Cody Hudson for Unison

In Chicago when you mention the name Cody Hudson your eyes light up because you love what he does – which is a lot: art, graphics, street art, fashion, restaurants. Wait, restaurants? Yes. And although Cody is a artist, design extraordinaire and serial entrepreneur, he certainly is a truly humble, down to earth, soft spoken man. Our first collaboration was really as the provider of chambray linens at Longman&Eagle inn where as they put it so perfectly, “aesthetics, comfort and function are manifest throughout”. We also had the pleasure of shooting our fall 2010 collection at the inn and splurging on memorable lunches at L&E. During one conversation with him he passed along a small book of postcards (which we coveted) and started to dream of how we might collaborate. The result was the perfect mix of lighthearted illustration and modern simplicity: the Anchors bedding collection for babies, kids and adults too. Read on for more story behind Anchors and a bit of Cody-ology.

You’ve worked with Burton on designing apparel and boards (correct?), but never home design. What was this experience like for you?

I’ve worked with a lot of clothing companies on patterns in the past (Burton Snowboards, Nike, Stussy, Sixpack France, etc), but I would design the patterns to be printed on the jackets not the actual jacket themselves. Housewares is always something I’ve been interested in as I’m a general fan of design so I thought it would be an interesting thing to try. Also I have a 2.5 year old daughter at home so the idea of working on something specific for kids is a fun project for me at this stage in my life.

Initially, Anchors were in a book of postcards you put out. How did that idea originally come about and what was the inspiration?

It was from a page of random doodles, I started to like how they looked so I thought I’d keep drawings pages of them and see how they all looked together. It then ended up in a book of postcards published by Concrete Hermit in the UK and also I did a t shirt design with a large anchor on it for my friends brand Quiet Life. It kind of went from there and turned into this collaboration with Unison.

Can you talk a little bit about your overall creative process? Do things happen fast and furiously, or are you more methodical?

It really depends on the project, stuff like this that is more sketch based usually happens late at night in my sketchbook. These started as just fun quick doodles so it was never meant to really become anything but a fun idea.

Would you say there is any “signature” of your work? An aesthetic that surfaces time and time again, or a theme or underlying meaning?

My work tends to be more hand done and shape based at times, a little rougher as well and not always so polished. Also I tend to work in more simplified color palettes so you could call some of that out as my signature styles.

What draws you to the seafaring theme? Do you see anchors as a new trend (like birds and owls)?

When I originally drew these anchors it was probably 4 years ago, but you are definitely seeing lots of nautical inspired stuff out there in the design world so now was probably a good time to release the bedding.

Unison first aimed to have this bedding be for kids and baby but decided to take it into the adult market, too. Did you aim for it to have an ageless feel.

In my head it’s still mainly for kids but I think there is some playful crossover that happens and adults can use it as well.

Being in the restaurant/hospitality biz and design/art biz, how do you see these two worlds confluence? Any unifying ties?

Since I work with a group of people on my restaurant projects my part of that collaboration is still focusing on aesthetics and design. So at the end of the day I am still working with design, it’s just the look and feel of a restaurant and all the materials around it (menus, logo, etc) instead of an album cover or t shirt design.

You have the Anchor Bedding at the Inn at Longman & Eagle. Anything else to add about the guestroom design/décor and how this bedding fits into it.

The Anchors bedding is not actually in the rooms currently although that would be fun to try it out up there. We do use Unison products for all the beds though and it is that initial meeting that put us in touch and kept us in contact and made this collaboration possible. We also strive to use local products in the rooms when possible as well as working with local artists for most of the artwork in all of the rooms at the inn.

Now that you’ve delved into home design, anything next in that arena for you?

I’m open. More housewares would be fun. I’d love to design a collection of dishes or glassware. A collection of pottery designs would be a really interesting project. Every designer dreams of putting some artwork on the side of an airplane. So who knows?