A Life of Its Own:
The Functional Sculpture of Phil Panza

March 1st, 2022

In Review is a recurring feature in the Pink Essay newsletter where we explore the work of a particular designer or artist, from their perspective. 

Phil Panza is a multidisciplinary artist and designer based in Brooklyn. His work focuses on bringing more life into spaces in creating pieces that fall under “functional sculpture”—unique pieces that ask they be used in more ways than one. Phil hopes to bring more presence to the interaction with these pieces while making you more present in the space it inhabits.

What do you make?

Functional Sculptures.

What do you wish people knew about your work?

That I really want to engage in more play with my pieces and bring more focus to the object, its function, and just the present moment of you interacting with it. Engaging in play and having beautiful things around you is big for your mental health—I want to make that more apparent and create those said pieces to help provide that.

The hardest part of making is ... 

Figuring what to make hah. I have sketchbooks on sketchbooks of different ideas—just depends on what materials/space I have to create with and within ... and how my funds are doing because for some ideas/projects I just don't have the means at the moment.

The weirdest part of making is ...

Posting it. It's just been a bit harder for me to do lately. Just feel like instagram is getting a bit cluttered and more detached from reality.

How long does it take to make?

Some things take a day, some things maybe a month or so ... all depends on what it is and how big it is, but when I start working on something I usually don't look up until it's done.

Machine or handmade?

Handmade always (with the help of hand machines).

Large or small?

Beauty in both.

Natural or synthetic?


Soft or rough?

I’m a softy.

Who are you when you’re not making?

Same as when I'm making, just more focused on you than what I'm doing.

A favorite song to play when you’re in the zone:

“Lean 4 Real”  by Playboi Carti or “It's Time Again” by FJAAK or “Ritual” by Navy Blue ... depends on the zone.︎


Explore more of Phil Panza’s work at @phil.panza.


A creative studio and platform celebrating radical design subculture.