Made in America 2020: The Most Innovative Products and Makers Across the Country

Made in America 2020: The Most Innovative Products and Makers Across the Country

By Dwell
Our annual look at the latest U.S.-made objects for your home features everything from dinner plates to windows—and the people who make them.

American designers and artists have shown remarkable resiliency in the face of this year’s challenges. We celebrate some of our favorite brands—and the people behind them—with our annual "Made in America" series. Check out the interviews below, and don’t miss our roundup of products spanning dinnerware, furniture, office accessories, window treatments, and more.

Jason Bauer of Fort Makers

Location: New York, New York | @fortmakers

Jason Bauer of the New York-based studio Fort Makers creates hand-blown glass objects, including bowls and cups in ombre colors.

"We’ve been making our glasswork at UrbanGlass in Brooklyn since it opened its new studios in 2013," says Bauer. "Right now, we’re making a Sunrise Sunset cup. It’s a 12-ounce drinking glass that features a fade from an intense color density to near transparency. Well, it’s actually a reverse fade, so you have to make the gradient first and then make a separate cup that you stuff the colored glass into—you can’t really replicate that with a machine. Then we add a solid orb on the side that creates a subtle indentation in the cup and also acts as a grip, or holder."

Bauer with fellow designer Romina Gonzales.

"We designed them to be kind of Surrealist cups. So the orb on the side has this nice optic quality that creates a kind of lens. They were meant to evoke a point where the water and sky meet and there is not much visual distinction between them. That’s why we called them Sunrise Sunset—because they could be both or either, simultaneously or independently."

The Table’s All Set

Your dinner parties may be limited these days, but that doesn’t mean you can’t dress them up with design-forward tableware.

The Sunrise Sunset cup by Jason Bauer and Romina Gonzales

Jamil Harrison at his studio in Greenville, South Carolina.

"I’m from Anderson, South Carolina, born and raised," says Harrison. "I studied architecture and got a job as a courier at a design studio, where I was always behind the scenes watching, listening, asking questions. I went on to work at a high-end residential design firm in Charlotte, but I always felt something was missing. I wanted to be more hands-on, which landed me in custom furniture design."

"Every piece I make has intention behind it," explains Harrison.

"My brain is constantly churning and trying to find a different way to do things, which can be maddening at times," he adds. "But it all works itself out through the process, bringing the idea to the hand and figuring it out." 

"Everyone who engages with my work has a different experience. I hope there’s a little bit of complexity in every piece I make. Whenever someone gets a piece, there is some blood and sweat, some tears and sacrifice, that went into it. I hope all that energy resonates for whoever gets to enjoy it."

Make It Work (From Home)

Has your home office been working overtime? It’s time to give it a promotion.

After months of working at home, are you ready to spice up your home office? Check out this catchall designed by Santa Fe–based ceramic artist Jennie Johnsrud—and more of our favorite U.S.-made desk accessories for 2020.

Paulette Jones checks the quality of the sewing and fabric for an Anthony chair at the Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams factory in Taylorsville, North Carolina. 

"People can tell this is a well-made piece from the first time they see it and sit in it," says Jones, who has worked for the company for 19 years. "This is the furniture I have in my own home, and I’ve furnished both of my daughters’ homes as well. The quality of the work reflects who we are."

Others working at the Taylorsville factory, which is located in the heart of North Carolina's historic furniture-making region.

Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams chair and sofa frames awaiting further fabrication.

Even Less Than an EKTORP

You don’t need to break the bank to bring American-made products into your home. Everything on this list costs less than some of its big-chain counterparts.

You can stock your home with affordable, American-made furniture and objects—like these vibrantly colored stools by Miami’s AMLgMATD. Don't miss our full list of 2020's best budget-friendly items crafted in the USA.

Click here for the full list.

Phantila Phataraprasit of Sabai

New York City and High Point, North Carolina | @sabai.design

Phantila Phataraprasit of New York-based furniture company Sabai looking at fabric with Carlos Montenegro from M&M Custom Upholstery Design, the maker in High Point, North Carolina.

"We started Sabai in the summer of 2018 and launched our first line of sustainable but affordable seating products the next year with a sofa, an ottoman, and a sectional," says Phataraprasit. "We’re based in New York, but all our furniture is made by M&M Custom Upholstery Design here in High Point."

Phantila Phataraprasit

"I handle mostly product design, and one of our goals was to make furniture that is convenient. That meant it had to be flat-packed and easily assembled and disassembled—and eventually recycled—but also look like a cohesive product."

Another Sabai craftsperson upholstering a cushion.

"Beyond that, we wanted to create something that had clean lines, was relatively modern, and could work in most homes. We use as little glue or chemicals as possible. There are high-end products that are more sustainable than ours, but they’re not accessible for people who are young or on a budget. We wanted to bring sustainable design to that demographic."

At Your Doorstep

A new generation of companies has turned direct-to-consumer furniture into an outlet for well-made original design.

The Essential Sectional by Sabai is one of several direct-to-consumer (DTC) furniture pieces we highlighted in this year's Made in America series.

Duane Lislegard working on Skycove, a pre-assembled window seat, at the Marvin factory in Warroad, Minnesota.

"Before I joined, I did my research about how the company does business and how they treat their employees," says Shade. "I found out it is a family-owned company and a people-oriented company. I really dig that. This is called Skycove—a pre-assembled window seat that’s not just a window, it’s a structure. It lets you add square footage to your home without building extra sticks."

Another craftsperson assembles a Marvin window.

"In our Modern department, we do all the prep work for the metal and for all the high-density fiberglass. Then those parts get put on a pit cart, delivered to the assembly line, and manually put together."

An overhead view of the Marvin factory in Warroad.

"Everyone who works on the line, they put their heart and soul into every window that’s made, and they know it’s made for a person and not just for a structure. It’s not even made for one person—it’s made for the next person who owns the house, too. Nowadays everything’s disposable, and we don’t do disposable. We build these to last."


In Plain Sight

Whether you’re taking on a renovation or just tired of the same old walls, U.S.-made window systems, shades, and wallpaper will improve your view.

If your walls or windows are ready for an upgrade, don't miss our list of U.S.-made window systems, shades, and wallpaper—including this selection from Tempaper's peel-and-stick wallpaper collection, made in New Jersey and Florida.

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