When Hector Perez couldn't find the ideal mailbox to install outside of his Eichler in Oakland, California, he decided to make his own. "It was really born out of frustration," says Perez, a composer for Music Orange, of his foray into product design. "We couldn't find a mailbox for our modern home that was a simple, true, mimimalist design."
Perez's "aha" moment came when he and a friend drove past a mailbox outside of a Richard Neutra home in Los Angeles. He took elements of that design, a dose of Gerrit Reitveld (a favorite designer of his), and cobbled together a prototype in his garage using leftover sheet metal from a home improvement project. That was in 2008, and since then, Perez has made about 450 mailboxes for customers all across the country.
"It was entirely by word of mouth," Perez says of how the company got its start. "I made a few for my architect and designer friends and then they passed word along to their friends."
Though Perez is assisted by a small sheet metal shop, the Neutra Box is still handmade from locally sourced, upcycled sheet metal remnants, reclaimed mostly from outfits in Richmond, California. The box retails for $199.00 and is available in red and black. For more information and to order, please visit neutrabox.com.