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Uhuru, a Brooklyn-based furniture design company dedicated to sustainability and local craftsmanship, launched its second "local materials" line for New York Design Week this past May.
The new Coney Island Line is crafted from reclaimed wood taken from the demolished iconic boardwalk. The Ipe wood, first installed on the boardwalk in the late 1940's, has weathered in the sun, salt, and snow for 70 years. The design is inspired by the duality of Coney Island- its whimsical, colorful summers and melancholy winters. The pieces interpret the architecture of the desolate dreamscape: low-rise buildings patched with signs and seasonal layers of paint, beneath the towering old-fashioned rollercoaster. The line consists of six limited edition pieces, and Uhuru will produce only ten of each design due to the finite nature of the wood.
The Cyclone rollercoaster is one of Coney Island's last remaining functional rides. It is resurrected here in the form of a lounge chair, with undulating dark and light Ipe and a crisp white laser-cut metal base.
Uhuru plays off the organized chaos of the ride's structure, flattened to one layer of metal, and with the sides connected sporadically to create a dynamic interchange of space and void on the base. The metal is finished with a low-VOC powder coat finish.
WONDER WHEEL COFFEE TABLE:
This coffee table pieces together wedges of Ipe into a large wheel, bolted in place with a steel plate. The stylized metal base uses a Vaudeville-inpspired scalloped pattern, held in place with steel flanges. This overtly industrial piece looks like it could have been part of a ride itself: spinning on an open ball bearing, the table combines function and whimsy.
DROP END TABLE
The Parachute Jump, a historical landmark punctuating the panorama of Coney Island, influenced the design of this end table. Once part of the World's Fair, the now defunct ride looms over the rest of the park. Uhuru captures its essence through mechanical connections on a steel base, crowned with a faceted Ipe top.
The reclaimed wood surface of our console echoes the inlaid pattern of the original boardwalk, as seen from above.
The play of scale however, from the minature nail-heads to the thinly cut Ipe, changes the context of the original design and adds an element of surprise. The wood sits atop a blackened steel base.
Inspired by the concrete-filled oil cans that dot the landscape of Coney Island and hold everything from parking signs to umbrellas.
Uhuru re-envisions the shape by turning solid reclaimed oak timber and crowning it with a white shade. The fixture is a set of four LED bars.
Fresh coats of paint rejuvenate Coney Island every season, covering up the corroded surfaces below. In this beautiful and poetic piece, Uhuru scrapes away the layers obscuring a mirror, to reveal long-forgotten personality, character- and ultimately history.
Founded in 2004 by Rhode Island School of Design Graduates Jason Horvath (above left) and Bill Hilgendorf (above right), Uhuru (ooh-HOO-roo) is a furniture design/build company merging avant-garde design with a commitment to environmental sustainability.
160 Van Brunt St. 3rd Fl
Brooklyn, NY 11231
product images and information courtesy of Uhuru
Additional images of the furniture line from the BKLYN DESIGNS 2010 show are from the fabulous Apartment Therapy courtesy of photographer by Aaron Able.