited to come and see any of our showrooms our galleries and products can be viewed in the in the following countries: New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Korea, China, Singapore, U.S.A, Canada, England and more new markets coming so get in touch and we will point you in the right direction.
Every September we present our latest designs at the famous Shanghai Furniture show and attend the Las Vegas (June)and High Point(April 22-26) furniture shows in the United States.