Behind the Design: Meet Tim Stoepker

Find out more about the designer and the inspiration behind our newest wood seating collection.

By GR Chair

Collection of Brooke chairs.

Meet the designer behind the Brooke Collection, Tim Stoepker. The Brooke Collection symbolizes our desire to work with local designers to bring unique, well-designed products to market.

From Turnstone and Haworth to Herman Miller and Bissell, Tim Stoepker, an accomplished industrial designer from West Michigan, drew inspiration from the casual vibe of summertime on the lakeshore.

Tim describes Brooke as "fresh" and "purposeful," and we couldn't agree more! Find out more about the designer and the inspiration behind our newest wood collection below.

Industrial designer Tim Stopeker.

AR:Brooke, an all wood seating collection, is quite different than the products you've designed before. Was your approach any different to designing this collection?

TS: When I initially looked through the design brief, it was open to personal interpretation. With many of my past projects I have been tasked to keep the product "on brand" with the client, but with Brooke Chair I was allowed some personal design exploration and to be closer to my own "brand." My approach was much different when I started considering design directions for this chair line.

AR: From large communal tables, to case goods, to beautiful kayaks, it seems like you enjoy working with wood materials. Is that fair and what do you like about working with that material?

TS: That is correct. There is so much potential with wood. Between desired performance to aesthetics, there is a specific species of wood that will fit the need. Wood is a material that I have the strongest understanding of, but the more I learn the more I realize I do not know. I did not know it at the time, but all the time I spent in my grandpa’s wood shop growing up is probably one of the leading reasons of why I got into design.

AR: I read that Brooke was inspired by the Adirondack chair. Can you expand a little more about how you came up the Brooke design?

TS: One of the first things that I did when I started the project was consider the environments that the chair line would potentially be put into. The spaces that I found seemed to have a low formality and casual feel. I started by thinking about what objects in my life communicate that same feeling. The first thing that jumped to my mind was time at the cottage on the lake and the Adirondack chairs overlooking the lake. So, I loosely took some visual cues of the wood slats and soft curves of an Adirondack chair, in hopes that the Brooke Chair will bring to mind some of those memories for other people as well and make people kick back the same way they do at the lake and enjoy some good casual conversations.

Aerial view of black wood Brooke Chair.
Pair of black Brooke Bar Stools.

AR: There's a simplicity to this collection that allows anyone to use this collection in a myriad of spaces without getting stale or looking the same. Do you agree and was that the original intent for this collection?

TS: I would agree with those comments. I always try to take out as many details as possible to give a strong visual priority to the details that are left. If you confuse, you lose. My hope was to create a chair that has less to dislike. It’s fun to look back at all the different conceptual iterations that I went through to get to where we are today.

AR: Why did you like working with Grand Rapids Chair?

TS: I do enjoy working with GR Chair. They have given me a nice balance of creative freedom and structure to (hopefully) create a successful chair for the desired market. They have provided feedback when needed and desired resources to get the project done.

AR: If you were to describe Brooke in three words, what would they be?

These are the top words that jumped out at me: familiar, purposeful, fresh.

Pair of yellow upholstered Brooke Stools.