Lots of up-and-coming and established designers will present new collections at BKLYN Designs this weekend, and we don’t want to miss a single, solitary piece of work—which is why we love getting an advanced look at what’s to come! Bill Higendorf, co-founder of Brooklyn–based furniture company Uhuru Design, sent us a sneak peak of the three new locally and sustainably produced designs he and partner Jason Horvath are debuting at BKLYN Designs this week. While they’re every bit as functional as Uhuru’s previous products, the limited edition Stitched Table, Standard Chair and Metal Stoolen have a little added oomph that sets them apart.
Built around a flitch-cut slab of responsibly harvested claro walnut, the Stitched Table is nearly split in two by a naturally occurring fissure. The wood comes from trees that are at the end of their lifespan, or that have been felled by storms or culled because of disease. The four seafoam stitches are cut from sheets of material made from shredded and pressure-molded flakes of recycled detergent bottles. The rolled steel base, which contains between 30 and 100 percent post-consumer recycled content, is finished with a VOC-free polyester powder coating.
Uhuru’s second new offering, the Standard Chair is a composition of expanded aluminum, reclaimed chair backs and steel plate. The hand-carved chair backs are new and unfinished, recovered from a local manufacturing company that recently went out of business. Uhuru’s designers happened upon the chairs at Build it Green, a non-profit architectural salvage warehouse in Astoria, Queens. In addition to the ornate Louis XVI backs, each chair features a seat and front legs crafted from plate steel that was plasma-cut and bent at a local Brooklyn shop. (The back two legs are part of the original frame.) In lieu of overstuffed upholstery (likely the original manufacturer’s plan), each oval chair back contains a web of aluminum mesh. The result is a funky-yet-elegant mix of antique and contemporary designs.
In the tradition of Uhuru’s signature Stoolen, which is made from locally collected scrap wood, the new, updated version was born from scrap material in Uhuru’s metal shop. The designers were improvising in the shop one day and discovered they could arrange the too-short lengths of steel leftover from the company’s furniture production into haphazard, dynamic groupings to create a functional object.
Stay tuned this week for continued coverage of BKLYN Designs. If Uhuru’s latest line is any indication, it’s going to be a great show.