Hand-Crafted Furniture and Accessories at BKLYN Designs

New York City’s month-long celebration of art and design includes the borough of Brooklyn, which held BKLYN Designs on the inaugural weekend of NYCXDESIGN.  Having become a hub for craftspeople and artisans, Brooklyn is a fitting site for a show of creativity and innovative design in furniture and home decor. Homedit perused the fair and founds lots of wood, imaginative reuse and a touch of new technology.

CAUV Design

The first grouping of gorgeous wood pieces was by CAUV design. Artisan Joe Cauvel creates custom designs for his clients using mainly sustainable hardwoods that he sources. Even better, for every piece he sells, he makes a donation to an organization that plants trees in forests that have been damaged. This is his beautiful “Cave” Credenza made of Shou sugi ban white oak, topography black walnut and blackened steel.

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The credenza has a steel inlay top.
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The perforated grill is also made from steel.

Cauvel has also begun creating art pieces from the materials he uses, such as this piece that includes wood, metal and concrete.

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It’s a modern and minimalist piece of art.

Christopher White Designs

Belgian-born and trained designer Christopher White is a classically trained woodworker who derives inspiration from natural beauty. His pieces exhibit a skill that allows the wood’s beauty to take center stage. White’s dining chair is made from several types of wood and traditional mortise and tenon joints.

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The inlaid stripe is particularly nice.

Called a laptop desk, but a perfect desk for smaller spaces no matter how you use it, it features three different types of wood: walnut, birds eye maple, and zebra wood.

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Tapered legs are capped off with contrasting wood.

Live edge furniture is always cool, but White’s Tree Slice Coffee table is extra special thanks to the joinery. The sections of the salvaged slice are held together with threaded steel rods, which provide an industrial contrast to the natural wood piece.

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Hairpin legs add a modern touch.
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A closer look at the steel rods.

Enitan Vintage

These grand pieces by Enitan Vintage are refashioned vintage pieces upholstered in vibrant African textiles. All the pieces the company produces are inspired by founder Gbenga Akinnagbe’s heritage and travels across the globe. In the Yoruba culture of Nigeria, where his family comes from, the word Enitan means “person of story.” In fact, the company’s website says, “Sit on a Story.” He has found his passion combining the vintage frames of furniture with these unexpected fabrics.

Akinnagbe’s name will be familiar to fans of the HBO series, “The Wire,” in which he played the murderous bodyguard of a drug dealer.

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This Louis the XVth settee takes on a different character upholstered in the graphic fabric.
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A mix of patterns makes a historic framework bright and modern.
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A formal dining chair becomes less stuffy with bright upholstery.

Frederick Tang Architecture

Light-hearted furnishings from a serious architectural firm: These fun pieces were created by Frederick Tang Architecture, which debuted the pieces at BKLYN Designs. Furniture design and production is a new venture for the firm, which is looking to produce more original custom furniture.

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The cloud-shaped pink marble coffee tables sit atop brightly colored puzzle-like bases.
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Whimsical occasional tables console tables were inspired by the shapes of cacti.

Avandi Studio

These great side tables are stylish triangles made of concrete. The legs of Avandi’s AdapTable can be purchased in different lengths and different colors. Designer Ariane van Dievoet’s signature piece, the table can be used individually or in a grouping as a coffee table. Avandi focuses on creating items for the home and jewelry that are durable and are a fusion of craft and technology.

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The table legs come in a wide array of colors.

Keep Furniture

Keep Furniture is Steven Bennett’s studio that creates custom gallery-quality wood furniture and “centerpieces” which are made from wooden spirals. Bennet makes the curled showpieces and turns them into lamps, vases and flowerpot holders.

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Several of the Centerpiece creations sit atop Bennett’s “credenza.”
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The curled wood strips can be used as a plant hanger.
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A cylinder-shaped curl makes a fantastic lampshade.
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A flowerpot holder is made from a short curl.
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A tall curl adorns a glass vase and holds flowers in place.

Refoundry

Usually, the term repurposed means taking a discarded or no longer useful item and giving it a new life. In this case, however, it has a greater meaning. Refoundry is a non-profit that teaches formerly incarcerated people how to upcycle wood and other materials into furniture and accessories. It also teaches them how to turn this new skill into a business. Based on a model developed in Los Angeles, the group’s motto is that “Every Story Has Value” and all its efforts center around collaboration, self-reliance and entrepreneurship. Among the pieces that Refoundry displayed were upcycled tables and stools as well as complex inlaid wood pieces.

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Live-edge and salvaged wood make up most of the works.
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A tree slice serves as a stool seat.
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Different types and colors of wood make up this intricate wall piece.

Stefan Hepner Studio

Polish-born Stefan Hepner uses modern materials to create unique pieces, often using traditional processes combined with current technologies. From furniture to objects, Hepner’s creativity and skill yield design-forward pieces that are as functional as they are interesting. A great example is his La Piscine table, a play on the french word for swimming pool. The expanse of blue is highlighted by the chasm that extends into the base and the other leg was designed to resemble a pool ladder.

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The table is made from fiberglass, epoxy resin, enamel paint and aluminum.
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A closer look at the novel leg shape.

The Atoll Table features a faceted base that sports a top of epoxy paint so shiny and lustrous, it really looks like a pool of colored water into which you could dip your hand. It gives the illusion of secret depths within the table.

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The table is fashioned from fiberglass, polyurethane foam and epoxy paint.

Made from fiber reinforced concrete, Hepner’s Exedra Shelf is meant to be more than just a wall shelf. He says it was inspired by the niche that is often found in classical architecture and the texture of crumpled paper. It’s meant to highlight your special objects, putting them on full display.

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The fiber-reinforced concrete piece has a painted interior and is 22″ x 14″.

A far cry from the typical cuckoo clock, this “Cucoo” clock is a modern, pendulum timepiece that evokes nostalgia but smartly skips the hourly noises and campy little bird.

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Made of cast resin with metal parts, it runs on a single AA battery and has a sweeping quartz movement.

A slim and modern shelf is great for any room. Called the Double File cabinet, it’s perfect for books and magazines and has a small compartment behind the faceted door.

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The shelf is made from wood and steel rods that come in various colors.

Still Alive Lights

A bug draw at BKLYN Designs was the Still Alive booth, which featured a 3D printer that was creating one of the company’s novel bear lights. All of the fixtures are manufactured one at a time on the 3D printer, from the animal-shaped wall and table lamps to the tubular creations they make. The company currently has a solar flower light on Kickstarter that will charge from the sun coming through the window. Some of their other pieces can be turned on in unique ways, like kissing the bear on the nose.

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A bear in the 3D printer is in the final hours of creation.
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A collection of animal wall lights is a bright and impressive display of 3D printed lighting.
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Tubular sections are printed and then connected to make these lights.
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A laser-cut cardboard fixture resembles a rustic cloud.

Think Fabricate

Since 2009, Think Fabricate has been creating bath cabinetry, media furniture and other furniture designs, which they call solutions for better living. Not only are all of their works highly functional, but each is beautiful and well designed. In fact, Think Fabricate won Best in Show for its products.

Wat Started as a thin wall cabinet has now evolved into a concept bar cabinet for smaller spaces. The mix of a cabinet with some shelving lends itself to this type of use and the designers say the next iteration will include a door that opens downward, providing additional space for bar service.

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The tall column can be installed in just about any space.

This table in particular shows off the marvelous wood grain in the top. It is paired with the Classic Wood Stool, a smaller version of the is metal French Marais-style café stool.

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The stool comes in four heights.

Known for its custom bath cabinetry, think Fabricate showed its latest model, the A-Loft Bath Credenza. More like a workbench or a table than a typical bathroom vanity, the top is Corian and features a thoroughly modern rectangular sink that sits on top. Because the pieces are custom, it can also be made for a recessed bathroom sink. The slatted shelf at the bottom is particularly stylish.

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The bathroom fixture comes in walnut, afromosia or bleached oak and the Corian top is also available in gray.

Perfect for a more compact city apartment, the River Rock vanity makes the Corian the focal point bu wrapping it around the wood-fronted drawers. The sleek gray (or white) makes the beautiful burled wood stand out even more. The short, leggy wood base is a different treatment that the usual vanity.

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It is available in two widths.

Voytek Orent

Homedit fell for the designs by Voytek Orent at last year’s show. Orent uses only reclaimed and recycled wood slabs, along with metal and concrete. This is his Dark Stones sofa, a new spin on last year’s model. He explains that it uses thick and plusher padding in the “stones” that comprise the upholstery on the bench.

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The unique construction is eye-catching. And, you just want to sit on it!
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The Fish Chair is upholstered in a textured white fabric.

Orent’s coffee table is a contrast in materials. Basic concrete is fashioned into a tabletop that features a metallic swirl with a jewel centerpiece. Grand gold metal in a textured pattern surrounds the top and forms the leg accents, which look like a chunk was bitten out, revealing a golden interior.

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This design elevates concrete to a luxe level.
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A closer look at the leg decor, which also has centerpiece jewels.
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The golden swirl leads to an inset jewel

The base and feet of this bistro table and stools would be the stars of any kitchen or entertainment space. The unique style almost feels alien, or at least like a sticky-footed tree frog. To top it off, the wood is polished to a mirror-like finish on the seats and on the wood pieces that cap off each piece of the base.

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This design is the freshest take on a wooden bar stool we have seen in some time.

Mark Jupiter

Mark Jupiter’s award-winning Brooklyn Studio makes gorgeous wood furniture…period. From the expert wood craftsmanship to the artistic designs, the furniture all focuses on beautiful wood grain and pleasing lines. A fourth-generation designer and builder, Jupiter creates custom pieces from wood mainly sourced from places like abandoned factories and from trees damaged in storms.

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Amazing technique and joinery make this a fantastic table.

The wood in this bench was transformed using the ancient Japanese technique of charring wood called Shou Sugi Ban. The process involves charring the wood, letting it cool, cleaning it and applying an oil. The result is a unique finish that adds far more than just a dark color. It highlights the texture of the wood.

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The small bench is imposing thanks to the size of the wood piece.
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The dresser shows off the wood grain, highlighted by a darker accent strip.
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The construction of this bowl is smooth and geometric.

The Single Slab wood table sits atop a solid brushed brass base that is accented by the rivets that hold it together.

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The base has the feel that it belongs on a ship.

Just outside the Expo Center, the Ernest Cabin showed off the concept of a customizable tiny house built on a shipping platform. The small structure is perfect for a weekend getaway, retreat space or even full-time living space because it can be customized.

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The tiny house is not on wheels but rather a stationary platform than can be moved if necessary
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Inside, modern wall lights help illuminate the box-like space.

This unique piece of furniture is both a desk with chair and an expansive armchair. Great for a smaller space, it’s also a versatile item for any room, especially because you can sit in it a variety of ways.

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Wheels make it easy to move this piece of furniture.

This is patio, or deck of the small house, which can also be enclosed for a larger indoor living space. Large doors open out, making the most of the outdoor space.

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The natural transport platform surface makes the patio easy to care for.

The BKLYN Designs show is evidence of how strong the small maker community is. Small production and one-of-a-kind, finely crafted pieces are highly sought after. Thankfully, consumers want custom furniture and accessories, so specialty makers have a good outlet. The designs we see here for furniture and home decor are always inspiring.