Product design in is Aaron Lown's DNA. The grandson and son of a well known shoe company owner, he grew up around shoe prototypes and leather swatches. He always loved working with his hands and was encouraged by his mother, a modern dancer, who said "don't buy it if you can make it."
Aaron attended Parsons School of Design where he studied industrial design. During his sophomore year, Villeroy & Boch sponsored a competition for Parsons' students to design a tea set; the winners would spend the summer in Germany producing limited editions in the company's factory. Aaron's set won, and that summer was an influential one for him. "I realized then that I wanted to be involved in industrial mass production."
Aaron went on to graduate studies at the prestigious Cranbrook School of the Arts, where he began designing furniture, but from a materials-exploration standpoint. His first piece was a stool made from fiberglass, leather, and cast aluminum. Back in New York after graduating, Aaron set up a workshop/studio in TriBeCa loft. Previous internships he had at the global design company IDEO and NY's Museum of Modern Art turned out to be significant after a MoMA curator named Paola Antonelli featured Aaron's Hi-Ho Stool, made of fiberglass, metal, and aluminum in her exhibit for her show titled "Mutant Materials In Contemporary Design." Aaron was all of 25-years-old.
Soon after, he was hired to start the materials library at the Material ConneXion, as well as designing and building Bergdorf Goodman window displays and teaching at Parsons. After a stint in Japan for Parsons he returned to NYC and began doing work for Calvin Klein designing women's shoes. Calvin Klein led to Kate Spade, and shoes led to handbags. In 2003, Aaron and his grad school classmate, John Swartz, launched BUILT, and by 2004 they had sold one million totes.
In 2014, Aaron set up a creative studio in Newburgh, New York called Industrial Craft, where he is currently working on a myriad of designs, both self-initiated and client based. Aaron has also used his talents to found VUFF, whose mission is to broaden the modern bond of respect and affection between canines and humans through design. His brand innovates unexpected new dog essentials that combine beauty, comfort, and performance so that stylish people and universal dogs can live better lives together.
We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Aaron Lown on July 17, 2019. We will forever be grateful for his contributions to the New York State maker movement over the years.