Fourteen years ago, Tina Frey, founder and creative director of TF Design, changed course from a successful career in finance to follow her heart in art and design. “I had to forget about all the practical self-limiting beliefs and fears around security,” says the Hong Kong–born designer who grew up in Alberta, Canada. She launched her company with a series of hand-sculpted clay and resin bowls. “I was passionate about what I was doing, but it can be hard at times, since you are working very hard. It really required some perseverance. But I am glad I followed my dreams, stuck with it, and made it happen.”
Now dividing her time between San Francisco and Montecito (she opened her flagship store there last year), Frey fills us in on her ideal road trip and her latest collection of mushroom-shaped table lamps and moss-hued stools.
What do you love most about the materials you use, including resin?
I have always loved resin, since it is very versatile and can take on many qualities. It can look like colorful sea glass or it can look like fine porcelain, stone or marble. The material looks delicate, but the applications are endless.
Tell us about your latest collection.
I am so happy about the new Mushroom Lamp that just launched. We have one in our house, and I absolutely love the overall shape and color. There is a certain chubby cuteness and comfort to the large proportions and the light it emits.
I would love to collaborate with Axel Vervoordt, since I love how he mixes wabi-sabi objects with minimalist interior spaces. He does imperfection perfectly.
What’s up next?
We have a new collection of very large vases coming. I noticed that I needed a big vessel for holding large flowering spring branches, so I created the vases for this very purpose. I love how necessity drives the designs that come out of the process.