How We Design: Simple Home Collection

16 October 2020 |

We simply love natural materials partnered with clean, modern shapes. And in this era of staying home-based for health, we realize firsthand the benefit of being surrounded by items that both boost our mood and elevate our style. So, off to work we went – Introducing our Simple Home Collection! We created this new array of products to celebrate simplicity, care, and softness in geometries; a collection of functional items to protect and bring warm cheer to your surroundings.


Designing products that define practicality and at the same time make us smile, now that’s a good gig. Take an inside peek with Damian Garduño, Submaterial designer, about the thoughts and processes behind the design development.

The Origin of Thought

In developing these products, we wanted to celebrate simplicity, care, and softness in geometries. We looked at what has been making us feel happy. We then take those cues and moments of inspiration from places which might spark any sort of thought and feeling.

Specifically, we wanted to have a product line available to those who might find our other items inaccessible but appreciate handcrafted design and quality. The shapes are referencing our current retail collection but are pared down in the same way we might pare down the complexity which our other products hold. The general idea was to scale down and chunk up the feeling of what is in our brand, while also celebrating what we are known for – cork and felt.

With regards to what type of products we wanted to develop, we were primarily thinking about the home; especially working/living from home during the pandemic. We are all looking around our houses during this newly found time and considering what could be better and how we can care for objects and surfaces within the home – this line will pair nicely with your belongings.

Capsule Coaster Set

The Design Process

Our process involves many steps, sometimes in granular detail such as splitting eighths over radius size. We had a couple iterations of the Trivets, for example – the earlier designs were of angular, sharp cornered bread board origin. The symmetrically round and organic shapes we landed on are more cohesive with the rest of the line; circles, arcs, and capsule shapes embody the sense of softness we wanted to bring into your home.

Sometimes we run into over-designing a project for sake of experimentation. From this, we are able to pare down ideas that work better with the overall concept. Ideas that we have experimented with were pulled, but can be later used in future developments. Within the design team, we have discussions to examine what is and isn’t working so that we can really execute what we are trying to relay in the final design.

Material Matters

One of the most important elements of this lineup was the material choice. Wool felt is so versatile and is 100% organic and sustainably sourced. It comes in so many colors – and choosing which of those we would use was really exciting! Our colorways were chosen to celebrate New Mexico: the neutrals that one expects to find in the desert, with the pops of color that the desert also produces. Yellow Chamisa flowers, doors and window casements painted turquoise, the deep forest green of the pines in Northern New Mexico forests.

Capsule Mat Trio

The combination of felt and cork really sets ours apart from other products in the market in that it conveys a sense of care towards sustainable practices and handmade craftsmanship. We are well versed in many materials, and plan to use others in future product releases; but felt and cork for this product line really celebrates what Submaterial was founded upon.]

In Your Home

Above all, we wanted utmost functionality without sacrificing beauty and quality. With most of us at home much more often, our surfaces are being used on overdrive. Protecting them and the objects they hold – while at the same time bringing in handsome shapes, colors, and cozy, natural materials – was a no-brainer. Atop tables, lining shelves, under plant pots on the floor, a soft landing spot for your keys, mugs, wine glasses, knick knacks and more: surface mats and coasters have endless uses.

Round Mat Trio

We also brought things into the kitchen with trivets and cookware protectors. With the approach of colder weather, stews and braises are always cooking. Trivets consist of extra thick felt for insulation, and eyelets to hang when space gets tight. Cookware protectors prevent you from knocking your pots around when reaching for the bottom-most pan; keeping your cookware looking new and beautiful, longer.

Simplicity Brings Joy

All in all, we wanted to keep things simple and fresh during unusual times. Our homes are havens for all of us, and it’s so necessary that we create comfort. The goal at Submaterial has always to give the gift of quality, warmth and joy in handmade items – and our new products help bring those attributes to your table during a time when we need it most. We hope you enjoy them as much as we do!