A Conversation with Andrew Raible of Standard 41
by Brooklyn Modern | April 30th, 2009
Andrew Raible is a Brooklyn based designer who builds modern, sophisticated furniture. He has a family history in the trade, is schooled at Pratt, and apprenticed with an accomplished Brooklyn furniture maker. His work has been recognized by all of the important interior design publications.
BrooklynModern: You are a sixth generation designer. How does this history affect your design thinking?
Andrew Raible: At a very early age, my father had me working in his shop sanding, using the jig saw or cleaning up. Sounds like child labor now, but it did teach me that I could use the machines to make just about anything. We also discussed his designs and others along the way. I learned very early on to have a critical eye. At first I parroted my father, but eventually I began to disagree and to fight for my own ideas. He also had no qualms giving me his opinion and suggestions on my designs. Often he was right with his criticism (”turn it upside down”) but eventually as my style evolved, the dialogue became more nuanced, concentrating on an angle or a proportion.
Lap Top Desk, solid walnut, maple, cherry
L55? D32? H28?
BrooklynModern: What motivates you as a designer at this stage?
Andrew Raible: You mean other than the ultimate table leg casting the perfect shadow across the floor and stimulating the conversation that leads to universal enlightenment? Honestly, transitions have always intrigued me. My designs almost always begin with a 3d model of some transition; plane, material, reveal. I love exploring how to move from one surface to another. It’s still four legs and a top, but how can I incorporate some discovery within my design, some detail that doesn’t immediately reveal itself.
Love Chaise, available in solid and veneered walnut, maple, cherry,
L50? D33? H32?
BrooklynModern: You apprenticed before going out on your own. How helpful was this experience?
Andrew Raible: When I’ve been in communal shops, you can tell almost immediately who has been properly trained and who is self taught. Apprenticing, schooling or working your way up thru the ranks in a large shop, teaches you a discipline and respect for the machines and the material that I think is crucial. The Europeans’ approach to passing on the knowledge, not hoarding it, tends to create a more well rounded craftsperson. They have been doing this for centuries and it shows.
Slant Credenza, solid and veneered wood walnut, maple, cherry
L60? D22? H29?
BrooklynModern: It appears that Modernism and Scandinavian design have influenced your work, but is there a particular artist you look to for inspiration?
Andrew Raible: Obviously I’m coming at this from a mid-century ideal. But I’ve been exploring this idea of mid-century for this century. A greener and maybe a bit more sculptural approach to designing. Contemporary artist/designers are: Scott Burton for his form and material-stone, Roy McMakin for his sense of humor, Christopher Wilmarth for his transparency, Judd for his flourish.
BrooklynModern: What’s the advantage to being a designer in Brooklyn?
Andrew Raible: 1– The resources that are here. Brooklyn has a slew of craftspeople who seem to defy the modern world; artists who practice centuries old art. But we also have artists who are using the most advanced machines and techniques in the world. 2– The competition. 3– The proximity to knowledgeable forward thinking clients.
BrooklynModern: Whose work in Brooklyn do you admire the most?
Andrew Raible: They’re all no good sons of bitches.
Actually, I just met all the other designers who are showing at Voos, a new furniture show room show casing Brooklyn designers. I have to admit that the owners chose a very strong group. If you want to see what’s going on in Brooklyn furniture design right now, go to Voos.
BrooklynModern: You made yourself a part of the Brooklyn furniture movement during its infancy. How has the scene changed over time?
Andrew Raible: A lot more cache than before.
BrooklynModern: You are making a shift away from exotic wood to more local, traditional wood? Why?
Andrew Raible: Obviously first and foremost, the environmental impact of using exotic wood is just irresponsible at this point. Also, I’m trying to rely more on form now than a BOLD piece of exotic wood. I’ve been thinking more along manufacturing lines lately, and beautiful domestic woods, harvested in the North East seem to make sense across the board.
BrooklynModern: Where do you see your work heading in the future?
Andrew Raible: The Oval Office.
BrooklynModern: What is your dream project?
Andrew Raible: I just started designing a restaurant. I’ve always been particular towards tables for bringing people together. Now with a restaurant, I can expand on that idea 50 fold. Ahhh, community.
Andrew’s work can be seen at Standard41.com. He has several collections and takes on custom projects. He can be directly reached at 917.805.0835