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A Brief History of Brooklyn Design

From KleinReid to Jason Miller.

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From left to right: Brooklyn Navy Yard; BDDW; Breukelen.  

1971
Brooklyn Navy Yard reopens as an industrial park, with plenty of studio space waiting for future designers.

1985
Godley-Schwan design firm moves to Greenpoint. Partner Lloyd Schwan goes on to design for Cappellini.

1987
Wood-furniture-maker Chris Lehrecke opens studio in Clinton Hill.

1991
Ross Menuez and Chris Bundy open Prototype & Production studio in Williamsburg.

1993
Potters KleinReid open studio in Williamsburg.

1993
Minimalist Michael Solis founds Worx Design in Dumbo.

1994
Ultra-high-end wood purveyor BDDW is founded in Brooklyn; since moved to Soho.


From left to right: The Statuette chair; R 20th Century; Godley-Schwan’s Crinkle lamp.   

1995
Moss hosts Droog Design show, inspiring countless future Williamsburg designers.

1995
Lloyd Schwan’s first piece for Cappellini—the Statuette chair—is introduced.

1997
Breukelen opens on Atlantic Avenue, selling Cappellini, Paola Lenti, and local designers.

1997
Vintage mid-century-modern store R 20th Century opens in Williamsburg; since moved to Tribeca.

1998
Godley-Schwan’s Crinkle lamp accepted into MoMA’s permanent collection.

1998
William Harvey opens studio in Greenpoint; designs for Umbra and others.

1999
Stephen Burks/Readymade Projects studio opens in Williamsburg; Burks designs for Cappellini, Herman Miller, David Design, Missoni, Moroso, Vitra, and many others.

1999
KleinReid’s first collaboration with legendary ceramicist Eva Zeisel.


From left to right: Surface magazine; Brooklyn Designs chairs; Tobias Wong's Bullet Proof Rose.  

2000
John Pomp opens One Sixty Glass —a public glass-blowing studio —in Williamsburg.

2000
Design magazine Surface moves from San Francisco to Dumbo.

2000
David Weeks and Lindsey Adelman launch Butter brand to showcase playful work from young Brooklyn designers.

2001
Tobias Wong makes This Is a Lampout of Philippe Starck’s Kartell chair, reintroduces conceptual design.

2001
Environment 337 is the first design store on Smith Street.

2002
Pratt launches Design Incubator Program.

2002
Firstop design show launches in Williamsburg.

2002
Pucci showroom in Manhattan picks up David Weeks’s lighting.

2003
The first Brooklyn Designs show takes place.

2003
The Future Perfect opens in Williamsburg.

2003
Jason Miller debuts his Superordinate Antler Lamps.

2003
West Elm opens in Dumbo.

2003
Sarah Cihat launches Rehabilitated Dishware at the Future Perfect.

2004
Scrapile Collection launches at the Future Perfect.

2004
Matter opens in Park Slope.

2004
First Altoids Living Spaces Show, curated by Dave Alhadeff and Jason Miller.

2004
Brooklynite Grace Bonney starts design*sponge blog.

2004
Matt Dilling creates his neon chandelier.

2005
Tobias Wong’s Bullet Proof Rose included in MoMA’s “SAFE: Design Takes on Risk” show.

2006
Jason Miller shows at Salone Satellite, in Milan.


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