DBA Design's Green Tips

Founder Leon Ransmeier Shares His Top Eco Picks

Leon Ransmeier founded DBA (Doing Business As) Designs in 2008, joining forces with his design school classmate Erik Wysocan and business partner Patrick Sartission. It was a decision made “for the simple reason that we couldn’t find everyday objects that are both well designed and ecologically produced,” he says. The company’s initial products, the 98 Pen (the world’s first biodegradable ballpoint) and Endless Notebook (which combines several pieces together to create a volume of theoretically unlimited length) have only just launched, but the beautiful simplicity of upcoming items, including a dish rack and portable heater, has already caught the attention of publications such as Wallpaper* and Vogue Hommes Japan. We caught up with Ransmeier ahead of DBA’s online auction today to ask him for his top ecological recommendations.

For the home:

Yesterday, I discovered a company named Wasara—they are situated right next to our products in the 2010 Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial [in New York]. They produce a minimal, sculptural series of compostable tableware that is really seductive. It looks like porcelain.

For the body:

Dr Bronner's soap is an old favorite—I think it’s the only product I can safely say that I have been using my entire life and will continue to buy.

For the wardrobe:

I appreciate Christopher Raeburn for reusing military surplus material, and John Patrick Organic for taking ecology seriously when few others in the New York fashion world seem to be.

For the stomach:

There’s a really amazing restaurant here in New York called Blue Hill. They have a sister restaurant upstate [in Tarrytown, NY], and most of the food that’s served is actually grown and raised on their farm [in Great Barrinton, MA]. It’s a beautiful place.

For living:

There are a lot of people doing interesting things with sustainable architecture these days. But I think the budgets that Norman Foster is able to work with allow him to push the envelope technologically in ways that others aren’t able to. The other person who I think is interesting and quite a different breed of architect is Sami Rintala. He has a very diverse portfolio but he does a lot of local material-sourcing and building. He uses narrative and conceptuality in a really straightforward way, working with the formal language of Scandinavian modernism, but in a rustic, robust way. The contrast is beautiful—it’s so rigorous.


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