written by:
May 22, 2012

"Reinvention; Writing History in Aluminum" showcases a collaborative exhibition of New York's AM with Neal Feay Studio of Santa Barbara, Calif. during the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF).

Bobby Berk home, New York, Design Milk
Bobby Berk home, location of Design Milk Presents: Reinvention; Writing History in Aluminum.
Courtesy of 
Kate Glicksberg for Design Milk
1 / 13
Timber Side Table at Design Milk ICFF Event
The majority of the pieces in the collection are informed by conversations between the designers and by their own personal narratives. The AM team's upbringing surrounded by nature forms the basis for the story behind "Timber." Says Ascalon: "There used to be a lot of trees and everything is now clear cut, with strip malls and big box stores. But when the economy tanks and these stores go under, there's the phenomenon of the grass creeping back up in the parking lot." Visually, the piece is meant to look like a stretched Glad bag, yet this tension is created not by casting or brute force but by chipping away at a solid piece of metal.
Courtesy of 
Kate Glicksberg for Design Milk
2 / 13
Aluminum shavings
Aluminum shavings from the milling process, a method referred to at Neal Feay as "throwing chips."
Courtesy of 
Sara Dierck
3 / 13
Green Turntable Slatted Table
The experimentation and technical capabilities of Neal Feay’s factory inspired the designers. "When I got to the factory my brain was churning immediately," Ascalon says. A nod to Neal Feay's claim of "Making Music from Metal," this side table - in green and grey - provides a playful visual surprise when one walks around it.
Courtesy of 
Sara Dierck
4 / 13
Set of Bonnie bracelets
Post WWII, Neal Feay Company created personalized bracelets for retailers such as Neiman Marcus. On a visit to Neal Feay, Ascalon and McSwain found an example of this era of the company's history: A bracelet engraved with the name Bonnie. Brad Ascalon holds their homage to both this discovery and to a part of the company's history: a set of 16 bracelets named “Bonnie.”
Courtesy of 
Sara Dierck
5 / 13
Bonnie bracelet bangle
Each singular bangle is unique, allowing customization by the one who wears and layers the "Bonnie" bracelets.
Courtesy of 
Kate Glicksberg for Design Milk
6 / 13
Menorah by Brad Aschalon
The anodizing process is key in creating not just a vibrant color, but a durable finish. Alex Rasmussen explained that anodizing takes best to milled rather than cast aluminum. "This is inherently not a super high production method,” he says. The dipping method of anodizing allows for bright, saturated color through multiple passes, or subtle details, such as the slight fade from grey to black in the rear "Menorah" piece.Designed by Brad Ascalon for Design Within Reach, and reinterpreted by Neal Feay Studio.
Courtesy of 
Kate Glicksberg for Design Milk
7 / 13
Achilles shoe horns
"The only thing that doesn't have a story is the shoe horn,” Ascalon says. “Frederick and I wanted to design a sexy shoe horn because there are no sexy shoe horns. As we thought about it we realized there is a story there, because sometimes we just want to stylize something. So we called it Achilles."
Courtesy of 
Sara Dierck
8 / 13
Lumen multi-colored vase
With "Lumen," "vice and virtue" are illustrated through a combination of the elements of earth, water, air and fire.
Courtesy of 
Sara Dierck
9 / 13
Lift detail by Frederick McSwain for Neal Frey Studio
The advanced milling process at Neal Feay creates opportunities for fine textural details. A limited edition piece designed by Frederick McSwain.
Courtesy of 
Sara Dierck
10 / 13
Henge deconstructed fruit bowl
“Henge,” a deconstructed fruit bowl.
Courtesy of 
Kate Glicksberg for Design Milk
11 / 13
Uluwatu hanging pendant
Light plays on the texture of the pattern of "Uluwatu," creating a glass-like optical illusion. “We do a lot of experimenting before we have any idea what project it’ll go to,” Rasmussen says. “Part of it is about texture and material. We’re always collaborating.”
Courtesy of 
Sara Dierck
12 / 13
Stumpstool by Neal Feay
Wooden legs appear to press through the aluminum; or, as McSwain puts it: "Nature is trying to reclaim that surface.” How this concept's physical presence was accomplished by the Neal Feay team is its own story. "We had these ideas about how the textures could only be here. Bret (of Neal Feay Studio) is basically the guy who made it happen." "The challenge was being able to make it, but honoring the concept," Bret Van Derhyden said.
Courtesy of 
Sara Dierck
13 / 13
Bobby Berk home, New York, Design Milk
Bobby Berk home, location of Design Milk Presents: Reinvention; Writing History in Aluminum.

Collaboration, narrative and the versatility of a singular material are highlighted with a new set of furniture, tableware and other objects created by New York-based AM (Brad Ascalon and Frederick McSwain) with Neal Feay Studio of Santa Barbara, Calif. Design Milk and Bobby Berk home are showcasing the collection with the exhibition "Reinvention; Writing History in Aluminum," which opened during the International Contemporary Furniture Fair.

Ascalon, McSwain and Alex Rasmussen of Neal Feay express the importance of the story behind each piece, as well as the advanced technical skill and holistic approach offered by the third generation aluminum manufacturer, best known for high end audio production and design. Each of these stories - be they whimsical or referential - is supported by form, texture, color and a diversity of objects (shoe horns sat on a pedestal adjacent to a fruit bowl, for example).

Neal Feay Company handles all steps in the manufacturing process: Each piece is milled from a solid block of aluminum and anodized in house. The production process from raw aluminum to finished product, as well as the back and forth process of communication between AM and Neal Feay Studio, add an additional story to each piece and provide a unique opportunity of exploration for both designer and manufacturer.

"Reinvention" is on view at Bobby Berk, 59 Crosby Street in New York City, through May 27th.

*all pieces are part of the “Reinvention” collection and designed by AM in collaboration with Neal Feay Studio, unless noted.

Don't miss a word of Dwell! Download our FREE app from iTunes, friend us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter!

Join the Discussion

Loading comments...

Latest Articles

in the mix antwerp belgium warehouse renovation live work space lounge area cushions dining table kitchenette borge mogensen cabinets
An artist and an architect build their home, studios, and an exhibition space inside an Antwerp warehouse.
February 13, 2016
senses sight products kinetic wire sculpture alexander calder mobile
A phenomenon of light and visual perception, colors signal a language of their own.
February 13, 2016
beach weathered seaside retreat sagaponack new york pine walls aluminum furniture
Balancing texture, proportion, and found objects lends unexpected sophistication to a seaside retreat.
February 13, 2016
Concrete floor, white walls, Bend sectional sofa, Metropolitan chair by B&B Italia, and Arper pouf in living room of Rhode Island family vacation home by Bernheimer Architecture.
Create comfortable areas to lounge, sit, eat, and entertain with these designs.
February 12, 2016
São Paulo apartment dining room with local wood floors and HAY chairs
From concrete to wood, these South American homes enjoy nature inside and out.
February 12, 2016
Custom cabinetry and trim in Chicago apartment renovation.
The Second City is second to none when it comes to inventive modern architecture, from Louis Sullivan to the present day.
February 12, 2016
Kitchen of 1956 midcentury modern Palm Springs home.
Celebrate Palm Springs Modernism Week, which runs from February 11–21, with a look at some of our favorite modern desert oases.
February 12, 2016
Gustav bicycle by Coh&Co
Designmuseum Danmark unveils a permanent collection highlighting new developments in Danish design.
February 12, 2016
A Seattle studio's courtyard
Every week, we highlight one amazing Dwell home that went viral on Pinterest. Follow Dwell's Pinterest account for more daily design inspiration.
February 12, 2016
Chalet in the French alps
An innovative glass addition adds contrast to a timber mountain lodge in France.
February 11, 2016
Aumas' assorted collectables.
Bright colors and vintage furniture are abound in these French homes.
February 11, 2016
Kogan designed a number of the built-in furnishings, including the headboard and cupboard in the master bedroom.The cupboard is deliberately reminiscent of a mid-century stereo speaker. The vintage lounge chairs are by Percival Lafer.
Need to relax? Make your bedroom an oasis from the rest of the house.
February 11, 2016
Modern Florida seaside home with corian island, dornbracht faucet, cees braakman combex chairs and marble knoll table in the kitchen
Read more about Knoll's impressive career here, but in the meantime, explore just a few of her works in these contemporary homes.
February 11, 2016
Modern small box home in Mexico
Letting the warm climate indoors is a common thread through these diverse dwellings.
February 11, 2016
Modern white cabinets under the stairs with skylight above
What could be better than a modest-sized house in a quaintly historic city?
February 11, 2016
dining room lighting
These renovations connect rustic, classic, and modern design in Italy.
February 10, 2016
12362509 211441865858796 1743381178 n1
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most viral design and architecture shots of the week.
February 10, 2016
modern outdoor garden room plastic polycarbonate
From colorful living rooms to a backyard retreat, Belgian designers reimagine vernacular forms and materials for the modern world.
February 10, 2016
Tel Aviv kitchen with custom dining table and Smeg fridge
Would you go for an out-of-the-box palette for your major appliances? See how these kitchens tackle the trend.
February 10, 2016
Exhibition view, of Klaus Wittkugel works at P! gallery, New York
On view through February 21 at New York's P! gallery, a new show explores the politics of Cold War-era graphic design with a presentation of works by Klaus Wittkugel—East Germany's most prolific graphic designer. Curator Prem Krishnamurthy walks us through the highlights.
February 10, 2016
Reclaimed cedar and gray-stucco home outside San Francisco.
The new kid on the block in a predominantly Eichler neighborhood, this Menlo Park home breaks the mold and divides into three pavilions connected by breezeways.
February 10, 2016
A third floor addition and whole-house renovation modernized a funky cottage on an unusual, triple-wide lot in San Francisco.
From modern interiors hidden within historic structures to unabashedly modern dwellings, these seven renovations take totally different approaches to San Francisco's historic building stock.
February 10, 2016
Delphi sofa from Erik Jørgensen and gyrofocus fireplace in living room of Villa Le Trident in the French Riviera, renovated by 4a Architekten.
The Aegean's all-white architecture famously helped inspire Le Corbusier; these five dwellings continue in that proud modern tradition (though not all are as minimalist).
February 10, 2016
San Francisco dining room with chandelier and Eames shell chairs
Brooklyn-based RBW's work—from diminutive sconces to large floor lamps—shape these five interiors.
February 09, 2016
Glass-fronted converted garage in Washington
These garages go behind parking cars and storing your drum sets.
February 09, 2016
Modern Texas home office with sliding walls, behr black chalkboard paint, concrete walls, and white oak flooring
From appropriated nooks to glass-encased rooms, each of these modern offices works a unique angle.
February 09, 2016
picnic-style table in renovated San Francisco house
From chandeliers to pendants, these designs make the dining room the most entertaining space in the house.
February 09, 2016
Midcentury house in Portland with iron colored facade and gold front door
From preserved masterworks to carefully updated time capsules, these homes have one thing in common (other than a healthy appreciation for everything Eames): the conviction that the '40s, '50s, and '60s were the most outstanding moments in American architecture.
February 09, 2016
Modern living room with furniture designed by Ludovica + Roberto Palomba
These oases by the sea, many done up in white, make stunning escapes.
February 08, 2016
A Philippe Starck standing lamp and an Eames chaise longue bracket the living room; two Lawrence Weiner prints hang behind a pair of Warren Platner chairs and a table purchased from a River Oaks estate sale; at far left of the room, a partial wall of new
Texas might have a big reputation, but these homes show the variety of shapes and sizes in the Lone Star State.
February 08, 2016