Jeff Soderbergh’s furniture collection is like a well-designed time capsule, filled with stories of the previous incarnations of table tops and chair legs. His studio, Re-flect Architectural Art, in Newport, RI, houses the discarded remnants of historical buildings and landmarks from the surrounding region, which Soderbergh reinvigorates as one-of-a-kind home furnishings and accents.
The Machinist’s Table, pictured above, consists of a turn of the century skid pallet, heavy oak flooring, and steel supports that all came from a basement machine shop in the Jefferson Mill in Worcester, MA, circa 1906. Soderbergh says that the history behind his furniture is an essential part of the connection his customers make with their pieces, and it’s clear that he has an emotional tie to the stories, as well.
The Steel Tea House table, below, is made from a Victorian heat register grate from Mystic, CT, circa 1890. The surface of the Steel Bar, or Butterfly Table, is a steel clad fire door, also originating from the Jefferson Mill, circa 1906. Soderbergh salvaged the 600lb door from a demolition site several years ago by pushing it off of the fifth floor of the mill. Part of the appeal of the piece is the natural wear on the steel from having been kicked and slammed for decades (bottom).
Among all of the approaches to making environmentally-friendly furniture, salvage and reuse are almost always the most interesting and original. The size, shape and condition of the components defines the outcome of the design, and gives it a certain element of soul that can only be gained over time. Soderbergh’s furniture is an elegant testament to the history of his Northeastern surroundings.