The 10 Coolest Companies We Found at LA’s Best Design Fair

You’re gonna need a bigger living room

By Reuben Brody

The 10 Coolest Companies We Met at LA’s Best Design Fair
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09 November 2016

That seesaw side table pictured above?

The designers told us their goal is to “play with your head.”

We met them while trolling the booths at last weekend’s Westedge Design Fair, where we had two goals in mind: A) Find a bunch of under-the-radar design firms making kickass furniture; and B) Tell you how to acquire said kickass furniture.

Time to gear up the homestead.

The woodworking duo you need to know: Studio E & R

Studio E & R's booth had 13 foot, 1000 year old Old Growth California Redwoods that stood upright, almost like dividers. Some of the wood featued came from an old black walnut tree that was removed from a backyard in Torrance, and was more than 250 years old — strange, because it predates the introduction of walnut to California. “We think a Spaniard dropped an acorn or something,” says proprietor Ryan Silverman. Along with his wife, Eileen O’Dea, Silverman sources stunning wood and fashions it into all sorts of things for the home. We like the breakfast-in-bed tray.

The designer who will make your home more playful: M. Shively

Shively wanted to stand out, so they took their furniture and made into a playground. The side tables became a seesaw. The coffee table became a tire swing. The lighting fixtures became monkey bars. “We just wanted to play with your head,” said Matthew Shively. His use of brass, marble and walnut makes for a classy, opulent feel. It’s custom and playful.

The lighting fixture that will make your house feel like a spaceship: Tokio

Tokio makes carbon fiber lighting fixtures that look like they flew in straight off the set of a James Cameron movie.

The woodworker you turn to for conceptual art pieces: Taylor Donsker Design

You have your standard pieces of furniture, and then you have a few items that bend the rules and stand out. Tap Taylor Donsker for that. His shapes and subtle brass accents are stunning.

The Palm Springs-inspired table art that’ll tie the room together: Post & Gleam

Tables need trinkets, especially ones that speak to the region. Post & Gleam makes these windmills that recall a desert drive to Palm Springs.

The upholstery company that’ll soften your place up a bit: Paper Lion Design

You can’t have everything be wood, marble and leather. To soften things up a bit, play with the texture by going upholstered. Paper Lion Design stitches their designs by hand; each one is unique.

The giant lamp you need for your giant living room: Cerno

Cerno is an Orange County lighting maker who do a lot of work for restaurants and companies, but their home lamps, like this giant floor lamp, are stunning pieces of architecture.

The guys who make washing dishes more enjoyable: Proximity Kitchen

These guys make modular kitchen sinks and countertops with discreet cutting boards and washing basins.

The outdoor kitchen setup that’ll make you a pro: Alfresco Grills

You can cook outside year-round in Los Angeles, and we think you should. Alfresco Grills designs and makes the full gamut, from grills to friers to pizza ovens — basically all of the things that’ll stink up your home, now outside.

The hi-fi system that’s as much furniture as a dope soundsystem: Smith & Stephan

These guys are making consoles and speakers that look amazing, play vinyl and digital, and will shatter glass in your place. Expect a larger story on them soon, but if you’re in the market for a system, hit them up now.

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