This year marks the launch of former boatbuilder Asa Pingree’s furniture design company. By focusing on structural integrity, movement, and comfort, Asa uncovers silhouettes that look natural in any setting. Inspired by an eclectic island community off the coast of Maine, his foundational pieces exude the strength and grace of the bold coast where Asa learned his craft.
Using his extensive knowledge of classic lines and lightweight yet sturdy structures, Asa has found a way to bring a bit of Maine to Brooklyn, where the company is located. “My father likes to say ‘keep it simple, stupid,’ so I try to take that to heart by moving back to quiet, classic lines that feel organic or innate.” The sculptural elements in his work informed his first furniture line, which combines swooping lines with contemporary angles that you can either relax into or admire from a distance. He developed his first line with a focus on creating a foundation of solidly built, timeless pieces. Made from American walnut, white oak, ebonized oak, or fog gray ash, his first line is both minimal and tactile—equally at home in an elegant dining room or pulled next to a well loved writing desk.
And yet the company began with an answer to a quintessentially Brooklyn need: to save space. “I just couldn’t find an exercise bench that didn’t detract from my apartment, so I created a converting bench that lives comfortably in any room—even in my narrow hallway.” The bench’s unusual design folds down into a subtle living room bench to make extra seating. Built of quartersawn white oak and brass hardware machined in-house, the unusual piece captures Asa’s design ethos. “Where I grew up, art develops out of the enjoyment of the functionality of things. Folk art in Maine is really just the enjoyment of life: people naturally design beauty into what they love and use. I try to bring that ethic into my work—even if the functional need might be the width of an apartment hallway instead of the seaworthiness of a boat’s hull.”
The current Asa Pingree workshop is based in Brooklyn, where Asa co-runs a thriving community and coworking space for creative professionals [www.thebakery.com]. In 2015, Asa banded together with Stephanie Smith to found Asa Pingree. Buoyed with Stephanie’s extensive experience in creative production and operations management, Asa Pingree has had the pleasure of seeing their pieces incorporated into a wide variety of homes, offices, and restaurants in just a few short months.