Q: What do you get when you mix an Industrial Designer, with a former teacher, with a past Bar Manager, with a trained percussionist?
A: One of the key members of Black Hound, naturally.
Listen- nearly every team member of BHDC has a unique- maybe even quirky- past. But it’s hard to beat Ian Mueller and his all-over-the-board background.
And while his past may seem unlikely to have led to his tremendous success today- it actually makes perfect sense.
You see, it’s actually extremely rare for anyone at BHDC to have studied only one thing. Or worked in only one field. And that’s what we love- and that’s what we appreciate. Since we’re a jack (and jill) of all trades kinda company, we love it when our team members are too.
And Ian Mueller is the very definition of a jack-of-all trades.
Ian- a Denver native- is our resident Industrial Designer and one of our talented Project Managers. He brings a certain “zen-like” approach to each and every project that he touches. He is calm under pressure, witty under conflict, and limitless in his talents under mind-blowing requests.
How? Well, as his Mother says, it all started at the ripe old age of four, when he dismantled his baby gate using a screwdriver. Sure, most kids can do that at age four, right?!
Bottom line- he had an interest in building and reverse engineering from the start. But he didn’t necessarily recognize it at the time. And yet- he certainly gravitated towards it. After high school, during a “gap year,” he enrolled in several welding courses at Denver’s Metro State University. Why? Because it just simply sounded fun.
He later enrolled as a major in their Music Education program, specializing in percussion. But, as he said, the classes seemed like a chore- instead of something he was truly passionate about. So, he switched majors to Industrial Design and found his home. During his college years, he worked at the Denver Children’s Museum and was able to design and build several fun, prominent exhibits (anyone been to the wind tunnel? What a riot!).
These experiences gave him a strong foundation in not only designing- but also in building. And while he loved every moment of it, he felt a calling to a far away place upon graduation: China. Ian and his (future) wife spent long, exciting months immersed in the Asian culture while teaching English to young kids. As he said, teaching is really about helping people to achieve their goals- so he felt a tremendous sense of pride and honor in that role.
How the Hospitality Industry is Key for Skill Building
Upon coming back to the States, Ian decided to pivot a bit, and joined the Hospitality Industry as the Manager of Alamo DraftHouse’s legendary bar and event venue. But, Ian has always had a deep love of food, cocktails and wine, so managing Alamo was actually a very appropriate fit. He loved being able to share his epicurean tastes and habits with other people (Fun fact- Ian is a Level 1 Sommelier!), and creating delightful experiences for all of his guests.
He also pointed out that working in the hospitality industry inherently gives you skills in how to handle conflict gracefully, how to anticipate people’s needs and generally- just how to hustle (all of which are key parts of BHDC’s value proposition).
Thus, his secret sauce is born. Ian combines the white-glove customer service of a hospitality pro, with the patience and understanding of a teacher. Throw in a hefty dose of Industrial Design expertise, and voila- you have a bonafide AF creative design build extraordinaire.
We sure are lucky to have Ian here at Black Hound Design Company.
Bonus Trivia about Ian:
Fav project at Black Hound: huge residential project with the highly esteemed Rowland & Broughton Architecture Firm and Old Greenwich Builders for the famous client- DJ Tiesto. This multi-year project in Denver had seamless collaboration, and resulted in stellar creative furniture and fabrication.
Fav cocktail: Manhattan
Fav hobby: Food “projects” (like fermenting his own kimchi)
Fav design aesthetic: Mid Century Modern
Fav color: He doesn't have one. He’s color blind!
Black Hound Design Company is a custom branded elements, furniture, metal fabrication and commercial art workshop in Colorado, serving Arvada, Denver, Boulder, Aurora and all along the Front Range. Our custom furniture can also be found in Aspen, Breckenridge, Grand County and the entire Rocky Mountain area. We love working with national clients, too, with our creative fabrication in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Atlanta, Chicago and more. We are passionate about creating handcrafted furniture, millwork, fabrication and FF&E for homes, restaurants, hotels, resorts, retail and more.