Ben Uyeda stepped away from the award-winning architecture firm he co-founded, as well as an Ivy League teaching position, to develop media companies that deliver affordable designs to the masses. In the last four years, Ben’s design ideas have reached more than 50 million people and the free designs he gives away are being built on six different continents. Despite the populist and affordable nature of his work, Ben’s designs have been featured in an exhibition and workshop at the Vitra Furniture Museum in Germany.
My Life as a Series of Projects
As an alternative to a bio, I thought I would share some of my favorite projects.
Making Architecture Free
I love architecture but as a profession with a service business model, it tends to cater to wealthy clients. I started FreeGreen because I wanted to provide affordable energy efficient designs.
I visited my brother's ranch in Argentina with my friend and architect, Shawn Brown. We built this bamboo pavilion in just 5 days and it came out really cool! We drilled holes in the bamboo poles and ran pieces of rebar through them to give the tunnel its shape.
DIY Bottle Planter
For HMM's first project I wanted to create something that was unique, affordable and versatile. After FreeGreen got acquired i wanted to take on projects that were even more accessible and affordable. These bottle projects where my first attempts.
LEGO x Concrete
Using classic LEGO bricks to make a mold I was skeptical about how well this idea would work, but everything went smoothly and LEGO formed concrete is my new obsession.
DIY Zip Stitch Chair
Chairs are generally more difficult to make than benches or stools, but here's one that can be made by stitching (or what we're calling 'stitching') plywood pieces with zip ties.
In this TEDx talk about design and architecture, I explain why I left my successful architecture firm to give away my design ideas for affordable modern furniture for free on the internet.
Secret Garden Writing Desk
I have been thinking a lot about how a space can foster productivity and creativity. This desk was a wardrobe that I transformed into a writing haven.
Trickle Up Design
My TEDx talk outlined how my experiences shaped my motivations to share ideas but a few years later I wanted to try and formulate a broader concept that would encapsulate my approach to progressive design.