Open Studios at City Modern

Open Studios at City Modern

By Emily Nonko
Thirteen Brooklyn design studios—with locations ranging from Red Hook to the Navy Yard to Bushwick, and practices varying from furniture design to brand consulting to woodworking—opened their doors to the public as part of City Modern on Tuesday. The Brooklyn design culture has proved collaborative and supportive for many of the people whose work was featured. Needless to say, we spied exciting, innovative pieces in spaces to match during the event.

Highlights of the tour included Egg Collective, three friends from college who have been in business for one year and focus on woodwork. Their showroom is only a few floors down from their workspace, located in a large industrial building in a still-industrial neighborhood of Brooklyn. Up north in Greenpoint, the design team Chen Chen and Kai Williams showed off their CNC machine. (Rumor has it that it's the largest in the borough.) Also in the neighborhood, designer Francois Chambard took visitors back to see a year's worth of work: a slick-looking, state-of-the-art, custom console for a recording studio. Environmentally conscious designer Daniel Michalik is exploring all the uses of cork up at his Bushwick studio, DMFD. He works out of a shared space full of like-minded artists and designers. Richard Velloso—a former ad man who now crafts furniture primarily in steel and wood—showed off his new Olga Guanabara showroom and workspace in DUMBO, which he just moved into over the summer.

Egg's new showroom. The business is only one year old and their showroom is a very recent addition. The three women work primarily in wood, fully on display here.

City Modern events continue throughout the week, culminating in house tours in Manhattan and Brooklyn on Saturday and Sunday.

A little more than half off Egg's work goes out to New York City-based clients.

The three women of Egg stand in the background. They come from backgrounds in woodwork, architecture, sculpture, and urban planning. After meeting in college they came together years later to form the business.

Stephanie Beamer does most of the woodworking in their shop just a few floors up from the studio.

Designer Richard Velloso has been in this space since July after relocating from a more retail-centric space also in DUMBO. This is now his showroom and workspace and he lives right across the street.

Velloso works primarily in steel and wood. A table like this is made of 246 steel bars welded together and takes him about three weeks to complete.

Velloso worked in advertising before deciding to devote his time to furniture design.

Another shot of Velloso's studio, called "Olga Guanabara." The name comes from Velloso's dog, Olga, and the Guanabara Bay in Rio de Janeiro where she was born.

Todd Bracher is an industrial designer that not only creates phenomenal products but also seeks to solve problems through functional design for his clients (which include 3M). An old advisor of his from Pratt set him up with this space in the Brooklyn Navy Yard in 2007.

Ninety-nine percent of the work Bracher does here is globally based. The studio works with remote clients on creative direction and brand building. There are only two other employees working for him: "We like to keep it small, and focus on a limited number of projects," Bracher explains.

The gentlemen of Fort Standard work in a community space in Red Hook to produce wooden and metal tables and a variety of other products such as bottle openers, canisters, wooden blocks, bracelets, and belt buckles.

Chen Chen and Kai Williams met at Pratt studying industrial design, but it wasn't until 2011 they decided to form a design studio. Their work focuses on playful but natural designs. Here, Chen shows studio tour visitors a selection of their "lunch meat" coasters. A variety of materials melded together into a round form and slices are cut to become coasters.

A traditional Chinese bench gets the Chen and Kai treatment with abalone inlays masking the hardware.

The much talked about enormous CNC machine (rumor has it the largest in Brooklyn) was reason enough for a visit

A stack of circular tops lay in wait for their futures as colorful milking stools.

UM designer Francois Chambard shows off a year's worth of work: a sleek, state-of-the-art, custom console for The Motherbrain, a recording studio in Brooklyn.

Luxury furniture brand Hellman Chang is well known around the borough of Brooklyn and beyond. Here, Eric Chang presents a soon-to-be polished Z table. Each leg of the table is shaped by hand in Brooklyn, resulting in an arresting sculptural piece.

Here's a coffee table mid-production. Each Hellman Chang piece is numbered and tracked by the company, making it easy to match future pieces for clients.

DMFD's office is set off of a shared working space. DMFV focuses on environmentally sustainable furniture and object design. Designer Daniel Michalik's favored medium is cork, which he sources from sustainably managed forests.

A collection of tabletop items designed by Daniel. The candle stands are made from leftovers from the production of wine bottle corks.

Daniel's latest work is a foray into lighting. The found-wood vessels stay true to the thread of sustainability found throughout his work.

Alex Mustonen, one half of the Snarkitecture duo, explains details of installations both past and future (including their recently announced inflatable canopy entrance at this year's Design Miami). Snarkitecture is in the businesses of looking for, or creating, the unexpected in architectural design.

With most of their work and studio in all white, Snarkitecture wins the award for cleanest studio.

Which came first, the name or the space? hOmE's studio is just that —a home. Brothers Oliver and Evan Haselgrave moved into the raw space a little over three years ago and transformed it into a rustic area to live and work. They focus on interiors, furniture, and lighting and have designed many well-known spaces in Brooklyn, including the Paulie Gee's restaurant and Manhattan Inn.

hOmE's workspace within the studio.


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