Monday, November 30, 2020

Could JASON WILBUR be the Banksy of industrial design?

JASON WILBUR means business. He has challenged the design norms in every industry he has touched and won countless awards, fans and critics alike for the unconventional and magical approach to bringing a new design to life. From futuristic cars to musical instruments, mechanical art and emotional timepieces, JASON WILBUR has reimagined it all while breaking all the rules. 

JASON WILBUR’s career is as multifaceted as his bold design and he is creating a whole new world, all his own. He makes art through engineering and poetry through design.  

JASON WILBUR questions everything around him, leaving us with physical gems in the form of mechanical art that elevates our understanding of what is possible for the future while questioning the past. 

Top watch industry veteran Theodore Diehl Horologist at Richard Mille said: "Jason is one of the most amazing original thinkers within the world of design." His skill transcends the drawing board. He is known to engineer almost everything himself and forge his ideas in the most futuristic and inventive ways, implementing computer-aided design and tomorrow's manufacturing and engineering techniques. 

"The first time I met Jason and viewed his designs I was amazed. In my 25 years in this industry, he is the BEST I have seen" confirms Michael Pucci, Watch & Jewelry Industry guru. 

From a design perspective, JASON WILBUR’s style knows no boundaries, in one instant it is heavy and mechanical and in another, it is beautifully organic; It all depends on the subject. JASON WILBUR’s ideology is rooted in pushing limits and breaking new ground. 

When asked about his approach, JASON WILBUR tells us that “Design is about risk-taking and exploring new ideas no matter how uncomfortable it may be. If I find myself in unfamiliar territory, I know I am headed in the right direction.” 

Immerse yourself in the parallel world of WILBUR as you will not be disappointed. 

The WILBUR Launch Edition Timepiece 

10 years after the revolutionary DEVON Tread 1 nominated at the prestigious Grand Prix de Horlogerie of Geneva, JASON WILBUR is back with a new timepiece. Designing once again timepieces that are challenging the watch industry. Wilbur watches are for the self-made man who is bigger than life and for those who are individual thinkers, rule breakers, innovators and pioneers. 

"The emotional value he injects into his products is epic. Jason is revolutionary" says fellow artist and designer Matthew Tremblay. Without a doubt, JASON WILBUR will be recognized as one of the most influential industrial designers of our time. 

Interview with JASON WILBUR  

AIM: Just when you think there seems to be nothing new under the sun when it comes to watches, your designs appear to take not only functionality, but your designs appear to be the most unique concepts in the world. Where does your inspiration come from? 

JW: My inspiration comes from everything around me. I really am obsessed with machines; cars, rockets, motorcycles…The idea that machines are almost living things that are created by humans has always amazed me. So I like to say that I am inspired by “dreams of machines”. Designing future cars and vehicles for 10 years really put my mind in a place where I am now almost automatically programmed to think about “what’s next” and to create machines with soul. 

AIM: Why watches? You obviously have had a lot of success designing innovative and futuristic fuel-cell cars and you even designed an oceanic research drone. How and why did designing watches intrigue you? 

JW: Watches really started to excite me once they became “useless”. What I mean by that is watches, for the most part and until most recently, were tools to tell time. The number one job they had was to tell time and do it well. Now your phone tells better time than most watches. So now, watches have the opportunity to become sculpture, to become an art statement that you can wear daily and it shows those around you your personality, your dreams, and your way of thinking. They can become a living thing. Now that telling time (for a watch) is secondary, it’s really about making a wearable machine that is truly art and makes a unique statement. For many years, designing watches was my escape from the more serious world of car design and product design. It really allowed me to explore my more poetic side of design and it allowed me to take the biggest risks. 

AIM: What makes your watches different from what's out there? What sets your designs from all others? 

JW: The watch industry in general has become antiquated and frankly boring . They produce pretty much the same thing over and over. It’s a cult of de ja vu. I am not a member of the “traditional industry”, so that means I can make whatever I want to. The same rules do not apply to me. My watches are fun and some would say crazy, but the level of quality and craftmanship is deadly serious. So my watches are different because they are more like mechanical art than a watch. They are extremely detailed and like a diorama of the world I’d like to live in. My watches are different because they are more about art than telling time. I really like to create complex architectural forms and floating elements to give depth in the watch and draw the viewer in for a more potent experience. 

AIM: What kind of formal training have you had? Did it help or were you always naturally gifted in design and engineering? 

JW: I went to college twice. I dropped out twice as well before finally getting my degree in transportation design / industrial design from Art Center College of Design in California. Art and design were always in my blood, but formal training helps to elevate your level of how to execute your ideas, and that was essential for me. I heavily lean on my formal training and experience to execute at the level I do. 

AIM: Tell us about your upbringing. Did you grow up in a family of engineers and designers? Was there any sort of influence growing up? 

JW: My mother is a musician and songwriter, my father was in finance. Both extremely talented and different thinkers. They taught me to question everything and to explore the world around me. They always supported my artistic endeavors. I leaned to play guitar at 4 years old and was always making music and art, which my parents nurtured. My surroundings growing up were my main influence and music played a massive part in terms of creative theory and exploration.  

JW: I grew up in New York, which is super rich in style and culture. Being emersed in this from a young age had a huge impact on my creative spirit. I also spent a lot of time in the woods of Vermont when I was young. The contrast between Vermont and NY is huge. It keeps one thinking in expansive ways and makes for unique perspectives. 

AIM: Were you always building and designing things since your childhood? What kind of projects did you have growing up and did those early visions influence your current work? 

JW: I designed and made everything from guitars to sculpture and furniture. I would build tree forts and always customizing everything from my bicycle to the living room wall with crayons. I was also always drawing and painting since I was a little kid. I also loved taking things apart. I loved taking apart an old tape recorder or an old lawnmower. The mechanisms amazed me. Of course, my parents weren’t too stoked when I took all their shit apart and couldn’t put it back together. That raw engineering of functional things always inspired me and still does to this day. Exploration and creation was my way of learning and through that I developed skills to be confident in creating new things that only I could imagine. 

AIM: You aren't new to watch designs. One of your first ever designs is the award winning DEVON Tread 1 watch. If anyone is able to get their hands this original model, it surprisingly retains its original value and its functionality. How do you engineer your watches to last so long? Do you predict that these designs will last a lifetime or even beyond multiple generations?  

JW: I couldn’t do what I do without a talented team of engineers behind me. For the more complex
projects, I really get help with the nitty-gritty details of engineering when it comes down to the end-product. I’m too ADD to focus on extreme details, so the team helps to refine everything and make it function to the level I expect and demand. I expect all of my creations to be executed to the highest level of quality and I plan for them to last for years and years but you never really know until its done. That the fun part of making new things…the risk IS the reward. The most important thing when breaking rules is to execute flawlessly. The haters will always try to find flaws in those who try to do things differently.  

AIM: Do you ever take custom orders? For instance, someone is into steampunk or owns a red Ferrari and wants a watch that resembles what they drive or to compliment their attire, can you design a watch that represents someone's personal tastes and interests?  

JW: My watches are my own expression, so I don’t entertain custom orders anymore. Art is not a service. When it becomes a service it loses potency, honestly and value. I would however collaborate with other people that I share creative values with and that could lead to unique pieces. I do 1-off unique pieces now as well as ultra-limited pieces when I get crazy ideas and those usually grab the attention of an individual who is looking for a piece no one else has.  

AIM: You also play guitar, so your talent obviously has no bounds. Would you ever consider designing a guitar for a musician?  

JW: Yes! I have a great image of a guitar I designed. 

AIM: So, your wife is also a well respected and established designer in the auto industry. Does she ever help you with your design concepts?  

JW: Without my wife Michelle I would be a straight mess. We talk about design and creative ideas all day together. Most importantly, she gives me strength and confidence to take risks and supports my crazy endeavors unconditionally. Like the saying goes, behind every great success is a woman. 

AIM: What other projects are you currently working on or would like to venture getting into? 

JW: I have some limited-edition mechanical art skateboards that I will be releasing shortly and there are always watches and time-sculpture long term projects in the works. 

And, I will always be involved with cars in some way or another. 

AIM: What can we look forward to from Jason Wilbur designs in the near future? 

JW: I’m really focused on pushing the limits with my watches and mechanical art in the near future. There are a million ideas stacked in my head and I just can’t get them out fast enough. Look forward to some more rule breaking from me.   

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