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Stephen Burks


Born in Chicago in 1969, Stephen Burks has become one of American’s preeminent industrials designers. He studied architecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology and product at the university’s Institute of Design and attended Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture before founding Readymade Projects in 1997 and becoming the first African American designer to work with Boffi, Calvin Klein, Cappellini, Estee Lauder, and Missoni. Burks has not been selfish with his success, though. He has worked as a design consultant for Aid to Artisans and the Nature Conservancy as well as produced a collection for Artecnica’s Design for a Conscious line.


modern furniture design earth tones dedon ahnda chair stephen burks

Ahnda chair

Latticed red, orange, and brown textile cord make up the sides and back of the indoor-outdoor lounge chair.

Circus, 3 Shelves by Stephen Burks for Mattermade made in Brooklyn, New York

Circus, 3 Shelves

At Mattermade, nothing is more important than capturing the exact specifics of a design, which means that the best results are achieved without the use of machines. An actual person bends and welds the steel cages that support the Circus shelves, and the rift-cut, Forest Stewardship Coucil–certified oak is also finished by hand. Here, production methods never alter a design; instead they steadfastly serve it.

convex concave

Convex Concave

Wong once decked out a Parisian shop window with clever diamond-inspired designs. Burks opted for fragmented reflections from this faceted steel objet.