American designer Debra Folz was born in 1979 in Huntington, New York. She studied interior design at The New England School of Art & Design at Suffolk University in Boston, graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in 2005. She went on to study furniture design at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in Providence, earning her Master’s degree in 2010. In 2009, while still a student, Folz interned for artist-designer Tanya Aguiñiga in Los Angeles. She established her own studio, Debra Folz Design, in 2010 in Boston; Folz relocated the studio to Providence in 2016.
Folz’s work spans furniture and home accessory objects for exhibition and production. Her work is driven by material exploration, conceptual curiosity, and the desire to translate traditional craft and manufacturing methods into contemporary visual languages and forms. According to Folz, “My work calls upon modern geometry, color, and innovative functions, while lending a consistent focus to the incorporation of textile languages and references within furniture forms.” All Debra Folz designs are produced in the United States.
Notable projects to date include Gem (2016), a collection of metal and glass tables inspired by the reflections of light and transparencies found in gemstones; and Drape (also 2016), a series of tables hand-formed in steel that mimics the gentle fall of fabric. Folz has also designed projects in cooperation with respected global brands. Highlights include a 2013 holiday collaboration with Helmut Lang and Grey Area, for which she designed a custom Whole Story Album—a photo album that stands perched on a single corner, seemingly defying gravity—as well as a 2014 project with Tommy Hilfiger, for which she created a custom, denim Case storage unit.
Folz has earned multiple honors, including, as of this writing, New England Home Magazine’s “5 under 40” award for the category of home furnishings (2011); Award for Teaching Excellence from Suffolk University (2012); title of Massachusetts representative for the Woman to Watch biennial exhibition at the National Museum for Women in the Arts (Washington, D.C., 2013); and a Top Pick title from the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) at the Architectural Digest Home Show (New York, 2015).
Alongside her studio practice, Folz works as an adjunct professor at both Suffolk University and RISD, teaching furniture design to undergraduate and graduate students.