What we are about: Modern Furniture Details

City Joinery is a small company making new furniture one piece at a time. Our designs are contemporary: pared down forms, taut lines, unexpected and sometimes contrasting surfaces. We work primarily in solid wood, not veneer, and often in combination with other materials such as metal, glass, upholstery and acrylic.

From dining tables, beds, and armoires to desks, dressers, and seating, we have a large array of designs. We make myriad variations on these in different woods, sizes and with different details. We can also create a new design specific to a customer’s needs, space constraints and tastes

Our Approach:
City Joinery furniture is made from solid wood because, unlike most veneered substrates, it has integrity, depth and strength. Our furniture is carefully designed to allow the wood to breathe with changes in humidity. We seek out woods that have subtle color variations and grain patterns and we prefer to finish them in a way that emphasizes these natural subtleties.

History:
The company was founded in 1996 by Jonah Zuckerman at one end of his loft on Flatbush Avenue. Fed up with living in the same space as the table saws, Jonah moved City Joinery to Dumbo in 1998, where a workshop and small showroom could accommodate the growing studio. By 2004 the company expanded to a 6000 square foot home on Jay Street.

Design Philosophy:
City Joinery furniture captures the vitality of our time. Deeply respectful of traditional technique and style, our design approach also questions and enlivens some of the very traditions it employs. Yet because of the great attention spent on details, the richness of the materials we use and the deep, satisfying luster in the finish, the furniture stands outside the whims of fashion trends. It is as much of our time as it is timeless.

Each piece we make gets a thoughtful, careful approach. This shows in the finished product and its quality appreciates over time. We hope our clients will have an ongoing sense of wonder about the furniture, and that their enjoyment grows as the design’s complexity, and depth of character, is revealed over time.

Process:
With many of our clients, the furniture design process begins with sketching out ideas together. With others, we make pieces from our catalogue, generally in a wood species of their choosing. Trained in the art of traditional woodworking, we build each piece by hand relying on such time-honored practices as dovetail joints and hand-rubbed finishes. The furniture will last for a long time, offering generations of utility and pleasure.

Because everything is built to order, we encourage our clients to choose from a wide variety of materials. We specialize in combining metal with wood, but also love using resins, plastics, laminates and felt, to name a few, as alternating textures and accents. Little known and sustainable wood species are of particular interest to us, but mainly we select materials for their inherent beauty.

Influences:
City Joinery was founded by a Harvard-trained former architect whose design influences range from Mackintosh and Guimard, to Nakashima and the Danish modernists. Continuing this legacy of designer-craftspeople, we enjoy the challenge of balancing practicality and artistry. And as with forerunners such as Ruhlmann and William Morris, we take pride in cultivating relationships with our clients, in crafting the objects that will inhabit their homes or offices for generations.

Clients:
Over the years our client base has grown to include people who’ve become our friends. We just finished a newlyweds’ first dining room table, in Black Walnut, and delivered it to their new Manhattan loft. We expect their family will grow around that table (it has two leaves).  Beyond the many cities and towns of the Northeast, we have made furniture for houses in Dallas, Moab, Sarasota, Las Vegas,(among others) and as far away as Tasmania, Kerry, the Cotswolds, and Bodrum.

A few years ago, we crafted all the lobby furniture for New York City’s Asia Society, an elegant museum that recognized a hint of Asian influence in some of City Joinery’s designs. One of our first large projects was to design for the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) bookshop. Our clients are individuals, businesses and institutions. All of them share a love of lasting value and a wish for grace in practical things.