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Metropolis
Brooklyn's Own
March 2008
Eva Hagberg
Far from the maddening crowds of the contemporary furniture scene, a small group of inrepid designers is sprouting like trees in brooklyn. Aesthetically, they're all over the map. Scrapile(from green point) is known for the pun it's named after: a scrap pile of locally sourced wood that designers Bart Bettencourt and carlos Salgado turn into a building material; each block incorporates everything from walnut to plywood and is then processed through a labor-intensive layering method. Uhuru, founded by Bill Hilgendorf and Jason Horvath, offers a line of sleek, multimaterial pieces, all of which, if viewed through a larger lense, are just as sustainable.
     
Those firms got started about four years ago, and they join the older guard Elucidesign, founded in 2001, and City Joinery, which set up shop in 1996. Elucidesign's Redpoint collection is a beautifully spare series of pared-down pieces; City Joinery's range and look is broader and heavier.
     These firms may not share a look. but they do share a sensibility shaped by their size scale and voluntary outsider status in the design world. "We're in this straddling position," City Joinery's Jonah Zuckerman says. "We care alot about design, but we also care alot about craft." Horvath brings up a simular tension: "We don't want to be this big furniture company that does production overseas, but we don't want to just be building furniture in Red Hook." He shouldn't worry too much. His company and his compatriots are part of a new phenomenon- the rise of the artisan designer, Brooklyn division.
Copyright © 2008 Jason Horvath. All rights reserved.