Modern Across America: Charleston, South Carolina

In our Modern Across America issue, we spotlighted five American cities with design scenes worth watching. Known in part for its well-preserved architecture, Charleston is making a new name for itself as a modern craft and design hub. Here are some of our favorite of the city's projects from the Dwell archives.

Population 125,600

In Charleston, South Carolina, reigning style dictates an appreciation for deep porches, painted wood, and 19th-century antiques. For designers Helen Rice and Josh Nissenboim, merging regional roots with a sharply honed aesthetic to create their home proved a worthy challenge. Photo by Daniel Shea.

Architectural Claim to Fame In a city known for its classic houses, the contemporary Spaulding Paolozzi Center by Allied Works Architecture of Portland and New York and local firm E.E. Fava Architects, Etc. is on the boards after an earlier building attempt by Clemson University was derailed by preservationists.

Nissenboim and Rice’s design firm, Fuzzco, is headquartered in a 1,200-square-foot building just down the street. Photo by Daniel Shea.

Retail Therapy The Pretend Store, a pop-up with a rotating roster of local and international designers

Stephen Yablon Architect reimagined the stilt-house typology in this cutting-edge modern addition to a home in Sullivan's Island, South Carolina, a beach community 10 miles outside of Charleston. Photo by Michael Moran.

Firm to Watch Brooks Reitz and Tim Mink, of hospitality design firm Neighbourhood, have developed restaurant concepts like Poe’s Tavern, inspired by Edgar Allen Poe’s time on Sullivan’s Island, and Monza, a Neapolitan pizzeria. 

When Michael James Moran, of Moran Woodworked Furniture, begins a new piece in his Charleston wood shop and studio, he first salvages a fallen tree, then takes it to a local mill, cures the planks on-site, builds the furniture, and even helps his clients install the finished product. Photo by Nathaniel Wood.


Overseas production can be crippling for American companies specializing in handcrafted goods, but in Charleston, a port city with a strong craft tradition, The Urban Electric Company has learned how to combine highly specific custom pieces with off-the-shelf hardware and accessories.

In a city filled with culinary hotspots, Charleston's Husk is in a class of its own. Eschewing the crisp white of haute cuisine standby Limoges porcelain, the restaurant’s muted, weighty ceramics were done locally by design duo Chip Burr and Fiorenzo Berardozzi.


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