By Janice Harris
Sometimes, the best ideas come to you when you’re at your wit’s end. So was the case for Joseph Haecker, who started the highly-popular Facebook LIVE-hosted Design Talk LIVE with a simple rant. Joseph, a designer who has been in the industry for over 18 years, created a movement six months ago with this call-in talk show, and there seems to be no stopping him.
At the Spring High Point Market in High Point, North Carolina, world-renowned interior designer Christopher Grubb spoke with Joseph, who just so happens to be a good friend, about his latest success with Design Talk LIVE, as well as his career as a designer and his new software for design professionals. The interview is set to drop shortly on House Tipster’s YouTube channel, but here’s a sample from the exciting and very real conversation.
Christopher Grubb (C.G.): We’re here at the Theodore Alexander showroom at High Point Market, and I have the pleasure of speaking with Joseph Haecker, a preeminent speaker on many panels here at High Point Market and at trade shows around the country.
You have one foot in the technology world and then the other in interior design. Talk to us about your career and how you got into this crazy business.
Joseph Haecker (J.H.): As a kid, I was big into doodling and playing with Legos. And so, those interests grew into an 18-year career designing light fixtures for hotels and casinos. If you throw a dart in Las Vegas, you’ll hit a hotel that I designed lighting for. All of this work was custom.
From there, I was also the head of design for Solatube, where I designed the decorative fixtures you put below the solar tubes that draw light into the room. When I got there, the idea of putting something in front of the tube was a no-no, but I proved that you could create better light in a room by adding an accent fixture that also fit the decor.
C.G.: People don’t realize the amount of detail that goes into a custom light fixture. How long do you have to design these products? Also, can you talk about the sizing and scale of the lighting you design?
J.H.: The minute I got the initial doodles, I had between six to 12 weeks to get the fixture delivered. I had to figure out the mechanical design quickly and then shoot it off to the manufacturer. I used my years of experience to get the design out as quick as I can.
[When it comes to size and scale], that’s really the fun part, because people actually stop and take photos next to giant light fixtures. If I was a mechanical designer and I designed a sprocket, no one would know about it. In a way, it was a privilege to be a part of the lighting industry.
C.G.: You created DezignWall, a social platform for the trade, and it’s definitely the future of this industry. Tell me about this program.
J.H.: Five years ago, I had an “aha moment.” I figured the future of the design world was social collaboration, and that I needed to find a way to meet the needs of design industry and design enthusiasts in a social way, which became DezignWall.
C.G.: Is it available for design enthusiasts or trade professionals?
J.H.: Right now, it’s just for the industry, but we’re going to create a new door for the consumer in the future. Since people are on some type of social platform, it’s only natural and logical to do this for design as well.
C.G.: Design Talk LIVE is something designers and design enthusiasts watch, and I heard that Facebook told you that you’re the first call-in radio show on their site. What is Design Talk LIVE and what should we know about it?
J.H.: It started because I went on as a rant, and by week 2 I had calls about sponsorship packages. Our numbers started to grow because we leveraged Facebook’s way of promoting FB LIVE feeds. When you join me on the program, Facebook automatically notifies your network, and that’s how we grow.
C.G.: Your topics are really organic. What are some of the subjects and topics you tackle? How do you come up with topics?
J.H.: By week 2, I decided that the show wasn't going to be topic based. Instead, I knew it was going to be an ongoing conversation with the design community about the design industry. I encourage listeners to get pissed, get inspired, but get talking. I believe that we’ve been calling the design industry a “design community” for the past two years, and communities talk.
C.G.: Who have you had on the show so far?
J.H.: Right away, we branched into lifestyle and got calls from PR reps for celebrities. We had the Scott Brothers on, who came on to promote their October staging event. We also had Johnny Rabb, drummer for the band, Collective Soul. We also have the supermodel Angie Everhart booked. I’m utterly shocked by the success of it.
Wow! Joseph sure does have a lot going on, and we can’t wait to see what’s next with both DezignWall and Design Talk LIVE.
We want to thank Christopher Grubb and Joseph Haecker for their insight on Joseph’s newest projects.
Check out DezignWall for yourself, and keep on the lookout for when it comes available to a consumer audience. Also, be sure to check out previous episodes of Design Talk LIVE. You’re going to laugh, cry, and leave with some great takeaways.