2009 Avant Guardians
Uhuru- Sustainability is the focus of five-year old company Uhuru, founded by Bill Hilgendorf and Jason Horvath. The pair (also RISD grads, from Boston and Louisville, respectively) design and build furniture out of their studio in Brooklyn’s Red Hook, reusing wood from razed buildings and leftovers from metal shop. “We call this process up-cycling,” says Hilgendorf, “as if it’s taking discarded material and turning it into a high-value item that will last for decades.” One of their latest products, the Metal Stoolen table, is a truncated bundle of scrap rectangular tubing.
They also aim to keep business local; it’s one reason why Mayor Bloomberg recently held a press conference in their studio to introduce a web tool that helps New Yorkers find healthcare. More local love: The Brooklyn Museum of Art acquired Uhuru’s Standard- a postmodern dining chair that combines salvaged Louis XVI backs and bent, plate-steel legs- for its permanent collection.
Next spring, the duo will launch its first line of outdoor furniture made from steel and Wyoming-sourced pine snowfences. Even if summer doesn’t last forever, Uhuru’s furniture just might.