Summer Meza Shares Her Practical yet Quirky Design Inspiration for MODERNHAUS furniture
Written By: Jacqueline Bryant MODERNHAUS furniture
Photographed By: Nick Isabella
The Expert: Summer Meza
Credentials: Owner of MODERNHAUS
MODERNHAUS is a creative design firm based in San Diego with third-generation Californian Summer Meza at the helm. It engages in all forms of visual expression interiors, home goods, furniture and personal items that are geared toward clients with an appreciation for modern aesthetics. Specifically, the firm draws inspiration from American sculptor Alexander Calder and his work with paintings, weavings, hammocks, furniture, sculpture, mobiles, jewelry, toys, and other mediums, as well as from other artists and creatives.
MODERNHAUS developed out of Summer’s unrelenting love for design, which she tried to ignore by initially switching her major from Art History and Design to Comparative Literature. She caught the design bug, though, and couldn’t get it out of her mind. Eventually, she embraced the flood of ideas coming to mind and started down the path that led her to MODERNHAUS. Summer’s aesthetic is inspired by her family’s deep Californian roots and draws from a breezy and casual vibe that can only be found on the California coast.
While initially starting out as a strictly Mid Century modern furniture design and shop, she realized there wasn’t much room for personal design and creativity in such a tightly defined rubric. She then took a year off to focus on her own designs, and has integrated both personal and defined modern aesthetics into her business. This remains an engaging, if sometimes chaotic, work in progress, but through this she was able to branch out into non-furniture items, all of which are designed by Summer. Beyond simply designing, she even paints leather, and dyes fabric to bring her own ideas to life.
Her designs and products are geared toward people who want practical goods, thus usually incorporate natural materials like leather, wood, silk, and cotton. Summer’s love of abstraction and modern art adds an edge that wouldn’t normally be found when producing pieces with mostly natural materials. This allows MODERNHAUS’ work to be transformed from rustic to stylish and cosmopolitan while still maintaining functionality and a down-to-earth core. It’s very important to Summer that the pieces MODERNHAUS produces feel permanent and substantial. In general, MODERNHAUS’ customers are looking for an alternative to mass-market looks and experiences. They want what Summer calls “the real thing, ” and not something that is mass-marketed and and peddled out as handmade by big retailers.
Summer’s favorite MODERNHAUS item is her Memory of a Circle chair. She views it as a dream perfectly come to life. The design was inspired by old Mid Century pieces she had had around for decades, and updated to include more ergonomic framing, leather seats, various colors, and recently, a rocking component. Additionally, she recently launched her “Art + Science” line.
“The alternate name for [this] line should be “Weird as I Wanna Be, ” Summer says. “I did exactly what I wanted artistically, without worrying about the market response. The handpainted New Wave clutch with giant geo wood block zipper pull is my favorite piece in that collection.”
In that vein, MODERNHAUS is constantly evolving. Summer notes that it’s never stagnant and that they’re not afraid to try new things. She knows that while it would be easier to produce one single item, a signature of sorts, if you will, that by doing that she would miss out on the new techniques and interesting products that experimentation gives birth to.
Follow @MODERNHAUS to see what Summer is working on, including, of course, the Memory of a Circle chair in “luxury rocking mode.”
What’s In A Name? MODERNHAUS draws inspiration from American sculptor Alexander Calder and his work with paintings, weavings, hammocks, furniture, sculpture, mobiles, jewelry, toys, and other mediums, as well as from other artists and creatives.
Destiny for Design: Summer initially went to school to study Art History, then switched her area of focus to Comparative Literature. However, design ultimately captured her attention, thus leading her to MODERNHAUS.
Native Knowledge: Summer’s favorite MODERNHAUS item is her Memory of a Circle chair.
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Jackie is the Lifestyle Editor for JustLuxe.com. Her freelance work has appeared at Afar.com, Harper's Bazaar, The Infatuation, and Locale Magazine. Her favorite vices include peaty alcohol, rich textiles, far-flung hotels, and all food from any part of the world that can be found in a dumpling-like format. She can usually be found hanging out in her current homes of San Diego and Baja California, visiting family in Barcelona, or in her hometown of New York. You can view some of her work here: jackiebryantwriting.com