To celebrate its tenth anniversary, artist-run design studio Fort Makers opens its first store and exhibition space in Manhattan today. The shop at 38 Orchard Street will feature a wide range of objets d'art, furniture, home goods, jewelry, and exclusive collaborations that exemplify the Fort Makers aesthetic: "colorful and bold, and often ingeniously tactile, inspired by a nostalgia for American crafts."
"We created Fort Makers under the Bauhaus model—a core group of artists focusing on crafts and useable art," said founder and creative director Nana Spears. "After ten successful years of studio practice, we're excited to open a store downtown, and join the creative community around the Lower East Side."
Artist Noah Spencer's process he calls "beaver gnawing" is particularly apt in this riff on the classic Adirondack Chair. He chisels, saws and scrapes away at the wood to create furniture "that looks like it could be found in a forest or in a prehistoric bedroom."
The various elements in Spencer's shelving unit can be recomposed.
The 2,000 square-foot space will transform every couple of months with new installations curated by Spears. The inaugural exhibition is called The Blue Room and features a debut collection comprised of seating, lighting, glassware, ceramics, and painterly textiles inspired by Yves Klein's International Yves Blue. There's Naomi S. Clark's hand-painted sofas and chairs, ceramic vases by Shino Takeda, and playful ceramic cars made by Keith Simpson. The standouts for us are the furniture pieces by Noah James Spencer: an interchangeable stack shelving unit, a glass coffee table with geometric oak legs, and a sculptural take on the Adirondack Chair.