Creative Profiles | Sam Ushiro

Welcome to Soma's Creative Profile Series, where we profile several creatives and ask what hydrates their creativity and craft.

First up is Sam Ushiro, product designer and photo stylist based out of Brooklyn, NY.

Tell us about your craft. What sparked your interest in baking?

Sweets and desserts have always held a special place in my heart (and my diet), and I never seem too full to finish off the last slice of cake or eat a bowl of ice cream after dinner. My mom has a cookie business in Michigan, and I grew up watching her bake constantly, so baking is pretty much in my genes. I never had an interest in it until college though, when I started watching more cooking shows and seeing people construct extravagant desserts out of just a few ingredients. The first dessert I ever baked was a chocolate caramel donut, which explains my HUGE love of donuts, and about a couple hundred donuts later and a whole lot of frosting, here I am!

Can you elaborate on the items that fuel your art? How is each item instrumental to your creativity and craft?

Without a proper mixer, bowls, whisks, spatulas...none of the desserts that I make would ever turn out quite right. Baking is such a science, that with one misstep, the whole recipe could be ruined. When I first started baking, I didn’t have an electric mixer, and I can’t even explain the relief it’s been now that I have one! There are so many things that I just wouldn’t be able to make without it, which is what makes it so instrumental to my craft. 

Looking at your Instagram feed, we can tell that you have an eye for bright colors and fun concepts! Can you break down your creative process?

I keep a collection of really fun props, which is where I usually start off in thinking about what I want to photograph for the day. I treat my Instagram gallery like a little curated space with all of my work, so I then choose a color palette that suits that space best. I think about what would make me excited if I were seeing my photos as an outsider, and I try to bring that excitement into whatever I post. Usually a lot of balloons and confetti are involved...and donuts of course!

What inspires you? Are there any places, designers, writers, websites, etc that you immediately go to when you’re stuck in a creative rut?

I love to walk around party stores or look at the murals in Brooklyn. I find a lot of inspiration in the really strange things you can discover in a party store, and I thrive off of the challenge of taking a silly party supply and trying to style it in a way where it takes on a completely different life. I also am a huge film lover, and draw a lot of my inspiration from Surrealist filmmakers such as David Lynch and Michel Gondry. There are so many bizarre things that exist in Surrealist film that can inspire a lot of really fun ideas or at least get your mind moving in a creative direction. 

How does utilizing a product like Soma in your daily life hydrate your creativity?

In recipes that call for water, a Soma filter really makes a difference in the overall taste of what I’m baking. I also drink a lot of tea throughout the day, and filtered water speeds up the steeping time, allowing me to stay hydrated while also saving me time. Plus, I love having cold, crisp water ready at any moment to add to whatever I’m making!

Introducing The Soma Pitcher

Today, we're proud to announce our newest product: The Soma Pitcher.

Since we first launched the Soma Carafe, one of the most common requests we get is for a larger water filter. While the Carafe's 6-cup (48 oz.) design is perfect for small homes and personal use, larger households (and the extra thirsty) craved something that could hold more. At 67% larger with a 10-cup (80 oz.) capacity, we think this is the perfect answer.

We believe the Soma Pitcher is a natural evolution of the Soma product family. With a precise pour, beautiful white oak wood handle and a larger capacity, it delivers on both form and function. We sourced the highest quality materials we could to create a product without compromise.

Sustainably Sourced White Oak Wood Handle

It was really important to Soma's industrial designers, Joe Tan and Markus Diebel, to use natural materials in our products. This is why we chose glass for our Carafe, and now, a beautiful white oak wood.

Along the way, we learned that sustainably sourcing wood is no small feat. The Soma team spent over a year researching and vetting both wood species and vendors. Ultimately, we selected a white oak grown in the United States known for its beauty and durability. It's used to make barrels for aging wine, as well as for hand-crafted furniture. We also love it because every Soma Pitcher handle is unique due to natural variations in color and grain, and each handle is treated with mineral oil to protect it and maintain its shine. 

The Perfect Pour

The Soma Pitcher has also been designed to make filling and pouring even more enjoyable. The inlet door on the Pitcher lid works like the Carafe, opening with the force of incoming water so the lid does not need to be removed for filling. The difference is that the inlet door on the Pitcher is larger, making it even easier to fill. And unlike the Carafe, the Pitcher has a pointed outlet door which makes for a more precise pour, whether you’re filling a typical glass, or a water bottle with a small opening. 

The Pitcher itself is made of a BPA-free plastic. It looks like glass, but has the benefit of being light-weight and shatter-proof. It also uses the same plant-based water filter as the Carafe.

We hope you love the Soma Pitcher as much as we do. After more than a year of planning, perfecting and testing, we're excited to share this with you today.

To learn more about the Soma Pitcher and to get one for yourself, visit the Soma Pitcher page here.

Let us know what you think in the comments below.

Soma x Graf + Lantz Felt Coasters


Today, we're excited to announce our collaboration with Graf + Lantz on a set of coasters specially designed for your Soma.

Graf + Lantz re-imagines every day items to create modern, intelligent and thoughtful products. We love this brand for how they combine unorthodox textures with simple lines.

This year, we got to witness their genius first hand on a collaboration that couldn't be a more perfect fit. Graf + Lantz custom designed a set of bierfilzl coasters for us in two classic shades: black and gray. Placing your Soma on a table has never felt more smooth and serene. Each set comes with a large coaster for your Soma, and 4 smaller ones for your glasses.

Made of wood felt, this material was traditionally used for beer mugs in Bavarian taverns until late 19th century. To this day, Bavarians still call coasters of all kinds "bierfilzl" (beer felt).

So, whether you use these coasters for a cold brew or your brand new Soma water -- history seems to indicate that you'll dig it.

Raise your glass.

Available in black and gray.