Craighill is a Brooklyn-based design company that was co-founded in 2015 by Hunter Craighill and Zach Fried. The forward-thinking studio, now made up of a team of skilled creators, makes interactive objects for daily enjoyment, always using genuine and lasting materials, like metal and wood.
Similar to many others, the crew behind Craighill is working hard from home, taking the necessary precautions to keep themselves and others safe. We asked Zach what it’s been like and how he’s been coping during this challenging phase of the unknown.
Have you started practicing a new daily ritual that you didn’t have time for or that you didn’t feel the need for previously?
Yes definitely. My wife and I wake up and walk our dog through the strange, desolate part of our neighborhood that we’d never been interested in previously. We live in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, and we’re near the city’s wastewater treatment facility, as well as Newtown Creek, which is one of the most polluted waterways in the country. It’s been pretty fascinating paying so much attention to these previously overlooked fixtures of our immediate landscape. Places that no one wants to go have taken on a particular new allure as we make efforts to get outside and still avoid crowds of people.
Did you start reading or watching anything recently that brings you comfort?
Yes again. I just finished Jenny Odells’ How to Do Nothing, which is a very good book for this moment. It’s largely about paying attention to what’s around us, being aware of plants, birds, and other things that are truly fascinating but that we often tune out as we are going through our busy days. There’s a real childlike pleasure in listening to birds and watching insects scoot around, which I’ve been really enjoying.
Staying home has meant more time to be in the kitchen for us. Have you been cooking? Have you discovered any nourishing recipes that are your favorite right now?
Yes again, lots of cooking. One recipe that is dangerous, but nourishing for the soul, is last year’s Instagram smash recipe, Alison Roman’s chocolate chip shortbread cookies.
“I honestly feel more connected to my family and friends right now than I maybe ever have before. I’m talking to my family on the phone every day, and having extended Facetime hangs with friends almost every day. My friend in SF has been organizing group workouts on Zoom. It’s bizarre, but there is a real sense of camaraderie emerging as we all figure out how to navigate the feelings of loneliness.”
Any playlists or artists you can share for focusing while working, unwinding in the evening, or releasing pent up energy any time of day?
Our favorite focusing album is Brian Eno’s “Ambient Part 1: Music for Airports.” It’s extremely soothing and meditative, can’t recommend highly enough.
It can be hard to get exercise when we’re inside most of the day. Have you found fun ways to get physical activity in?
For sure, I just ordered a jump rope, which is a favorite activity. I’ve also been going on evening runs near the water to marvel at the majesty of the big city.
Have you begun any unexpected projects?
Yes indeed, we’re working on a couple of collaborative projects with brands and stores that are very exciting. As soon as the indoor life began, we started receiving messages from folks who were interested in exploring ideas together. Keeping the wheels turning during this time has been really rewarding; anything to nurture a sense of possibility is something we’re very keen on.
If you’re currently working from home, what helps you balance home life from work life? Do you have any boundaries between the two that keep you productive?
The boundary has definitely collapsed in an interesting way. It’s largely defined by time now. We try to work 10 - 6, and then spend the evening reading, cooking, and watching Tiger King just like everyone else...
How have you been staying connected to family, friends, and the outside world?
I honestly feel more connected to my family and friends right now than I maybe ever have before. I’m talking to my family on the phone every day, and having extended Facetime hangs with friends almost every day. My friend in SF has been organizing group workouts on Zoom. It’s bizarre, but there is a real sense of camaraderie emerging as we all figure out how to navigate the feelings of loneliness.
Any tips for boosting our immune systems and staying healthy?
Getting outside and moving around as much as possible is the main one. It helps psychologically. I always get sick when I’m stressed out, so figuring out how to de-stress is paramount.
Do you have any general/overall advice for remaining calm during this period? What has felt restorative for you?
I’m largely thinking about everything one day at a time. I try to make a list of what I’m hoping to accomplish, get as much done as possible, and be kind to myself if I don’t finish everything. I’m also trying to think as generously and empathically about all other people as I possibly can. The whole of humanity is pretty scared right now, and we need each other more than ever to prosper. Thinking about our collective interconnectedness, and trying to empathize with people I might disagree with, has been very helpful in navigating this moment.
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Images by Craighill
Interview by Ivy Schneider