Studio furniture makers as a rule tend to be pretty independent sorts. Most work primarily from their own original designs. They know what they like, and that’s what they want to build. Some keep it that way, making only the pieces they want, selling through galleries or a few interior designers or right out of their shops. But many learn there is power and joy in collaboration.

For some that means just working directly with clients to craft custom designs to match the clients’ dreams. For others it means working closely with interior designers or architects to make something that is just right for a particular project. And for still others, it means sharing and trading craft skills to add things like upholstery, metalwork, tile or glass, and special finishes to complement the woodwork.

In the case of Frank Pollaro’s most recent collaboration, it means bringing to life furniture designs from the sketchbooks of actor Brad Pitt. Pollaro has achieved international recognition for his museum quality reproductions of Art Deco designers, most notably Ruhlmann, as well as doing some spectacular original work, often in exotic veneers. I’ve known Frank since early in his professional career, when he was as much known for his youthful, take-no-prisoners business drive as he was for his flawless woodworking. Today, Frank is as polished and sophisticated a businessman as one of his Ruhlmann reproductions, and he has to be to deal with clientele that span the globe.

So, it’s refreshing to see how genuinely excited he is about his new partnership with Pitt. The designs are intriguing and the finished pieces are gaining an enthusiastic reception. Frank says it best when he says, “The sum of the collaboration must yield a result which is greater than the two constituent parts.”

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