14 innovative Western designers

These visionary designers and craftsmen are bringing an indie spirit to mainstream design

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The furniture game changers
Photo by José Mandojana; written by Jess Chamberlain

The furniture game changers

It took a stint working with mass production in China for Andy Whitcomb—the design half of Brackish furniture—to realize he wanted to start his own company. “I’d never considered building anything myself; I was fine drawing and having someone else make it,” he says. But his experience with mass goods—“designed to go out of style in six months and be thrown away”—changed his mind.

The result is Brackish’s first furniture collection, all handcrafted in Seattle from local materials. The centerpiece is the couch, which at $3,500 reflects a ferocious commitment to local resources. “We wanted it to be $2,000,” says Whitcomb. “But to hit that price point, we would’ve had to outsource somewhere else in the country, and probably overseas. Instead of feathers and down from Oregon for the cushions, we could’ve used only a thin layer of petroleum-based foam. At that point, we’d rather not make a sofa.”

Most important to the duo is that their designs stand the test of time structurally and artistically—which is why they avoid trends. “So much is made today with planned obsolescence in mind,” says Forest Eckley, the business heavy of the team. “This sofa is as aesthetically strong as it is durable.” The proof? “A kid can superman onto it and land comfortably.” brackishdesigns.com

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