There is a roughly 50-50 chance of meeting up with Garth Roberts in Milan. Like so many product designers nowadays Roberts darts from client meeting to seminar to fellowship with seeming disregard for international borders. Yet Roberts’s peripatetic leanings run deeper than protocol. Currently he divides his time primarily between Berlin and Milan, and these homes mark the latest destinations in a career journey that spans continents.
It began in Toronto, where the Canadian-born Roberts first went to work for Jonathan Crinion, the designer intimately linked to Knoll. By 2000 Roberts was in New York, shouldering industrial-design tasks for a local architecture studio for the next three years. The work may have been gratifying, but certainly not profile-raising. Crinion suggested to Roberts that he attempt designing contemporary furniture. He made trips to Milan to circulate his portfolio, and there he met Jeffrey Bernett, an exemplar of the field who also offered him a job back in New York.