Stand clear of the closing drawers! For the New York furniture aficionado, inspiration is just a subway stop away. The five boroughs are teeming with talented woodworkers, each pursuing their humble craft in the big bad city. And if they can make it here, they can make it anywhere right?
Despite the prevailing stereotype, woodworkers aren’t all bearded hobbits hiding out in the woods — there's the occasional clean-cut urban exception. (Granted, I recently fled Brooklyn to build my workshop in rural Connecticut…and haven’t shaved since.) Many woodworkers do indeed go off the grid, viewing the aggressive pace of the city as antithetical to their quiet craft. But the following makers would beg to differ.
City Joinery – This Dumbo-based crew creates incredibly thoughtful, technically complex furniture. The “Hewn Chair” pictured above exemplifies their sophisticated aesthetic.
Palo Samko – It’s difficult to pull off such playful yet elegant furniture. Incorporating round drawers and discarded timepiece parts, Palo surprises and delights like no other maker I know.
Atelier Viollet – Jean-Paul Viollet continues a century old family tradition for fine furniture making. He utilizes endangered techniques like straw marquetry and shagreen (the use of stingray skin?!) to create his luxury Art Deco look.
Wud Furniture Design – The brainchild of Brooklyn designer Corey Springer, Wud produces clean, contemporary style furnishings. Pieces like this media cabinet showcase the wood’s gorgeous natural figure.
Vladimir Kagan – Kagan is a living legend on the New York furniture scene. His artful mid-century modern chairs and couches have maintained a cult following for sixty years. And rightfully so, they’re simple, chic and totally original.
And now I turn to you, readers. Who are some of your favorite New York-based furniture makers?
Johnny is currently blogging his experience as an amateur woodworker. You can keep track of his projects on his blog, Woodlearner.