Brienne Derosier balances her career as CEO and her passion for design with a strong yoga practice and pursuit of personal and planetary wellness. As founder of eco-friendly fitness storage company Mache, Brienne aims to eliminate harmful chemicals from her products as well as ensure that they are manufactured and consumed in a way that is symbiotic with the planet.
Brienne earned both her undergraduate and graduate degrees in Architecture and Interior Architecture from the University of Oregon. In Portland, Oregon, she later founded 2Yoke Design, a multidisciplinary creative house specializing in Interior Wellness Design for home and workplace. After seven successful years designing in the PNW, Brienne shifted focus to found Mache. She is a proud champion for building strong local economies by employing local makers, craftspeople and small manufacturers to make earth-friendly goods.
In addition to her design career, Brienne is a certified yoga instructor and has been leading classes everywhere from nature trails out in the wild, to conference rooms during lunch breaks. Brienne feels that her strength as a leader comes from her ability to balance work with personal wellness, and is delighted at how these two practices inform and nurture each other.
Get to know our founder, Brienne, in this interview with University of Oregon!
Since graduating from the University of Oregon (UO), where has life taken you now?
Life has taken me in the direction of Wellness Design: I specialize in making products and spaces that enhance wellbeing and harmonize with the natural world. My portfolio of work includes eco- and health-conscious products, furniture and homes, yoga studios, health clinics, farm-to-table restaurants, sustainable vineyard estates, wellness-focused workplaces and co-housing communities.
I started my wellness-inspired Interior Design Studio, 2Yoke Design, in 2012 and, more recently, a wellness product startup, Mache, that provides stylish and sustainable storage and equipment for your yoga and fitness routine.
Do you have any favorite memories or funny stories from your time at the UO School of Architecture and Environment (SAE)?
Some of my fondest memories involve the spontaneous fun and creativity that would erupt among students working late in the studios of Lawrence Hall. Sleep-deprived and wielding exacto-blades, I definitely pushed myself and my course work to the limits. Luckily, I also joined up with a small crew of like-minded overachievers to share in the struggle. Graduating with honors from design school is no small feat, and it was the sense of family that I experienced, with friends and classmates, that helped to get me through two back-to-back design degrees.
I'd also have to mention my all-time favorite fast food on campus: the spicy and mouth watering menu at Alexander's Falafel cart, once located outside the UO bookstore. There are times I still lay awake at night and imagine what I would do to bite into one of those killer falafel pitas again!
What did you learn at the SAE that you are surprised at how often you use now?
The importance of prioritizing human-centered, universal, sustainable, and place-based design principles and solutions. I work with these types of enlightened design principles everyday so that I may do my part to be the change that I want to see in the world. I owe this passion for what I like to call Conscious or Wellness Design to the design educators at the UO that first planted the seed.
What’s something you wish you had been told as a current student?
First, while in design school, be uber creative and exploratory in your educational projects ~ break rules and push boundaries when it ignites your spirit to do so. Secondly, make connections with design professionals outside of academia while still in school. If possible, become a design intern as soon as you can.
Research job descriptions posted by your dream employers, and learn the tech software they require; self-educate if you do not already possess those skills. This type of professional prep is priceless in the entry-level job search, the results of which will set you apart from the competition.
Did you have a favorite study spot on campus?
I can study pretty much anywhere, but I did have a secret nap spot in the upstairs art gallery at the student union, aka EMU (pre-renovation). After working sometimes several days without proper sleep, that little power nap spot, buried in a deep window well and cloaked with heavy curtains, was the quiet and remote respite I needed for a quick reset before heading back to studio.
What is your design “secret weapon”?
Truth in materials, thanks to late Oregon architect Thom Hacker. In other words, I look to the natural world for inspiration and I let the design be infused with a palette of local, natural and luxurious materials and references. Petrochemicals and heavy metals have no place in our healthy interiors and it is my mission to change the industry by providing sustainable design alternatives.
What is the most exciting project you have been able to work on in your career?
I designed the interiors of Oregon's first Living Building Certified small business at the Cowhorn Biodynamic Tasting Room in Jacksonville, Oregon. It was the first tasting room in the world to achieve the certification, and the only small business in the world to have achieved the Materials Petal, which ensured that every single building material, down to the last screw, was vetted for sustainability.
This process provided me with an intimate knowledge of building products and materials, and the toxic chemicals and heavy metals (aka: Red List materials) that run rampant in the industry. It also showed me that, as designers with buying power, we have the ability (and responsibility) to move the needle towards sustainable material and product manufacturing by specifying green products on our projects and pushing manufacturers to provide us with more in the way of eco-friendly options.
Is there a new material or technology you are excited about?
YES! I am very excited about the introduction of mycelium into new materials such as leather, cork and plastic alternatives. Equally as interesting are product developments in algae and bio-based plastics. I am closely watching the market for sustainable material innovations, so that I may expand the Mache Design Studio palette to include the best selection of available eco-friendly ingredients for healthy furnishings and interiors.
As for technology, I am looking forward to adding AR (augmented reality) to the user experience at Mache, so that clients/customers may better visualize the intended design prior to interior build out or product production.
What is a design trend you are seeing a lot of right now?
At Mache Design Studio, we are hearing our clients ask for dedicated self-care space, such as a workout or yoga studio, a ZenDen, or a decadent Master Bath with spa-like features such as a steam shower, heated tile floors, and natural stone, wood and glass materials. People are still spending more time at home, compared to pre-pandemic times, and are looking to invest in design elements that not only feel and look good, but also align with their sustainable, healthy living values. Wellness is so hot right now (said with the fashion-forward tone of Jacobim Mugatu).
What’s up next for you?Later this month (03/23), and for the first time, I will be offering virtual wellness design services to transform interior space into a place of optimal health, wellbeing, comfort and delight by addressing the following principles of Wellness Design:
- Non-toxic Material Selection
- Eco-friendly Furniture Selection
- Conscious Color Consultation
- Healthy Lighting Consultation
My design project specialties include:
- Self-care spaces
- Yoga, fitness and meditation studios
- Healthcare centers
- Sustainable vacation rentals
- Workplace wellness
Le Fin ~ Thank you to University of Oregon.