FLORIDA WEEKLY: CHAD JENSEN …of Method & Concept masters the details

DESIGNER Q&A
DESIGNER Q&A
published on February 13, 2020

Most people might recognize Chad Jensen as the founding director of Method & Concept (formerly the Thomas Riley Studio), an art gallery and design studio that represents some of the finest early and mid-career artists.

But as a craftsman and interior designer himself, Mr. Jensen has worked on some /of Southwest Florida’s most amazing properties. Luxe  Living’s Michael Korb spoke to him Chad Jensen about his craft.

Q: When did you first know you wanted to do interior design? 

A: It wasn’t until my late 20s, early 30s. I’m a fine artist and craftsman by education and training, but I’ve always had an interest in interior spaces and industrial design. The more my fine art and design practice evolved, the more I realized the importance of a holistic perspective, meaning it became less about the individual object and more about the sum of all the parts, with the interior space serving as the backdrop or canvas.

Q: Where did you learn the craft?

A: I studied fine art and industrial design at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit; however, my greatest education came from my father. He was an industrious man who, aside from having a formidable career in automotive

manufacturing, remodeled every home we lived in, so the idea of adapting a space to suit your needs was familiar to me at a young age. Per my father’s advice, I also sought out people who are the best at what they do and learned from them.

Q: How important is craftsmanship to good interior design?

A: Craftsmanship is paramount. The failed execution of a design can negate the entire project, no matter how good the idea. The client should be able to immerse themselves in what you’ve created without the distraction of flawed craftsmanship, otherwise that’s all they will remember. Too often people try to separate fine art, design, and craft, and they have a tendency to box you into one or the other. I have always felt those things share a symbiotic relationship, that neither can exist without the other. I articulate it this way:

ART = concept

DESIGN = human factors + problem solving

CRAFT = materials, process and execution

Q: Where do you find inspiration that translates to your interior design work?

A: It sounds too obvious, but clients are most often the muse. I rely on their interests, the way they live and their openness to explore new ideas. Beyond that, I rely heavily upon research. I love digging around to find little morsels of unrecognized potential and bringing that to the forefront to add a story or meaningful connection. When you find that, the design process truly becomes exclusive to the client.

Q: What do you ask of clients in order to know you’re on the same page?

A: The first thing we like to do is establish a firm level of trust, because we are about to embark on a journey together into the unknown, hopefully to a place that is completely unfamiliar to them because we are creating an experience they have never had before. As an artist I’ve developed the ability to withstand criticism, so I ask clients to be brutally honest with their responses to design ideas. We don’t let them off the hook with a simple “I like it” or “I don’t like it,” however. I ask them to examine and articulate why they are having that feeling, like the way one should appreciate and critique art. This can often be a profound perspective shift for our clients if they have never been asked to examine their intuitive response to something. ¦

—Method & Concept 26 10th St. S., Naples 239-529-2633 www.methodandconcept.com

This vignette-styled gallery installation features works by five artists: Brett Harvey, Kate Silvio, Matthew Shlian, Bower Studio and Chad Jensen.

This abstract expressionist painting by Method & Concept artist Carmelo Blandino is in an Aqualane Shores home.

The complete remodel of this kitchen incorporated flooring, ceiling, lighting, a La Cornue custom range and cabinets, one-of-a-kind exhaust fans and an artist-painted eglomise glass wall.

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Sarah Baker

Art & Design Coordinator

Sarah Baker is inspired by artist studio practices and as the Art and Design Coordinator at METHOD & CONCEPT she is dedicated to supporting the creative process. A graduate of Florida Gulf Coast University, Fine Art program, Sarah is active in the SWFL art & design culture and is an artist in her own right.Integrating her skillset at a maker with expertise and knowledge of fibers and textiles, Sarah collaborates with METHOD & CONCEPT teams to provide an informed experience for art collectors and interior design clients.

Yose Alonso

Associate Interior Designer

Yoselin Alonso is an Interior Designer who focuses on functional design and believes in constructing exclusive spaces that evoke emotion. Incorporating the unique diversity of each client, her design details are profound, ensuring one-of-a-kind personalized spaces. A graduate of University of Florida’s College of Design, Alonso harnesses conceptual and practical skills that bring spaces to life from planning and construction through to the finest of details. Having grown up around construction and design, Alonso is eager to make her mark in the design world as a part of the METHOD & CONCEPT team.

Amy Jensen

Gallery Manager

At METHOD & CONCEPT, Amy is a champion for artists and coordinates season exhibitions and special events as well as outreach and community projects working closely with artists, collectors and community partners. Drawing from an arts education and two decades of experience working in the arts and for non-profit institutions, Amy actively advocates for arts & culture and enhanced quality of life through her work as Gallery Manager for METHOD & CONCEPT and in the local community.

Chad Jensen

Creative Director & Managing Partner

Chad Jensen is an artist, furniture maker, designer, and the Founding Director of METHOD & CONCEPT. He is a true advocate for the arts, his work and the gallery’s programming both demonstrate the symbiotic relationship between contemporary craft, fine art, and design.

In 2013, Jensen established METHOD & CONCEPT under the umbrella of Thomas Riley Companies, merging his advocacy for the arts with his innate talent for making and designing. Today, the gallery represents over 20 independent fine artists worldwide, while the design team showcases an impressive portfolio ranging from bespoke furniture pieces to legacy estates on the Gulf of Mexico and secluded private island homes.

Jensen’s professional career now spans more than 25 years in art, furniture, interiors, and architecture. He is an internationally exhibited artist and designer, participating in exhibitions from The Baker Museum-Naples to ICFF-New York and Shanghai Art Fair-China. His work has been published in Interior Design Magazine, Art Basel Guide-Miami, and Casa da Abitare-China, he was also recently named a Top 100 Business Leader by Naples Illustrated Magazine, and one of Gulfshore Life Magazine’s Men & Women of the Year for his unwavering advocacy for arts and culture.

Recognized as an active leader for Arts & Culture in Southwest Florida, Jensen is a Founding Director of the Naples Design District, where he continues to serve on the Executive Board, helping to lead the charge on public art and community initiatives. He is a Past President & Current Advisory Board Member of United Arts Collier (UAC) / Current Art Gallery Advisory Board Member - Florida Gulf Coast University / Current Advisory Board Member - Naples Illustrated Magazine / Frequent Guest Speaker & Juror - Florida Gulf Coast University / Past Advisory Board Member for Accreditation of Digital Media Design - Florida Gulf Coast University.