Looking for some special piece of furniture that's not mass-produced and won't make you feel like you're still in college? Looking for high quality, handmade, and interesting pieces?
If you're looking for high quality, handmade and interesting pieces, Brooklyn may be your place.
It turns out that Brooklyn is home to a small army of furniture-making studios run by designers, woodworkers, and environmentally-minded artisans who produce a range of affordable standard items and pricier custom furniture. Tucked away in places like the third floor of a building in DUMBO or a studio at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, they make tables and chairs, credenzas and bookshelves, beds and stools.
It's not always easy to find sources for handcrafted furniture. So, here's a list of eight outstanding young designers, many trained at top notch design schools such as the Rhode Island School of Design and Pratt, who have launched their own small businesses in Brooklyn. Why not buy... local?
The" Factory Floor" Furniture Show
Full disclosure: the furniture designers featured here aren't the only ones in town. Far from it. The following list is based on a peruse of the Factory Floor Furniture Show in October 2013, the year's second gathering of Brooklyn's hand crafted furniture designers. It took place in a huge repurposed industrial space in Industry City, on the waterfront at 37th Street in Sunset Park. (The first was Brooklyn Designs, held in May in DUMBO, resurrected after a few years of recession-plagued economic decline.) Dozens of talented young designers with studios across the borough, from Williamsburg to Red Hook and in Industry City itself showed pieces in an exciting, friendly two-weekend exhibit.
01 of 08
In operation since about 2010, VOLK's principal Brian Zimmerman is a Rhode Island School of Design graduate who today works out of a studio in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Prior to his move to a Civil War-era warehouse on the Red Hook waterfront, he worked in another iconic Brooklyn setting, the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
His work uses traditional joinery and handicraft handcrafted, traditionally joined and finished wood furniture to achieve a modern look. He deploys old-school, labor-intensive finishing methods, such as fuming the oak wood. Some of his pieces have a little discreet zing, like brass legs or unusual retro knobs.
Price points for the side tables start at $1,500.
The shop produces tables, storage, seating, and custom pieces.The large credenza show in the photo, which is a custom ordered piece, runs about $14,000.
Brian comes from a long line of makers.His great-great-great-great grandfather, John Volk, was a furniture maker of local renown in the early 19th century.
Contact: Volk, 535... Dean St. #119., (930) 310 9092
02 of 08
Sensible Bike Rack for Cramped Apartment Living
4Korners, founded in 2001, is a small shop in Red Hook Brooklyn started by self-described "serial entrepreneur" Scott Rafael.
Shown here is the company's appealing little bike rack for the urban cyclist. Hung on the wall, it enables a bike enthusiast to have everything in one spot: the bike lock, helmet, water bottle, and keys. It's simple, clean, and priced below $100, affordable.
Scott gives credit for his recycling sensibility to his grandmother, Lola Anchoring (who recycled everything). His work is spare, practical, and green.
Contact: 4Korners, (718) 909.6157
03 of 08
Small Space, Fun Furniture: Brooklyn Makers
Colleen and Eric, a Prat- trained couple who work in Red Hook, Brooklyn, have a light, whimsical touch and an eye for pieces that work in small spaces.
One of their best sellers, they say, is their "Hold On Tight" bookshelf, which doubles as a bookshelf, an art piece, and a visual joke (go online to see it here).
Shown in the photo is a curlicue chandelier with a long lasting LED strip, for that modern chandelier look. It sells in the $2,000 range.
Another popular, fun piece is a functional table with multi-piece colored legs; at home, people can create different color patterns by screwing them together in different arrangements. "Like a toy," they say, smiling.
Contact: Colleen & Eric. (917) 849 9164
04 of 08
Pickett Furniture: Classic HandCrafted Wood Pieces
Launched in 2008, Pickett Furniture is based in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Named after its principal, Jeremy Pickett, the shop produces custom pieces using a minimalist, modern aesthetic.
If wood can be in your DNA, Jeremy, an Indianapolis-born designer, would test positive. He cites a generations-long family connection to the famous Scottish-born writer and nature advocate John Muir (and proudly displays an old hatchet with the words "MUIR" on it).
Shown below the skateboards is one of Jeremey's most popular pieces, the ever-useful small wooden bench, as at home in a modern Brooklyn apartment as in a woodsman's home two centuries ago.
Contact: Pickett Furniture, 175 Van Dyke St. Pier 41, Ste 325B. (347) 294 0476Continue to 5 of 8 below.
05 of 08
Bien Hecho, Artisanal Woodworking in Brooklyn
Based in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Bien Hecho's craftsman John Randall is a self-taught former biology student who creates one-of-a-kind pieces for homeowners, designers, and small offices.
Some of his materials are recycled; at the 2013 Industry City show, he featured a small discarded section of the now-replaced Coney Island Boardwalk, made of expensive pay wood. A gorgeous bench is made from "storm-downed honey locust" retrieved from the rough-and-tumble Brooklyn neighborhood of East New York after a storm in 2009. A handsome side table is made of scrap and soft woods, featuring dozens of different kinds of wood.
Contact: Bien Hecho, 63 Flushing Ave, Building 3, Suite 1110, Brooklyn Navy Yard
06 of 08
Functional, Handmade Furniture & A Table That Begs for a Rose
Launched in about 2010, Mi Media (which means "my little table") caters to a specific demographic: 20-and-30- somethings are finally tossing their first apartment IKEA type furniture, can afford to spend a little money, and who're looking for unique, affordable, fun pieces. Rhode Island School of Design-trained owner Manny Flaherty knows the demographic (he's in it), so he keeps things simple, built low to the ground for that mid-century modern look, and reasonably affordable.
There's a flair of romance here: the table shown in the photo has a small knot that allows enough space for a small vase and a rose. The rose table is about $450; larger tables start at about $800.
Contact: Mi Mesita (106 Ferris St. 2nd Fl., (917) 689.6700
07 of 08
Unusual Chairs by New Colony Furniture
You don't say? Concrete that's comfy to sit on?
With a manufacturing shop based in Gowanus, Brooklyn, the New Colony Furniture shop is a Brooklyn phenomenon. It's run by upholsterer-designer Annie Evelyn, an accomplished designer who's a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, and has film set design creds too (she worked on Beasts of the Southern Wild).
Among her creations is an inventive line of chairs that play with materials in surprising ways. Shown in the photo is one of several New Colony chairs that's soft and relaxing to sit in, yet made of materials one thinks of as hard and unforgiving: concrete, metal, aluminum crystals and cork. The work is sly, gently challenging one's assumptions about the physical world.
The chairs start at about $1,300.
Annie's comes from a proud line of "makers." Her grandfather ran a furniture company called Colony Furniture, hence her own is called New Colony Furniture.
Contact: New Colony Furniture, (401) 439... 0676
08 of 08
"Factory Floor" Furniture Show in Industry City, Sunset Park, Brooklyn
The Factory Floor Furniture market in which the afore-going goods were displayed took place on October 10-27 2013, in partnership with Design Within Reach and BKLYN Designs. Dozens of artists, makers, and talented woodworkers were represented. Here's the list
Furniture Makers and Designers in the 2013 Factory Floor Furniture Market show include:
- Roll & Hill at http://www.rollandhill.com/
- Lights Up at http://www.lightsup.info/
- behold at www.bholddesign.com
- Juniper Design Group Inc. www.juniper-design.com/
- Christophe Pourny Ltd. at http://www.christophepourny.com/
- Alexandra Ferguson at http://www.alexandraferguson.com/
- Ethan Abramson at http://ethanabramson.com/
- Colleen & Eric: A Design Duo at http://colleenanderic.com/Projects
- Lamina at www.LaminaNYC.com
- Pickett Furniture at http://www.pickettfurniture.com/
- 4korners at http://www.4kny.com