Moving Parts: Brooklyn Furnishings Design at The Factory Floor

SMALL, MEDIUM, AND LARGE: Otherwise, it’s hard to categorize the ingenious designs of Brooklyn makers at The Factory Floor in Industry City in the recent two-weekend show. But starting small, Brooklyn Artisan will do our best, for the record.

Small batch, small scale, big thinking at bhold design: Product development under the eye of Susan Taing, founder, takes certain characteristics from the MakerBot desktop 3D printer used to produce prototypes in the bhold lab. Double-walled thermal saki cups, for instance, with little fingerholds on one side.

Using the MakerBot 3D desktop printer, b-hold can turn around and refine prototypes in a few hours that might take days in traditional development cycles.

Using the MakerBot 3D desktop printer, bhold labs can turn around and refine prototypes in a few hours that might take days in traditional development cycles. (Photo: Brooklyn Artisan Photo Pool/dfs)

Or—our favorite, above—colorful little two-tone, two-piece objects that separate: the outer C-shape that hangs on the restaurant table and holds your bag or helmet by its handle or chin strap; and the inner part that emerges to wind and store your earbuds tangle free. You can work with the bhold labs on your own designs; contact susan@bholddesign.com. Or like us, you can just stand at a design show and play with the appealing objects fitting them together and taking them apart over and over again as minutes tick by. 

Founder/owner Mark Righter crafted sliding shelves that don't tip, thanks to the sliding dovetail joint.

Founder/owner Mark Righter crafted sliding shelves that don’t tip, thanks to the sliding dovetail joint. (Brooklyn Artisan Photo Pool/ams)

Small detail, big advantage: Cambium Studio is a Brooklyn-based woodworking furniture and design company founded by Mark Righter. From its Greenpoint location, Cambium will create custom designs for clients, and on its website offers a portfolio of pieces of its own design.

Talking shop with a potential client, Cambium Studio's founder Mark Righter, with coffee, is next to his shelves with sliding dovetails. (Brooklyn Artisan Photo Pool/ams)

Talking shop with a potential client, Cambium Studio’s founder Mark Righter, with coffee, is next to his shelves with sliding dovetails. (Brooklyn Artisan Photo Pool/ams)

What caught our eye at The Factory Floor was deceptively simple but elegant shelving for display of favorite small objects—a place to put the candles, the Japanese vase, the framed photo—that can be adjusted as the array of objects changes. How?

The framework is hung from a secure cleat on the wall, but individual shelves operate on a sliding dovetail joint. The shelves, using bamboo, are beautiful finished and the sliding function gives you an excellent excuse to pat them and fiddle with them for the pleasure of touch.

Then there’s the MidCentury-looking coffee table with lift up hinged covers on its four storage compartments. Three of the covers are in a 60s’s orange and one is in bamboo strip laminate. Fittingly it is named Mod Quad by Wonk, its maker.

David Gotl lifts the four cubby covers of the streamlined coffee table,

David Gotl lifts the four cubby covers of the streamlined coffee table,

Other combinations of finishes to suit individual clients are possible, Wonk’s website says.  In fact, since each piece is custom-made for you, you are confronted with swatches and urged to pick from them. Takeaway notion? Wonk if you love finishes.

The laminate frame holds the cushions in place; upholstery fits cushions closely.

Pratt grad’s design: The laminate frame holds the cushions; upholstery fits cushions closely.

Change the color statement (or hide the pizza drippings) at will.

Change the color statement (or hide the pizza drippings) at will.

Along with others, Pratt Institute was a co-sponsor of the design show at The Factory Floor.  At the Pratt Industrial Design booth—Pratt Institute is, by the way, based in Brooklyn—Brooklyn Artisan was engaged by a very clean-lined yet comfortable loveseat. The foam cushions made it quite sittable. And as its Pratt graduate designer demonstrated, the cushions can be flipped to your choice of color contrasts.

More coverage from the recent Brooklyn design show at The Factory Floor in Industry City, Sunset Park, is to come in the next few days. For Brooklyn Artisan’s prior coverage, follow these links:

Overview by Bruce A. Campbell

Alexandra Ferguson: Done is Better

Sleeping on The Factory Floor

The Art of Sleeping on The Factory Floor

Materia Designs's centerpiece was made of reclaimed chestnut.

Materia Designs’s centerpiece was made of reclaimed chestnut.

AT THE BROOKLYN DESIGN SHOW LAST WEEKEND this beautiful bed was practically a show-stopper for Brooklyn Artisan: We wanted to kick off our boots and lie right down in the calm surround of the Materia Designs booth. Manners prevailed, however, so remaining upright, we talked with owner/designer and craftsman Matthew Enser of Materia Designs.

The accents of black metal wrapping the bedposts made of reclaimed chestnut added a touch of elegance to the spare design with its handsomely mortised lattice headboard. The booth also showed good-looking three legged lamps, a sweet rocking horse, some chairs, an eye-catching striped storage bench, and more. A beautiful complement were the graphic textiles selected and/or designed by Megan Sommerville, Matthew’s partner. The confident metal zippers on the reading pillows came off looking industrially chic rather than scratchy or snaggy.

So…Kerhonkson?, we asked (thinking, Bless you!). Right outside of Kingston, he said, a little ways up the Hudson. Not Brooklyn?, we pushed. “Oh, Materia Designs used to be in Brooklyn,” Matthew assured us, “we love Brooklyn.” Before Brooklyn Artisan could probe about whether cost was a factor in the move, Ensner explained: “We were driving up that way, and—well, we fell in love with a big barn.” Enough said.

More Brooklyn Artisan coverage of the recent show: Alexandra Ferguson profile and The Factory Floor: Meet the Makers, overview by Bruce A. Campbell.  The Factory Floor is part of artisan-friendly Industry City within the Bush Terminal complex in Sunset City, Brooklyn.

Chalk It Up: A Romantic Notion for Autumn

Seen outside of Poppy at 217 Fifth Avenue in Park Slope. (Brooklyn Artisan Photo Pool).

Seen outside of Poppy at 217 Fifth Avenue in Park Slope. (Brooklyn Artisan Photo Pool).

13 Ways of Looking at Some Fallen Leaves

The artists' collective gallery at 440 Sixth Avenue has a friendly, neighborhood feel.

The artists’-collective gallery at 440 Sixth Avenue has a friendly, neighborhood feel. (Photos: Brooklyn Artisan Photo Pool)

ROMANS BELIEVED IN GENIUS LOCI, the spirit of a place, and religious cults often sacrificed to their local genius or guardian spirit. Photographer Tom Bovo, whose current exhibit at the 440 Gallery is titled Genius Loci (described by the gallery as “portraying the spirit of autumnal locales”) notices the way each block or avenue of his native Brooklyn derives much of its visual aspect from the collection of plants growing there, the shapes and colors of the leaves and the patterns they make.

This haunting image does not depend on the typical blazing colors of fall .maple leaves

The power of this image does not depend on the blazing colors of typical fall maple leaves

Bovo’s view is not sentimental, and the 13 leaf photographs in this show are not about physicial perfection or Vermont Life-like brilliant colors. The prints of his digital photos are scaled up from the actual size—the images are larger-than-leaf, in other words —and they’re both technically interesting and visually compelling.

He had to work out how to photograph the rapidly drying and curling leaves.  Eventually he put the leaf (or leaves) between two panes of glass propped in a window and then “placed a sheet of white paper onto the back of the glass sandwich to diffuse the light” coming from behind them, the gallery notes explain. Some of the images are of torn, browning, imperfect leaves.

Three of the smaller images sold right away.

Three of the smaller images sold right away.

Tom Bovo studied painting and printmaking with a notable faculty at Columbia University and his own work has been show in galleries across the US, including the Rush Arts Gallery in New York and the Los Angeles Center for Digital Art.

The show is in place at the 440 Gallery until December 1.

SPECIAL KIDS EVENT AT THE GALLERY: On Sunday, November 10, gallery member Vicki Behm will hold a workshop for children 4 to 12 years old to look at Bovo’s photographs and then to draw their own images from actual leaves. What time? Ah, 4:40 in the afternoon, of course.

Chalk a Menu Idea for Your House

Chalkboard from Fleishers

(Brooklyn Artisan Photo Pool)

OF COURSE THE WEATHER TURNED FREAKISHLY WARM a few days after this sign was put out by Fleishers, the artisanal butcher on Fifth Avenue in Park Slope that specializes in grass fed, organic meats. But a timely menu suggestion has been made. Dust off the trusty stew pot or set out to acquire one, for chilly days will soon be here.

Chalking the World and a Stilton Cheese?

Don Stitt ChalksignTRAVEL THE WORLD AND THE SEVEN SEAS, EVERYBODY’S LOOKING FOR SOMETHING: Today it might be a cheese or a chalk sign that makes you laugh in spite of yourself!  After this, the Eurythmics’ song may never sound the same. (Photo thanks to Don Stitt)

Notes to Self (With a Nod to Bill Jones)

One might quibble about how "objective" the pep-talk is, but the Bill Jones motivational posters have clear messages.

One might quibble about how “objective” the pep talk is, but the Bill Jones motivational posters have clear messages.

 OFF MY MIND AND ONTO MY DESKTOP: One can relish the relief of listing tasks to be done tomorrow in order to  stop worrying about them tonight. Whether it’s on a piece of paper, in a file on the computer, or on a whiteboard in the corner, it’s good to leave the list at work when the day’s over. If it’s in an app on a mobile, best not to check it until tomorrow.

Off my desk and onto yours: Delegating has at least two forms. One is giving away the task and putting it completely out of mind, knowing the results will be apparent without further effort on your part. The other is assigning the task and expecting to follow up to be sure it gets done, to praise or nudge or redirect. In the second case, the task hasn’t really been given away, it’s just been transformed from one kind of task to another.

Off my list and out of my mind: It’s worth remembering that one form of prioritizing is not letting a task get onto one’s personal to-do list in the first place. If the list has gotten too long anyway, then decide which things not to do. Let go of them, at least for now. That keeps the list from being overwhelming.

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