Uhuru, Design, Craft & Style > Brooklyn NYC
In late October of 2012 Hurricane Sandy struck New York City with Red Hook, Brooklyn being one of the most affected communities. Uhuru, the multidisciplinary design studio founded in 2004 by Rhode Island School of Design Graduates Jason Horvath and Bill Hilgendorf were directly affected.
I actually first came across Uhuru during New York Design Week last year. I was looking out of the window at ABC Home to see this giant chair on a truck parked in the middle of the street. Aptly named #ChairTruck this super sized version of their popular Hulihee chair was strapped to a flatbed biodiesel truck, and was making it’s way through the city as a bit of press gaunt. Made using reclaimed hardwood from the Coney Island Boardwalk, it was certainly an affective way to get our attention that week…
Back to the studio, and the reason for this post. The studios equipment is housed on the third floor of their building however, the first floor of their studio where they have their showroom and material storage, took on three feet of water during Hurricane Sandy. Finished pieces immediately became unfinished, cold and hot rolled steel took on a sea water finish, and all of their wood slabs below the flood line took on moisture.
One of these slabs was a particularly stunning piece of raw Claro walnut that had been identified as being so unique and special that is was being saved as a singular showroom slab. After the hurricane these plans were put on hold as the moisture content of the slab rose, requiring additional drying time before it could be crafted.
After nearly 18 months, this Claro walnut slab in the first picture reached acceptable moisture in late last year and has been brought to life by the studios craftsmen this year. Titled “Ulysses”, this pieces is ready for show time.
On March 6th, this remarkable slab table is being unveiled and the studio are to celebrate how far their community has continued to grow since the storm. A portion of the proceeds from the evening will go towards charities working to rebuild Red Hook. So if you are in New York next week, make the time to head to their studio and see the amazing work this studio create.
The studio has been internationally recognised for its innovation, and is in the permanent collections of the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Brooklyn Museum of Art.
Uhuru has partnered with renowned artists, architects and institutions around the world and recently completed the design of Michelin-starred Saul Restaurant at the Brooklyn Museum of Art.
“When it is dark enough, you can see the stars.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson