Brooklyn-based trio hatch contemporary furniture made with an artisan’s touch
Featured in SCALE, our show at Noho Design, Egg Collective also won much praise—and the Best New Designer Award—for its debut collection at the 2012 International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF). Using quality materials and processes drawn from earlier eras, the trio intends each piece in its collection to last well beyond the lifetime of its owner.
The members of Egg Collective—Ellis, Stephanie Beamer and Hillary Petrie—became friends as first-year architecture students at Washington University of St. Louis, discovering at the same time that their designs benefited from collaborating with one another. "We're interested in figuring out how you can make something that feels like it's for right now, of this moment," says Egg Collective designer Crystal Ellis, "while referencing these old ways and old materials and old usages."
After graduating in 2006, their individual career paths scattered them across the country. Ellis worked at architecture firms in New York and then moved to Providence where she earned an MFA in sculpture from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). Beamer and Petrie gained manufacturing experience—Beamer worked with fabricators and finishers in New York, and Petrie ran a mill machine at a cabinet shop in New Orleans. During their time apart, the three continued to collaborate, holding weekly conference calls and sharing designs.
"It was sort of a romantic idea, having a studio where we were spread apart all over the country and making furniture that way," Petrie says. "But it was always a goal to get back together." When they moved to Brooklyn last fall to design and produce furniture together full time, they brought with them distinct skills and sensibilities. "I think the varied experiences that we gained has really helped us, because we all went and got a different tool set," Petrie says. "Like a puzzle, we fit together really well. I think it surprised us how easy and nice this process has been."
According to Beamer, the group's emphasis on long-lasting construction is "a reaction to the disposable nature of a lot of what is consumed in our society but also a response to the work that we've done over the last six years—in my case, working for high-quality fabricators and manufacturers, and developing respect for what it means for a piece to be well crafted—and the time and love that goes into that."
At RISD, Ellis made sculptures that drew on shapes found in nature. "I was looking at cellular growth in flora and fauna...and additive processes in crystals and rocks and geodes," she says. "I think that that aesthetic definitely became a part of the collection."
"I am most inspired and most attracted to furniture that is impeccably detailed,"Petrie says. "And it doesn't matter what style that's in. If something is made well and is finished well and detailed well, you can definitely respect that, and I think that inspires a lot of what we do."
To learn more about Egg's current projects and to browse their archive, visit their website.