CHICAGO - New Breed Furniture Network, a Chicago furniture manufacturing start-up, says it will provide seating and tables for a leading digital firm expanding in Chicago.
New Breed principals John Lindsay - he has 20 years experience in woodworking and furniture design - and Alex Paradiso, an architect and designer - co-founded New Breed Furniture Network in 2010, offering what they call "karma-friendly furniture".
The two developed a new type of joint that defines the furniture series. In a year-long design process, they generated hundreds of one-tenth scale models of chairs and tables. This resulted in a unique construction technique, dubbed "Petaply."
In Petaply, "The layers of the furniture leg and arm components -petals - are laminations that are rotating around, and through, the dowel," explains Lindsay. The Petalply Series combines a retro-modern style with beautiful solid wood details.
The residential version of the furnishings, sold through more than a dozen dealers nationwide, includes tables and chairs, as well as desks, dressers, credenzas, consoles, and shelving systems. On the tables, the Petalply joint is revealed through an aperture in the table surface - an element that is visually very compelling.
"It is voluptuous. It lets the light and space travel freely," says Lindsay. "It is also very strong." He calls the Petaply "low tech and kind of simple," but one that makes practical business sense.
"We started with the aim of trying to compete against imports, and with Room & Board on price," says Lindsay. Using the approach, one chair can be built from start to finish in 2.6 hours.
A new partnership with Chicago-based Icon Modern, which serves as New Breed's Contract Line furnishings dealer, brought a first commission for Whole Foods, as well as for a local hospice center. Starbucks may also join the list of commercial contract clients.
The commercial Contract Line furniture incorporates the Petaply design, but is built to a heavy-usage specs, with commercial grade finishes, and in larger sizes. The Whole Foods tables, for example, measure 108 inches long.
In its Contract Line, New Breed has also incorporated Icon Modern's signature use of Urban Renewable Lumber, both reclaimed, or derived from urban trees that have fallen in storms or from disease - the latter kilned and milled locally. These sustainable characteristics appeal to business buyers meeting LEED or corporate social responsibility goals. Marketed by Icon Modern, New Breed's Contract Line is available in walnut, white oak, and ash.
Lindsay and Paradiso, manufacturing out of a small scale production shop for the past two years, say they will now scale up operations.
To prepare, Lindsay says he has been studying lean manufacturing theory, including the Toyota Production System, Six Sigma, and just-in-time manufacturing. Lindsay plans to incorporate lean best practices with his own approach of "Dynamic Shop Design," establishing stationery production cells for pieces in production, while allowing machinery to move flexibly in and out of production cells. Lindsay hopes this approach will allow new Breed Furniture to handle larger and larger batches within the constraints of a small scale operation.
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