In our EXPLORE series, we venture into the local manufacturing scene in cities around the world. For our first exploration, we visit the city I call home: Seattle, WA, USA
Lighting, Furniture, Product Design, Architecture
Only these guys can make cardboard cast-offs and ping pong balls look elegant. After the success of their inaugural product, the Scraplight, in 2007, Seth Grizzle and Jonathan Junker have grown Graypants to include studios in Seattle and Amsterdam. The team produces their signature light fixtures, furniture pieces, and custom projects out of their SODO shop, and recently completed an ethereal installation for Milan Design Week 2015, titled “Murmurations.”
Custom Furniture and Environments
NKBuild is a jack-of-all-trades kind of studio, where founder Noah Kreigsmann and his teammate Conan Storlie design and build custom furniture that celebrates form and materiality. There’s seemingly nothing these guys can’t fabricate, but their outdoor furniture is especially stellar, as demonstrated by the wood, steel and concrete pieces they completed for Capitol Hill’s Bullitt Center, the first Living Building certified office.
Husband-and-wife design team Chad and Emily Richardson design and produce exquisite furniture made from local sustainably harvested wood and recycled steel in their unassuming shop in Ballard. The forms may be simple, but the craftsmanship and material selections are breathtaking.
Though its connection to the well-known global brand 3Form might suggest otherwise, LightArt is a surprisingly small-scale design and fabrication studio in the Georgetown neighborhood. With a team of local craftsmen making each custom fixture to order by hand, they may be small, but they are mighty – and they don’t shy away from pushing boundaries in the lighting world.
Modern electrical components
The humble electrical receptacle gets a punchy upgrade at Conway Electric, who manufactures components and assembles the final product in their Downtown factory (all component materials are also sourced within the US). With the treasured status of a fully-charged smartphone these days, why shouldn’t we celebrate our outlets a bit?
Locally-produced systems furniture is difficult to find. But amazingly we have Watson Furniture, who manufactures clean, elegant and modern office furniture in their facility they lovingly call “the Orchard,” near Poulsbo, WA. Operating under the principle of “practical environmentalism,” the company weaves sustainable principles throughout their process, from sourcing raw, recycled reclaimed materials locally to reclaiming their own by-products rather than diverting them to a landfill. Local, responsible, and beautiful – I still can’t believe our luck.
Post-consumer content countertops
It’s appropriate that the historic Old Rainier Brewery building in Seattle’s SODO neighborhood houses Novustone’s production facility – the countertop material’s content includes recycled bottle glass. Made with post-consumer and post-industrial recycled materials and natural aggregates, Novustone’s spectrum of hues and colors are gorgeous, as well as friendly to the environment.
Do you live or work in Seattle? Send us your recommended local manufacturers to add to our EXPLORE database!