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Meet Alan Harp of Alan Harp Design

Today we’d like to introduce you to Alan Harp.

Alan, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Alan Harp Design started in 2010 after having worked at Georgia Tech as a furniture design professor and Industrial Designer for 22 years.

My career began at Georgia Tech at the Center for Rehabilitation Technology where I was involved in designing custom furniture and devices for people with physical disabilities. I loved the challenge of continually creating unique pieces to meet the needs of our clients. After a number of years there, I moved to a new state-of-the-art facility at Georgia Tech, the Advanced Wood Products Laboratory. It was here where I began teaching students furniture design and CNC technology with the production equipment housed in the lab. In addition to teaching the students, I was blessed to learn many new techniques and skills during my tenure here that have helped me tremendously once I was on my own.

As the economy changed and funding dried up for the lab, I struck out on my own to create Alan Harp Design. My goal is to create unique pieces based on the client’s ideas. This is where my slogan came from… “because what you want doesn’t exist… yet”. Clients know what they want, but the piece doesn’t exist.. yet.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
As with all new businesses, the beginning was rough. It was in 2010, at the height of the recession when I started my company. While it took a while to get my name out to my friends and gradually to a larger audience, business has been continually growing.

Each year there are the cycles of business, sometimes overwhelmed, other times.. well… plenty of time to rearrange the shop. Through the reach of the internet, my clientele has gradually expanded to all parts of the USA to the point now that the majority of my projects come via web searches. Naturally, this means that now I ship or deliver many of my projects to places well outside of the metro Atlanta area.

Please tell us about Alan Harp Design.
Alan Harp Design is essentially a one-man shop. I have occasionally hired former design students to assist me, but it’s usually just me. Therefore I do all of the client visits, budgeting, design, construction and delivery of the pieces.

Each piece that I create is unique to the client. Rarely will a design be repeated, so there is no inventory to deal with. I work closely with each client to help them realize their wishes with their custom piece. I know that they are looking for something unique, and I spend as much time as necessary helping them see their idea come to fruition.

I very proud of the idea that I can help an extract an idea from a client’s mind through conversations, pictures, and drawings, especially since many of the clients are not designers and may struggle in how to express their ideas.

I get asked many times what “my style” is. What sets me apart is that “my style” is irrelevant… It’s the client’s style that is the most important. My job as a designer is to create their unique idea.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
I was that kid who was always drawing, playing with Legos and making model cars. An odd, but a favorite memory from my childhood was when I got in trouble in class for drawing in my notebook instead of taking notes. I just can’t help it. If there was (and still is) blank paper and something to draw with, there will be a drawing! These days, many church bulletins are filled with brainstorming ideas… shhhhh.. don’t tell the pastor!


  • Projects have ranged from $1500 for a coffee table up to $25,000 for a conference table.

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: VoyageATL is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

1 Comment

  1. Mary E. Lisenby

    August 4, 2018 at 1:23 pm

    Alan!!! OMGosh, I didn’t even know what you did for a living. You are Amazing! Your work is SO Awesome!!!

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