In a day in which so many furnishings for the home are mass produced, it is nice to know that some companies still believe in making things by hand to deliver a high-quality product. And that’s exactly how pieces for the New York-based furniture line Hellman-Chang are made.
As told by design magazine Core 77, Hellman-Chang’s pieces are made in their 8,000-square-foot facility in Brooklyn, put together by the skilled hands of local craftsmen – an unlikely and seemingly rare find for such a big city. But perhaps what makes the story of this line even more unique is that its founders, Dan Hellman and Eric Chang never went to design school.
The pair were childhood best friends and during summer breaks, they taught themselves to build solid wood furniture. They reunited after college and in 2008 set up shop and revived their craft and passion for designing and building furniture by hand, and in doing so, created their own identity. Their award-winning pieces are best described as bold and modern, but are rooted in traditional craftsmanship.
Core 77 produced a multi-part interview series with the duo, which revealed some pretty fascinating information about their work. Below are just a few excerpts from Part 1, which offers a great deal of background information on them.
Okay, origin story time. I understand neither of you guys went to design school or have an academic design background.
Dan. That’s right.
Any creative background at all?
Dan: Eric’s been sketching his entire life. We’ve known each other since we were about, what, ten years old?
Eric: Yeah, about sixth grade. In school I was always known as an artist, and as a kid Dan was always into crafting stuff.
Dan: I was always tinkering around in the garage, building dream catchers and skateboard ramps and whatever.
So how did you first get into furniture design?
Dan: It was in high school. We had already been best friends for a long time and one summer we developed this hobby, this passion for designing furniture and wanting to see those designs come to life. We started in my parents’ garage.
But how did you learn how to build, did you guys have parents in the trades?
Dan: No. We actually taught our parents. Once we started doing this in the garage, my dad would be eager to come from work and see what we were working on. We learned everything from books and from making mistakes.
Eric: As far as learning to use power tools, we were both really into shop class in middle school and high school.
Dan: Those classes were really fun, and taught us basic techniques, how to operate a table saw, that kind of stuff.
We find Hellman-Chang’s story to be quite fascinating and their dedication to creating furniture by hand to be refreshing. For more information on Hellman-Chang, check out the entire interview on Core 77.
Image 1 from Core77.com; all other images from Facebook.com/hellmanchang