Up until this point in the class, all of our guest speakers have utilized Kickstarter: whether it was to garner a community through the launch of a new company (Yield, Misen, Gramovox), test new products and iterations with an existing and expanding Kickstarter following (Studio Neat, Super Mechanical,Max Temkin), expanding an audience on an existing product (CW&T, Crucial Detail, Tash Wong), working for Kickstarter (Stephanie Pereira) or one of the founders (Charles Adler) -Kickstarter was at the center of the discussion.
And then we heard from Bradley Price of Autodromo. Bradley has never used Kickstarter and from the sound of it, won’t ever.
It was an invigorating conversation that reminded us all you can be successful, independent professional designer without using a crowdfunding platform. His trajectory wasn’t novel –industrial design degree, worked for a corporate firm for ten years, the last two of those years in which he moonlit for his personal project, –but nonetheless it was good to hear an alternative perspective to the basis of our class. The traditional path is still viable and valuable and Bradley Price is living proof.
One thing was very apparent in the way Bradley runs and plans to run Autodromo. He values his autonomy. Rather than heed to the demands of a corporate client or the thousand or however many backers from Kickstarter, Bradley is in complete control of his designs and operations. He encouraged us to recognize the inherent skill sets we bring with our formal design training and bring in consultants to supplement our brands for those the skills we don’t have.
The way Bradley Price operates Autodromo can be described by the Single Ladies dance made ridiculously famous by Queen B. Unlikely pairing, perhaps. Of course there are a few differences, but their similarities are greater than you may think. Besides Bradley’s resolve to remain independent and the obvious connection to the message of independence in Single Ladies, the designs of Autodromo products and the choreography of the Single Ladies music video both heavily draw inspiration from the 1950s-1980s –Bradley through vintage car design (Stradale 1950s early 1960s, Veloche 1960s, Prototipo 1970s, Group B 1980s) and Beyonce through Bob Fosse’s choreography of “Mexican Breakfast” (1969) and high-cut leotards from All That Jazz (1979) and A Chorus Line (broadway 1975, movie 1985).
Additionally, Bradley stressed the emotional connection he hopes to foster between an Autodromo watch and it’s owner, a relationship that becomes unique between the two. Similarly, part of the popularity of Single Ladies is the emotional connection you can’t help but feel a little empowered when it hits the air waves. And while the song itself is super catchy, when you hear it, you immediately picture the dance. That emotion is tied to the visual representation much like the visual watches are emotional cues to its owners.
Probably the most discernible similarity is in the craft. Watches by nature are mechanical and Bradley is meticulous in it’s design. For any one that has tried or even witnessed someone imitate the Single Ladies dance, knows that it is a very exacting routine. Both watch and dance achieve such a high level of refinement because of the acuity of many pieces and movements that make it a spectacular whole.