9 Furniture Designers You Probably Don't Know — But Should!

Sure, shopping at IKEA has its benefits: It's cheap and stylish, and the meatballs make navigating the Swedish labyrinth worth it. But when you're ready to invest in quality, durable pieces, look no further than your own backyard. Buying locally made and designed furniture not only supports your community's creative minds, but it stimulates the multi-billion-dollar furniture-and-decor industry, plus the American economy as a whole. A win-win, if we ever saw one.
Not sure where to start? We've rounded up nine furniture designers who should be on any discerning home-lover's radar. Some of these up-and-comers are more established than others, with their own stores and full collections, while others are just starting out with a few design-forward pieces. But all nine will be influencing the next wave of furniture trends — just you wait!
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Anzfer Farms
Who: Jonathan Anzalone, 32, Joseph Ferriso, 32
Where: San Francisco, California
What: Handcrafted tables and other furniture made mostly from salvaged wood

Why: Whether it’s the swirl of a knot in a bench or a smoothly sanded table edge, Anzalone and Ferriso make furniture that you want to touch. This good-looking duo first worked together as fifth graders in wood-shop class in Commack, New York. After studying fine art, they reunited years later in the Bay Area and returned to those woodworking roots. “Because we design and build in one stroke, our work conveys a personal connection to the material,” says Ferriso. “Wood itself is a major inspiration. As a medium, it will always possess an internal mystery…We still don’t really know what we are doing and we are cool with that.”

Photos: Courtesy of Anzfer Farms.
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GARZA Furniture
Who: Jamey Garza, 49, Constance Holt Garza, 47
Where: Marfa, Texas
What: Saddle-leather seating, wood-top tables, and benches that reflect the relaxed indoor-outdoor style of Marfa, Texas — a creative outpost for out-of-the-box thinkers

Why: In the high desert plains of west Texas, Jamey and Constance Garza have been perfecting their designs for years. Recently, their simple but elegantly hewn tables and chairs have started finding their way into the homes of city dwellers. “Constance and I approach GARZA Furniture as if we're making furniture and tabletop accessories for ourselves and our own spaces,” says Jamey. And that care and attention to detail shows in the pieces they create.

Photos: Courtesy of GARZA Marfa.
3 of 9
Who: Matt Eastvold, 37
Where: Dennison, Minnesota
What: Credenzas, sideboards, and dressers made of sturdy Midwestern stock with a mid-century appeal.

Why: Matt Eastvold gives vintage designs a fresh spin. “Enhancing common spaces with good design drew me to this business,” says Matt. “I have always had a passion for making things that work well and rooms that feel good. I want to design furniture that can be adapted to customers’ changing needs as their life changes. I hope that they can have these pieces when they are elderly and that our stuff is around long enough to be considered vintage.”

Photos: Courtesy of Eastvold.
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Colleen and Eric
Who: Colleen Whiteley, 32, Eric Whiteley, 32
Where: Brooklyn, New York City
What: Playful pieces that are both conceptual and functional.

Why: “We try to make playful objects that make the user smile,” says Colleen. “We both nerd out over manufacturing, and we really enjoy the challenge of figuring out how to create a new product in a new way. It’s addictive to dream up an idea and then turn it into a real physical object that you can use.”

“We have a new project called Bonus Table, a modular furniture system based on interchangeable leg parts. It's part of a competition through the city of New York called Next Top Makers. We focused on designing it to be versatile and super simple to use. It's exciting to develop a product with a specific manufacturing technique in mind that helps create and influence the design.”

Photos: Courtesy of Colleen and Eric.
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Tanya Aguiñiga
Who: Tanya Aguiñiga, 35
Where: Los Angeles, California
What: Mid-century modern pieces with a heck of a lot more texture and a hint of Latino flair

Why: Raised in Tijuana, Mexico, Tanya Aguiñiga’s multidisciplinary approach blends art, design, and craft. “Having grown up in a place where trash is often used to construct houses, furniture making provided me with an outlet to create something that is functional while also translating emotions into a three-dimensional object,” says Aguiñiga. “The issues that I deal with in my work range from the personal to larger issues of globalization and the needs of marginalized communities. Sometimes these solutions take form in the creation of physical objects, and other times, they are community actions or ephemeral pieces that hopefully inspire audiences to discuss larger cultural issues through craft.”

Photos: Courtesy of Tanya Aguiñiga
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Lindsey Adelman
Who: Lindsey Adelman, 45
Where: Manhattan, New York City
What: Updated and abstract takes on chandeliers, candelabras, and other romantic lighting

Why: The branching arms of Lindsey Adelman’s chandeliers and her glass bubble pendants simultaneously reference nature and easily modernize vintage pieces. Not to mention, her designs can be found in R29 interior-shop faves like The Future Perfect. “I am interested in the relationship between people and the objects they cohabitate with,” says Adelman. “Taking on lighting has allowed me to push sculptural elements. It is endlessly engrossing and challenging to try to make what's in your head. It always comes out differently, but the process itself is a high for me.”

Photo: Courtesy of Lindsey Adelman
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Pat Kim
Who: Pat Kim, 26
Where: Brooklyn, New York City
What: Clever and functional modern design that retains the warmth of being handmade

Why: From his table with a built-in planter to triangle wall hangers, Pat Kim's pieces are both functional objects that also draw the eyes. “I try to be as hands-on as possible,” says Kim. “If I can do it myself, I'm going to do it. I've taught myself basic machining, casting, ceramics, and how to work with leather. I'm always trying to learn new things to apply to my work.”

Photos: Courtesy of Pat Kim.
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UM Project
Who: Francois Chambard, 45
Where: Brooklyn, New York City
What: Industrial craft: engaging, friendly furniture with clean lines punctuated by bright colors and graphic details

Why: “I see UM Project as an old-world atelier embracing the digital age,” says Chambard. “I am not into nostalgia. I believe our times call for new expressions and new approaches. I do that by freely navigating the analog and digital worlds. I look at industry for inspiration the same way other people look at nature for inspiration.”

“My work is also about serious playfulness. The pieces often trigger a personal, immediate, and emotional connection. Furniture is the connector between people and the built world, mostly because of its size — bigger than jewelry and smaller than architecture. We get very attached to pieces of furniture. That basic and important connection is why I called my company UM, a.k.a. Users and Makers.”

Photos: Courtesy of UM Project.
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Phloem Studio
Who: Benjamin Klebba, 36
Where: Portland, Oregon
What: New American furniture for the bedroom and living room with a timeless style; a mix of mid-century modern design and Shaker craftsmanship.

Why: “We're designing for the future. We make everything to order by hand so our pieces are built to last,” says Klebba. “My dad built the house I grew up in along with the furniture inside it. It was the way I grew up. I want to make your favorite chair. I want you to read a book in it. I want you to pass it on to your kids. I still have chairs my dad made. They feel like home. I live for that feeling.”

Photos: Courtesy of Phloem Studio.