Carly Jackson: Hello seasteaders! Today, I’m happy to introduce Morgan Rae, award-winning interior designer, creator of L’eautelier and MXRS. Morgan worked with Ocean Builders to win the radical innovation award in 2021. She is passionate about designing interiors for floating architecture. Welcome Morgan.
Morgan Rae: Thank you for having me, Carly!
Carly Jackson: So, let’s introduce you to our audience. So, you got started in hospitality. So could you tell us how that, how you got started there, and how that led to your interest in interior design for structures on the water.
Morgan Rae: Sure. That’s quite a big journey, but it started quite young. My first job was picking up cigarette butts around a pool at a hotel, and I worked my way up to the laundry room and then into making the beds and cleaning the hotel rooms. And from there, I was so passionate about hotels, that whole inner workings of them, the little secret corridors and even the apartment behind the check-in desk.
And there was a two-way mirror when you could see when guests would come like the managers working there and my mother worked there. So, it’s always been a part of the family. And as I got older, I went into design school, and had started to be in advertising. And I only lasted a month in advertising because I was like, I cannot market products I don’t believe in, like, I just think that’s being a liar. And so, I immediately switched into the interior design program that was new and, that, just, I fell in love with it. Everything about it, because you can’t get bored with doing interior design because there’s so many facets of interiors. I mean, we are in all different types of interior space.
So, finding that quite young, I was very fortunate. And from there, I just started doing all kinds of different designs from biotech offices to the San Diego Zoo and tarpits to libraries. And then, after my master’s program in Italy, that took me into designing more sustainably when I reached Seattle and then I have to run to New York and started doing the hotels and restaurants, casinos, city planning and even going into cruise ships. So, working with one of the big cruise line operators and getting flown out to France to see where those ships are made. So that was a really interesting twist because it’s a different style and also kind of design, like things have to be fixed to the walls and they have to be able to decompose in the water if it were to sink. So, it was very restrictive. But that got me into designing, you know, from hospitality into the water. And while I was in Australia, that’s when I found out about seasteading and which led me to Ocean Builders. So, it’s a very around the world journey!
Carly Jackson: Great. So, when you have a new design project, what’s your first step in starting to wrap your hands around the project and how to start thinking about a space.
Morgan Rae: Sure. Well, research is huge. Like really studying what the project is, where it’s going to be, who the people are that are going to be using the space and just getting into that world because you’re not necessarily designing for yourself all the time. Oftentimes, the majority of the time, it’s someone completely different for you. So, it’s much like an actor would. You get into the mind or you try to do as much as you can of the person that’s going to be in the space and how they might want to move about it.
So, it’s for me, I actually like to go and be in spaces similar to that what I am designing. Like if I had worked on an airport and sometimes I would spend times in airports, but it’s also really challenging. So, I’d watch movies. Like Tom Hanks’ Terminal. I think that was playing constantly when I was doing the CAD drawings, just so I can be like, oh, look at that detail or I didn’t consider that feat or how that could be used. And so, you do a little bit of being in it physically, and then if not using media, I mean, movies are really great, especially for spaces that maybe are a bit more futuristic. Like I remember using Ex Machina as one for a project I worked on in Dubai because it was so futuristic.
Carly Jackson: And movies, I think show us what we wish those spaces would look like. Not necessarily what they are actually like.
Morgan Rae: True. Very true. I mean, the directors and even the creators behind a lot of films, they may have to make these worlds that don’t necessarily exist. And it’s fun being a designer because you are challenged bringing that kind of idea into a real space that works, and that can be used all the time.
Carly Jackson: Okay. And so, you mentioned starting to look at cruise ships and things having to be fixed and some of those differences. It didn’t occur to me growing up until I met someone in college who was from California and talked about the shelves and our dorm rooms and how they would not fly in California because you have to prepare for earthquakes. And that was kind of the first thing I was like, oh, that’s interesting as something I’ve never thought about never living in an earthquake area. And, you know, it’s not like I moved my bookshelves all the time. They stay pretty stable, but I know on a ship you have to really make sure they will stay stable.
So, what are some of the other little things that in our daily life we’re using space, where we’re moving around in our home and workspaces and restaurants and all of that. What are the things that most people don’t even think about that have to be considered when you’re designing for a cruise ship?
Morgan Rae: Lighting was a big one. Like the chandeliers, like they, you couldn’t have them suspended from the ceiling. So, lighting in general, think about anything that swings. So that was different. You could think of like for what you would light over a bar or your dining table. I would look a lot different on something that is moving like that.
Also, with the cups, the table where, you know, any type of dining, you know, your plates or cups or anything like that, you need them a bit more secured. Like they’re stackable, but then also with posts that kind of keep them in place so they don’t shake around. The furniture could move, but oftentimes you have like a table that would be fixed so it wouldn’t be too mobile. So, it’s a mix of fixed furniture and some things that can, but a lot of it was stuck in place, you know? And you think about maybe instead of moving around, it’s more of a up and down or something that would fold down. I mean, it’s a lot of principals from yachts and boats we’re used. Different kinds of lockable cabinets, doors. That’s another thing like you couldn’t just have your kitchen doors or any kind of, you know, cabinetry just open. Like it would have to have some sort of lock because if it swings out, I mean, you could hit someone in the head. So, everything had to be secure.
Carly Jackson: Mhmm. Okay. I want to come back to that, but first I want to talk about, okay, so learning about seasteading, how did you learn about seasteading and you said that you learned about seasteading before you learned about ocean builders.
Morgan Rae: Yes. So, during lockdown there was a brief time when the libraries opened back up again. And so I was in Australia, in Melbourne, in this kind of seaside town St. Kilda, and I went to the library and when you first walk in, they have a shelf of recommended books and Seasteading was right there. And I picked it up and immediately kind of flipped through, but what really got me was in the center, and this was a hardcover copy. It had the colored renderings of, you know, all these future of cities for 50 years from now. And they looked like the designs that had been working on in New York for places like Dubai. And at the time I had been working with this architect that just came up with these out of this world designs and I helped him build his firm up.
And when I left that firm, I kind of left a lot of those crazy out of this world designs with that because he was so unique. And so, I learned a lot from him and seeing that again, I was like, yes, I miss this, you know, I miss that style. And it just stuck with me, so I checked it out. Honestly, it sat on my bookshelf for, I think three months, I renewed it three times and I mean, it was really pretty.
And then I said, okay, I should actually probably read this book because you know, I’m drawn to it and it’s not meant to just be a coffee table book. So, I started reading it and then while I was doing that, I got online and researched the website and Instagram. And when I got on Instagram, I saw the rendering of the SeaPod and it was very, the one I was really drawn to was the pastel-y one which it was like a pinky blue.
It was just very, to me, romantic and it immediately drew me and I saved it. And then I was doing these public performances later in Melbourne and was putting all the concepts together. And that’s linked to MXRS, that we can talk about that later. And so, I was doing the mood boards and that popped up again. I said, I should find out what this picture is all about. And so, through the Instagram, again, linked to the Ocean Builders and then I clicked on to the website and I saw that they were looking for interior designers. And so, filled out the form. And two days later I was on a video call with Grant.
Carly Jackson: That’s great. That’s great. Oh, that’s so great. I love that. You know, the Seasteading Institute’s main purpose is to make sure that people who want to build floating architecture, floating homes, whether home or city level scale, you know, that people can find each other. So, it’s really great to hear that, that that we are actually helping people find each other. So that’s great.
Okay. So, tell us a bit about the radical innovation award. It’s something that I have noticed, since Ocean Builders joined and was asking people to vote for them. It’s come to my attention that there are other kinds of awards out there. So are you familiar with this whole area of people giving awards to startups or researchers like, or was radical innovation sort of a one-time thing that you learned about.
Morgan Rae: I’m quite familiar with well, design awards. Cause even before, it’s part of design is, you know, selling your design and this can be before, you know, to that actual clients. And also when you’re completed it to showcase like this is what was done. So, a big part of that is sharing the story.
So, I know on the design side I first got linked up with ocean builders. I started looking at the different ones that we might want to apply for. And the radical innovation one was, well, it was when I talked to Grant, I was like, we have two weeks to finish this application. I was in Australia and I’m like, let’s do it! Let’s just see!
So there, yeah, there are others. There’s many, but this one was one that I had been following for a while. Because I looked at who had won in the past and they were quite reputable in terms of, well, the hotel brand or in the professional category. They were well-known.
So, it’s not as something that had a good reputation around it and then you’d want to be associated with Yeah, there are so many others also in terms of grants as well. So, I think I have a list somewhere, but the ones that we were going to go after for Ocean Builders, so might need to think back.
Carly Jackson: Yeah. So, it’s doing that kind of research, looking for these kinds of awards. Is that something you’d recommend to people who are creating startup businesses in that to do seasteading related technology?
Morgan Rae: Yes. I highly recommend because it can, it almost jumpstarts you as someone that’s, well, starting up because you really get your act together and present it in a way, I mean, it’s very similar to a pitch deck, what you have to send in. So, whether you get the award or not, you at least have that documentation together. And so, you could send it, not that you would send the same document to multiple awards, but you would have everything needed. And so, who’s to say you couldn’t take that to an investor. Like for the radical innovation award one of the benefits that it would get in front of investors. That’s what was advertised through the competition.
Carly Jackson: Okay. So, they can offer that to all their applicants?
Morgan Rae: I think it’s just the winners. It was a little different this year, this past year when we were in it, because there’s supposed to be an award ceremony. And so, because of the different restrictions that didn’t happen. So, it went to a public vote. But the idea in the past was that you would go to New York and get flown in to be at the award ceremony with such people. In our case, we were published twice in Sleeper magazine, one to announce being in the finals. And then recently it was published again, being known as the winner. So, Sleeper magazine is one specifically for hospitality, but it’s a very well-known magazine in Europe and with design as a whole. So that was quite a nice nod to have. And so, you never know who that can come across or getting hands up.
Carly Jackson: Yeah, that’s good to know. I mean, when we have people contacting us for help, jump-starting their seasteading projects. We had the project in French Polynesia, which kind of was killed because public sentiment turned against the project. And then of course, crypto crashed.
There’s some reasons, we have the explanation on our website if anyone’s curious, but since that, you know, we learned the lesson that: you don’t have to tell everyone. And there’s been plenty of misleading and misinformed press about seasteading and the Seasteading Institute. We don’t need to tell everyone in the world about seasteading. We need to tell the people who are going to be interested and invest in it and support seasteading and want to actually grow this industry.
So, it sounds like this is a way this may be a way to find the folks who have the interests and the means to really support your project. Like it’s, instead of seeking out general press attention for new seasteading projects, going through these awards might be a way to connect you with the people you actually want to be connected with. Not just, you know, the general public who oftentimes we’ll just have a flash decision and then forget all about you. And so, it doesn’t really get your project moving in the right way.
Morgan Rae: Right. And it was, personally, it was really nice to, to speak to the judges and they sent ahead questions and they had actually done the research, like some of the questions that they asked were referring to, you know, other parts of the journey of Ocean Builders and seasteading as a whole. Like they had known about what has happened in Thailand. It was interesting that it kind of spread that without even having to talk about that ourselves.
And it was quite well received by the design industry.
Carly Jackson: That’s great.
Morgan Rae: As far as I can tell, you know, at least on the surface. So perhaps like you were saying, the media, specific media outlets might not be the right one or you can go for a different target market. I’ve been hearing a lot of interest from Italy. That was one that I was surprised by, but with ties to Rose Island coming out and the idea of designing for this sea, a country that really loves the sea. So, whose to say?
Carly Jackson: So how did you determine, or what was it about the SeaPod that that you thought, okay, this is ready for an award application?
Morgan Rae: Well, the design was there. It was in construction and one of the selling points was for the Radical Innovation award is that these need to be something that could be realized in five years or so. So, the project was entered as a built project because it was in construction. Like it was actually happening.
It’s not just a concept, and you could enter it as both. And I do remember calling the Pat Martin, who is, she kind of manages the whole award. And when the construction was a little bit different schedule than what I had anticipated, I mean, it’s just how things go. I called her up and I said, hey, is it going to be okay that, you know, we’re still constructing it, but it’s not going to be done by the time we said it was?
And she’s like, yes, yes, you know, the idea is five years. So, I think it was a big help that it was already being built. There was another floating hotel project that was proposed and it made the finals, but it was on, it came in third place, which I thought was interesting. And I think that was perhaps it was just a concept, so.
Carly Jackson: Hmm. Cool. Okay. That’s great. I think this is a whole realm that I think seasteaders in general should be looking at and be interested in. It’s great to know. And it was a huge win. I texted to congratulate you, Morgan, that you said, this is big for seasteading as a whole.
And it’s like, yes, that’s absolutely right. But just to know that professionals in the design industry looked at a seasteading project. And said, yeah, that’s great. Let’s support it. So.
Morgan Rae: Its quite an honor for that, in my personal opinion, because designers can be some of the harshest critics.
Carly Jackson: Would you characterize designers in general as visionary or, you know, we’ve tried to reach out to like real estate groups and they seem very conservative sometimes. They’re not open to taking risks on new kinds of technology. But would you say that designers are like, as far as like the scale of visionary to conservative, like where is it? Is there a way to like categorize in general designers?
Morgan Rae: I think visionary is a strong and great way to describe certain designers. Not all of them are going to be like that, but a good many are. And I like to see, say, that designers are, we’re, problem solvers.
And we often succeed when we see a problem in the world and we offer our own solution first, rather than a client hiring us, because they’re going to come with their own parameters, restrictions and things that can make things a bit smaller. And there’s a saying in the industry that you’re only as good as your client allows you to be.
So, it’s nice when a designer can actually bring forth a solution to a problem. And we look to artists a lot and see like, oftentimes artists will point out a problem in the world or, you know, draw attention to something that’s going on. And it’s nice when we can see something like that and be inspired and be like, oh, okay, let’s look at this and let’s see how we can, can offer a solution in the built environment.
Carly Jackson: So that’s a great way to shift it to the next thing I wanted to ask you about. So, I also know from talking with you that you’re passionate about the environment. And so, you mentioned briefly the materials used on cruise ships. You have to look at things that in the worst-case scenario can sink, but not pollute the water, or pollute the water too badly, maybe is the right way to say it. So can you say a little bit more about your interest in the environment and floating architecture being environmentally sustainable?
Morgan Rae: Oh, it’s a huge concern and passion of mine is which, with these new structures that are being created that we think about the whole cycle, including the end cycle, you know? Like are these, hopefully they would last more than five years, but, you know, I would like to think at minimum 10, but really thinking about what happens at the end of them or how is technology updated. And also, what materials are being used. Is it possible that use materials from the sea, like different kinds of lava stone.
Like in The Azores, they actually, it’s a volcanic island. So, they use a lot of basalt in the homes that are actually on the island. So, I’m wondering, and I actually have been taking samples of that to be like, is that something that could be used, you know, is it going to be able to, I mean, it’s a stone to get bashed with the waves every single day. You know, how could it be used on a floating structure on the water, you know, would it work with that or looking at some of the traditional boats and the woods that are being used, you know, cause at least with a sustainable source of the wood and we know it works because it’s been utilized for boats for, you know, hundreds of years. So why couldn’t you use that? And that could either be recycled or, you know, turned into something else.
So, thinking a little bit beyond just like, okay, we’re going to make this, you know, where’s this going to be in 25 or even 50 years from now. I mean, these first seasteads will probably look a lot different than the ones that are proposed for 50 years, for 2050 or something like that. That’s a given, that’s just how things evolve, but is there a way that it could be repurposed or decomposed, but that’s something I want to make sure that people are considering what happens to it.
Carly Jackson: So, and it sounds like you’re talking about the structure of the floating home or floating platform, but you also think about the materials of everything inside the home. So, we’ve talked about mattresses before and what else, what else is there to consider?
Morgan Rae: I think it’s going to be really interesting as I, myself, you know, this is a huge challenge that someone that likes to express themselves through what they wear or what their environment is for. If you’re going to be on a seastead, it’s a little bit more restrictive of how you can change out the colors of the furniture, that’s probably going to happen a lot less than you think. So yeah, so, you did mention the mattress, like those with a natural mattress you will have to flip them you can’t just, it wouldn’t be as easy to just buy a mattress for the home and then be like, okay, we’re going to upgrade it later. Like you actually want to make sure you’re having something that you liked for a long time with seasteads. Because you’re not going to be able to go to like an Ikea or something like that and just change it out.
No, I mean, I actually think this is what’s going to be fascinating to see as the community develops on the water. If people will trade, you know, or if there’s going to be children on the water or as you age, you know, and want to change up the space. Are they’re going to be new spaces to trade these or systems to trade with other seasteaders or are there going to be people like myself or others that help you decide how to change a repurpose things on the seastead instead of throwing, because I don’t know if you will be able to really throw it out, you know, hopefully you wouldn’t be just, you could throw it in the water, but let’s hope that doesn’t happen.
Carly Jackson: You know, was it the free, the buy nothing groups on Facebook, come by on your speed boat and pick up my table. I don’t want it any more or whatever, but I think with, when I think of a mattress in a cruise ship or on a seastead, I wonder about, like mold or, you know, just being in that environment or like you mentioned on a cruise ship, the cups and the plates in the dining area, making sure that they’re not going to rattle around and all of that.
Like, are there, have you thought about, like, just the utensils and the little things that we use to get through our daily life. You know, pens or computers, like all of that stuff. Is it going to be rough being actually on the water? I’m sure that there are plenty of people on in coastal cities that have to deal with that now. But I wonder if it’s more, when you’re actually floating on the water.
Morgan Rae: Yes, this has been something that I’ve been concerned about and it was helpful to be living oceanfront, you know, in different climates, in different countries, to see what happens. Like when I was in Mexico, the electronics really eroded away, you know, and you working by the ocean, it just, that salt water, you really had to get some protective cases for those things. And I saw on both the vehicle that I drove and then my personal electronics in the Caribbean I was using like a help, well testing out some hemp products like hemp textiles, and hemp is interesting because it’s anti-microbial. And the canvas that we know for most sails and on sailboats actually canvas comes from the word cannabis because in the past, that’s what they used, that was actually fabric. I mean, it’s since changed, but I was testing out this kind of poncho thing and it started molding. So, I think it wasn’t a 100% hemp, I think it was a hemp/cotton blend, unfortunately, but I did have another hemp bag that actually was fine. If I spilled oil on it, the oil disappeared. Agave rugs worked really well. Like you can get those in Morocco. They fade, but then as soon as you add like water and wash them, the color comes back.
So that that’s been really interesting to look at some of the living materials. With the mattresses, this is something I was really concerned about. And so, I found this company called Coco Mat, that they have been on yachts and they use wool and seaweed and coconut, and like they have nine different layers in their mattresses and it depends on how you’re sleeping which one would be for you, but we’re still working out what would be the best for a seastead because of how humid it’s possibly going to be. So, we’re in the works. The best idea will be to test it out and see how long it lasts, but they also have their mattresses unzip and well, one particular, one of the many that they have, and you can pull out the pieces. So, there might be ways that you could check on it or flip it, but we’re in the works with them on the perfect mattress. The seaweed, that’s really fascinating, that that’s like actually in it. But they actually use like natural latex as well. So, and I was told that fresh wool actually really helps with that. So.
Carly Jackson: There’s oil on the wool, right? Is that what helps keep things sealed and?
Morgan Rae: I believe so. So, whenever the first one’s ready, to get one of these mattresses out there and just test it out. Cause that’s really the best way of telling. Even with a sealed environment, that if you open up your doors to have, you know, go out on your deck and you leave that open, it’s still gonna have moisture inside. So, it’ll be interesting to see what does last.
Carly Jackson: So, with a cruise ship and you’re designing spaces for people to be in temporarily, right? So, they’re not, there’s not a lot of personalization I would imagine. But with yachts, I’m guessing there’s another level of personalization, but I wonder how much is possible on yachts. But with seasteads, we’re expecting them to be homes or permanent working environments.
So, you do want a level of personalization. How do you see that being possible? Like, are we going to start out with generic mattress and bedding and dishes and, you know, rugs and all of that, and then have to, you know, develop personalization over many years? What do you think? What do you predict?
Morgan Rae: Oh, I hope not. I’m one that firmly believes that each should be seen as a unique space and there shouldn’t be a copycat one. Like, this is your home, this is something that you’re investing in. So, there are fun ways to make it your own. And perhaps, you know, the material can be the same for the starting seasteading but you can change the colors, the patterns, you know. So many different ways that you can customize it.
And maybe that would add into the fun of later doing these swaps or starting small. But that’s, years ago I had this idea that all these apartments should just be, you get the designer, the designer designs it, and it just, all the furniture stays in there because shipping the furniture around it cost so much money, uses so much energy, things get damaged. So, much like in Europe, oftentimes the, the apartments are vented, furnished. Why couldn’t the seasteads potentially do that. And maybe like you sell a car or an RV, you can switch. I don’t know. That’s one idea, but also I think finding what materials work best for the first ones, and then, you know, we can simply change the colors and patterns or finding a couple of different things that they could choose from. That would be like the ideal for the first seasteads for anybody that would want to work with me to have these that they could choose from and pick and choose and also the placement of things.
Carly Jackson: Well, I was going to ask, do you think that will drive up the cost significantly or do you think it’s definitely cost effective to have that option, different options for colors patterns?
Morgan Rae: I think, so, I learned a lot when I was in college, I was actually working at Ikea and I think they, you know, there’s parts of the business model that I liked was, for one, their kitchens are made quite well. And many of them with long warranties, 20 years or so. But they had all these different ways of building out your kitchen and customize them, but, standard sizes, but you picked the front of the cabinets, you had two choices, white or bridge for the inside. And then the countertop you could pick, and later you could change out your doors or you could add onto it. So that could be potentially something that we do with the interiors, is change the face of things. The color of the counters or even knobs, handles, like the jewelry of the space.
Having different lighting will be huge, depending on when you want to use the space for, like, if you like to read a lot or some things. So, there are ways that can be cost-conscious but still give that personalization you need. That’s how I started doing design is like, how can you do it in ways that are essentially that?
That’s the fun part. It’s not all about having a lot of money. You just have to think about it in unique ways or maybe you invest in one piece, but then know that, okay. You know, in five years we’re going to add onto this or we’re going to change this and that’s, that’s fine because you get to grow into your space rather than just having it all built out when you first get into it.
Carly Jackson: That made me think of like 10 other questions all at once. Okay. So maybe we don’t need to go into that. Or maybe we can. So, I look at the images for the SeaPod and everything, just based digital images, everything looks polished and complete. And so, the idea of being able to like, take out the cabinets and put something in with a different style or different color, the images I’ve seen haven’t really made me think that way.
So, is that something that they’re working on a SeaPod or is this something that you’re thinking about on different projects?
Morgan Rae: So, for the EcoPod, that’s the one that’s more, like where the shell is being supplied and that you could customize the interior more so than the SeaPod itself. The SeaPod is pretty much built out as it is with, you know, minimal upgrades so what you see is what you get. And it has much more options for picking out furniture. And you could still customize the cabinets more or less, the doors, or the handles.
Carly Jackson: Or like the bathroom tiles or like flooring, like is it too soon to think about being able to change those things?
Morgan Rae: I don’t think so, because what I learned from doing design even is that everything has to be made. So, if you catch it before it’s being made and right now, you know, there’s one in production. So, if you are a future homeowner or seastead owner, you know, before it’s getting made who’s to say that can’t happen. There’s there will be a cost associated with it. Yes. You know, because it would be something custom, but why not ask and say, how much could I change this? Could I change this color?
I mean, sometimes there might be a no, and there might be a reason behind that, but there shouldn’t be an issue. Like some of the times I would go to furniture manufacturers and be like, I really like this chair, but can I change the color of this? And we’d be placing a large order or something like that.
So, there might sometimes, it can work in your favor in that way. But if there’s a demand for it, you know, it might be something that hasn’t been thought of. So, yeah, I would say it’s possible, but looping back, the EcoPod is the one that has been designed to have a lot more customization in comparison to the SeaPod.
Carly Jackson: Right. Okay. That makes sense. So, the EcoPod, we’ll be sure to share pictures of this. It’s a newer design that Ocean Builders has recently displayed on their website. And the SeaPod has a very distinct look and feel to it. So, that makes a lot of sense that the EcoPod would allow for more customization.
But let’s talk about your projects. So, do you want to tell us what L’eautelier is?
Morgan Rae: Sure. L’eautelier is new and it’s the blend of the interior design that I’ve been doing for so many years, but still doing that in a way that’s purely for the sea as well as hotel consulting and all of that.
So essentially, I’m focusing now on doing all kinds of designs and consulting on hospitality for everything living on water. So, coming up with designs for interiors, but even some of the things that will go in the homes. Like I personally love fish leather and how you can use that for different upholstery.
Looking at different types of cups and mugs that will last long, and actually having products that are either custom collaborations between myself and different manufacturers for these that are like, okay, this is okay for the water and it will last. That’s what that whole new project,
Carly Jackson: How do you make fish leather?
Morgan Rae: Fish leather. So, with fish leather in the, like, the food industry, when they have fish. A lot of the skins were just being thrown away and I’ve found, well, there’s actually multiple companies now that actually go to these…
Carly Jackson: Like processing, fish processing plants?
Morgan Rae: Yes. And they don’t have to be huge. There’s smaller in smaller towns in the north or any kind of these fishing areas, they tan skins essentially. But you’re dealing with, you know, it’s not like a cow hide. It’s very small triangles, so they’re, they’re different, but they don’t tear. They’ve done quite well in the fashion industry as, you know, motorcycle jackets and shoes and bags and notebooks. But I’ve used them personally in interiors before in seafood restaurants in Miami. And so, they’re a little different to work with, but they’re great because they’re of sea!
Carly Jackson: Hmm. That’s amazing. Is there a specific species of fish or can you use different kinds of?…
Morgan Rae: Salmon, Perch. I just don’t know words. It just depends on the size. So, it’s nice because it’s something that would typically have been thrown out. You have to be careful of who you’re working with to make sure they’re getting them from sources that are doing fishing in the best practice, in the best way possible.
But yeah, that’s one of the fun ones. And I’m now looking into like the pineapple leather to see if that would be something that would work on the sea as well. I think it would, but I’ll see.
Carly Jackson: That’s awesome! Okay, so, tell me some more. So, L’eautelier, like who are your customers and, you know, who can access what you’re offering with L’eautelier?
Morgan Rae: Sure. The customers are anyone that really wants to, well, be a seasteader, essentially. So, there’ll be different ways. There’s a bigger project that I can’t talk about yet, but we’re getting close. So, follow along and we’ll be talking about that more. But for those that are curious about how to live on the sea in a better way, that want a little bit, not quite white glove service, but a little bit more handholding on the whole design process or they want to be able to find things that would actually work for that purpose would work with me. So, it could be someone that wants to buy a seastead and they’re going to build a home on it. Another great option are those that are going to do that and perhaps rent it out.
My background’s in hospitality and all of that. So, thinking about how to host on the sea. The radical innovation was seeing the SeaPod as a hotel. And that is something that’s most likely going to happen, but there’s different, you know, you think of the interior design, but take it a step further and be like, how are you actually going to host on the water?
Like there’s a whole lot of restrictions there. So that’s, it’s almost like a lifestyle company for the sea.
Carly Jackson: Yeah, it’s great to get a sense that there’s a real market out there for people like living and building on the sea. So, we have our specific partners and projects, but it’s great to know that there’s just a broader world of people who are thinking about how to live on the ocean.
Morgan Rae: Well, yeah. And I think there’s going to be this transition period. Like I was talking about the floating bicycle, that land to sea, you know, and that’s where I’m really targeting or that’s where a lot of my customers are coming into where they’re like, okay, I think I’m interested in this, but how do I make that leap? You know? And what are different ways to still live the life I have, but transition.
Carly Jackson: Yeah, say more about that. The floating bicycle and how that sort of embodies this transitioning period.
Morgan Rae: Sure. The floating bicycle that I got to try out was another innovation from Coco Mat. They’re a very interesting company that not only do they do mattresses, but they work on floating wooden bicycles. So, they already create wooden, electric bicycles, but the battery looks like a water bottle. It’s genius. But they have a bicycle. So, you can take your bicycle for land, or they’re going to be doing the wood one, and it kind of slots into these two, almost like this platform on two like, canoe-like structures and you pedal forward. And then there’s like a gear that switches it to then, you’re still paddling forward, but you’re actually going backwards.
But it’s, like, go from your seastead, you know, take your floating bicycle, paddle over to the nearby shore, take your bike off and go and, you know, get your groceries. I had really great idea for the first ones that are going to be a little bit more close to shore, you know, as we go further and further out to sea. This probably won’t work, maybe these would work between seasteads, but the day I was out trying it out, the wind was really high. And so, the waves were choppy. So, I didn’t get to try it out on the water, but I did see videos of that working. So, there’s some things that still have to consider it, but it’s really fun. That could be the way to get around whether you wanted it with electric or just manpower.
I mean, think of exercise. That was something I was considering. How are we going to be exercising on these seasteads? Not everybody does yoga and you can’t really run laps. But, you know, to look at these ways to exercise. It’s going to be a whole new lifestyle. I love thinking about it.
Carly Jackson: Is there anything else you want to share or promote.
Morgan Rae: L’eautelier is the biggest one. And so, I would say the best thing to do is follow on Instagram and we’ll be sharing more about what’s going on, but I’ve been working under the radar things. So.
Carly Jackson: So, on Instagram, that’s at L E a U T E L I E R. L’eautelier.
Thank you so much, Morgan. It’s been just a great, great conversation because I think not as many seasteaders are knowledgeable about how to think about your interiors. And it’s just as important as figuring out how you’re going to float on the water. So, I really appreciate you joining our seasteading community and having you on the podcast!
Morgan Rae: Aw, thanks for having me! This was so fun! I mean, I honestly was a little nervous coming on, but you made me feel really at ease. Yes, so if anybody has any questions about interiors, feel free to reach out through the Instagram’s the best way.
Carly Jackson: Great. Thank you so much!
Morgan Rae: Thank you!