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.
My 1st Woodworking Projects
My parents got me a bandsaw when I was 10. Here is what I made.
My 1st Architecture School Project
The Cornell Years
My first semester architecture school project was to design a loft for a screenwriter. Here is what I designed.
My 1st Design
The Cornell Years
At the beginning of my 2nd year of architecture school I was asked to design something wearable out of just one 2x4.
The Cornell Years
As a grad student I spent a month living with homeless people in Red Hook.
Little Easy Project
I put together a team and entered the 2010 USGBC Natural Talent Design Competition. Here's what we designed.
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.
DIY Bucket Stool
The $5 bucket stool epitomizes exactly what we are trying to do at HMM. The stool is durable, simple to make and aesthetically pleasing.
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.
Jessie Uyeda Joins the Team
In 2015, my youngest sister, Jessie, joined the HMM team.
CNC Spiral Staircase
Digital Fabrication Projects
I made this spiral staircase for my loft in Boston. I used my X-Carve CNC machine by Inventables.com to cut out the initial pieces.
Modern Maker Podcast
I started a podcast with Chris from Four Eyes Furniture and Mike from Modern builds!
DIY Plywood Table
I designed this DIY plywood table so that it could be made out of a single sheet of ¾” plywood.
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.
I designed this DIY crossfit style home gym so that it can fold out of the wall.
A Functional Tattoo
I will always make stuff and I am always looking for a ruler so I decided to my arm into a ruler.
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.