menu

How A Chance Meeting Inspired An Entire Furniture Collection [NY Design Week 2012]

How A Chance Meeting Inspired An Entire Furniture Collection [NY Design Week 2012]
culture

Brad Ascalon and Frederick McSwain had a concept, but no manufacturing partner. The Neal Feay Company decided to branch out from their typical business-line to help make their sketches a reality.

Dave Pinter, PSFK
  • 2 june 2012

 

Designers Brad Ascalon and Frederick McSwain recently debuted the ‘AM Project,’ a collection of anodized aluminum furniture and accessories, with the exhibit Reinvention; Writing History Through Aluminum during the 2012 New York Design Week. The NYC based duo have been friends for years, but readily admit that they don’t agree on much when discussing design approaches. But in creating AM, they found inspiration when they started sharing stories and experiences with each other. This inspiration developed into sketches for a series of concepts, but they needed a manufacturing partner to make the concepts a reality.

Luckily, a chance meeting between Ascalon and the president of the California-based Neal Feay Company, Alex Rasmussen, led to the perfect partnership. Rasmussen was looking to expand Neal Fay’s offerings–the company was a well-known fabricator of aluminum components for high-end audio gear, but Rasmussen wanted to utilize the company’s heritage of experimentation and precision craftsmanship in a new way. Ascalon and McSwain needed a skilled manufacturer to bring their concepts to life, and a partnership was born.

The next challenge was figuring out a way to actually manufacture the complicated designs. All of the pieces in the collection started out as solid blocks of aluminum. Computer programs were developed to instruct machines how to sculpt the pieces, but the trick was in the computer program design- some of the original designs couldn’t translate to the machines, and the programs had to be reworked and modified multiple times so the machines could actually produce them. For example, the ‘Turntable’ piece (featured below) was originally designed to have much deeper slots, but given the mechanics of the machinery, the machine couldn’t cut the deep slots without ruining the piece. The computer program was modified, resulting in shallower slots–a design decision that actually projects the optical effect ring in the table top much more clearly.


Photos:Kate Glicksberg for Design Milk; Turntable was inspired by the Techniques 1200 and has an optical ring pattern that emerges when viewed from different angles.

Despite the design challenges, everyone involved in the project spoke highly of the experience, with Rasmussen and his team saying it was an opportunity to push their capabilities and try to essentially accomplish the impossible. The collaboration with Ascalon and McSwain represents the Neal Feay’s first venture into collaborative product development.

Scroll through images of the collection below:

Timber table has wooden legs that ‘push’ through the table top. Inspiration came the from plants and trees that reclaim the parking lots and sidewalks of abandon suburban retail stores.

Photo: Kate Glicksberg for Design Milk

Henge is a a bowl that can be constructed and rearranged from individual magnetic blocks of aluminum.


Photo: Kate Glicksberg for Design Milk

Bonnie Bracelets come stacked as a linear sculpture. The name is derived from a vintage bracelet bearing the same name that was manufactured early in the Neal Feay Company’s history.


Photo: Kate Glicksberg for Design Milk

Lumen is a vase, candle holder and ash tray that looks like a small modern sculpture when empty.


Photo: Kate Glicksberg for Design Milk

Achilles is a weighty yet sleek shoehorn, designed mostly as an excuse to create a beautiful object.


Photo: Kate Glicksberg for Design Milk

Brad Ascalon

Frederick McSwain

Trending

Bicycle Hotel In Norway Makes Commuting A Breeze

Design & Architecture
Technology Yesterday

Umbrella Tells You Whether It's Needed Before You Go Out

Opus One was designed by former Samsung engineers and offers a weather forecast via the flashing LED on top

Sustainability Yesterday

Biocomposite Skateboard Provides An Eco-Friendly Ride

The Uitto is an eco-friendly skate deck crafted from Norwegian wood fibers

Trending

Get PSFK's Related Report: Future of Automotive

See All
Work Yesterday

Hyatt Honors Travelers With A 3D-Printed Statue Contest

The hospitality wanted to celebrate the people who go everywhere for work and make sure their tasks were not forgotten

Syndicated Yesterday

High-Tech Replica Brings Prehistoric Art Within Reach

A £48m recreation of the Lascaux Caves in France will let visitors experience the unique place for the first time in decades

Related Expert

Marc Kushner

Revisionary Placemaker

Entertainment Yesterday

Tripod Lets You Make Snapchat Videos Hands-Free

The Camkix kit lets you record wirelessly from any angle

IoT Yesterday

GE Develops An Alexa-Enabled Table Lamp

The first in a line of interconnected home products will integrate Amazon's voice-activated system for smarter home living

Advertising Yesterday

Spotify Mines User Data To Create A Global Ad Campaign

The series of billboards relays the feelings that people express through listening to music

PSFK LABS REPORT

Future Of Retail 2017
Transformation Strategies For Customer-First Business
NEW

PSFK Op-Ed Yesterday

Commerce Expert: Why Brick-And-Mortar Shopping Can’t Be Replaced

Erin Armendinger, SVP of bio, explains the physical need of customers to experience certain products before buying

PSFK Labs december 1, 2016

Retail Spotlight: Home Depot Reimagines How Employees Conduct Tasks

The home improvement retailer puts the customer first by initiating local fulfillment centers and simplifying freight-to-shelf inventory management

Food Yesterday

What Material Research In Beirut Bodes For Our Waste Crisis

Might building furniture and lights out of rose petals and coffee grounds point to more sustainable modes of living, as seen in Beirut Design Week?

Social Media Yesterday

This Collar Wants To Be The Bridge Between Human-Dog Communication

Inupathy claims to be world's first dog emotion visualizer

Retail Yesterday

Basquiat-Inspired Fashion Line Supports Emerging Talent

The late artist's estate has collaborated with New York label alice+olivia on a new range of designs

Retail Yesterday

Why Personalization Is The Key To Customer Satisfaction

Andrew Blackmon of The Black Tux shares how the company is using machine-learning models to streamline the fitting process

Gaming & Play Yesterday

Fidgeting Tools Designed To Help Creative Minds Focus

The DIDGETS Collection helps those who have anxiety or are restlessly moving to focus while they are working

PSFK EVENT

FUTURE OF RETAIL 2017:
Conference Built Around Report Launch
BUY TICKETS

Children Yesterday

Helpful Robot Teaches People Of All Ages How To Code

The Root has coding expertise designed to benefit a wide range of people

Home Yesterday

Sharing Service Connects Directors With Film Locations

Finding affordable places to film can be difficult, so GETset was designed to help creators easily find good locations

Technology Yesterday

Adobe Is Teaching Machines To Copy Your Artistic Style

A new research project called Stylit uses a camera to mimic a drawing and reproduce the strokes digitally

No search results found.