design, furniture and lifestyle in bklyn, ny

A Conversation with Jefferson Snider

by Brooklyn Modern | October 21st, 2008

This past summer, while walking by the display window of ADD Gallery in Hudson, NY, I was drawn in by a large yellow gear that formed the base of a glass table. I introduced myself to the owner, Jefferson Snider and learned that he not only sells but actually designs and builds the pieces himself. While he works out of upstate NY, his furniture speaks to the concept of repurposing, which has become a very popular theme in the Brooklyn design scene. I decided to set-up an interview and here is what followed.

BrooklynModern: How did you come to furniture design?

Jefferson Snider: I started out as an interior architect. Part of this job was designing custom furniture for clients.

BrooklynModern: How long have you been repurposing objects into furniture?

Jefferson Snider: Seriously, in the last four years. Before that I was just using objects and then I began to use objects that lent themselves to lighting and furniture.

BrooklynModern: What is your motive for using “found” objects?

Jefferson Snider: The aesthetic of the object and using the object. I use the object as an object, giving it a purpose to be used and used usefully.

BrooklynModern: Your work has a modern architectural feel even though many of the elements are vintage. Is this intentional?

Jefferson Snider: I’m very modern oriented. My viewpoint is between Minimalism and Bauhuas design.

BrooklynModern: Have you been influenced by any designers in particular?

Jefferson Snyder: More by sculptors, but I have respect for the Modernist designers of the 40’s and 50’s. Donald Judd and David Smith are a couple of sculptors who I am influenced by. For painting it’s Miro and Léger .

BrooklynModern: The use of a ship propeller for a table base is an innovative thought. How did you arrive at this?

Jefferson Snider: I usually get the form and then to respond to it as a form. Sometimes an object will sit around while I am trying to sell it and then I find and idea. I had the ship propeller for a while and I decided to put a piece of glass on it. Also, sometimes objects evolve as I have the piece, but now I make objects right away. There will always evolutions and there will always be surprises.

BrooklynModern: The reappropriation of found objects in furniture design is growing in popularity. Where do you see this trend going in the future?

Jefferson Snider: I don’t see it as a beginning or an end. In LA, there is quite a desire to use objects as furniture. It’s hard to say what the future of it will be. As society evolves there will be less and less steel and therefore it may increase in value and there might be an experimentation with plastics.

BrooklynModern: Has working in Hudson affected your design decisions?

Jefferson Snider: There are industrial collectors in Hudson. Some people sell objects as an object and I can buy them outright. There are a few artists in town who focus on industrial art.

BrooklynModern: Do you work on commission?

Jefferson Snider: Not really, but I may consider certain projects.

ADD Gallery Ltd. is located at 610 Warren St. in Hudson, NY. Jefferson can be contacted at 518-822-9922, 518-392-5312 , and jeff@addgallery.net.

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