A05 Studio is a CNC design fabrication studio based in Brooklyn, New York. Graduated from Harvard Graduate School of Design with a Masters in Architecture, both Brian Chu and Conor Coghlan aspire to bring their diverse backgrounds together to create more than just pieces of usable furniture.
After working with renowned architects elsewhere, they came together to open their place in an old port warehouse in the Red Hook area. Not only are they determined to work through a design process that ensures an easy mesh of aesthetical value with sustainable measures required to help design advance into the future, but Conor also makes sure he gives the public a sneak peek through his YouTube channel. A witty pair of friends, one cannot possibly imagine the amount of hard work that goes into their projects because of how easy they make it all seem!
They’re a fairly new studio, however, the work they pull out sees A05 progressing into something larger than life – as if they weren’t already. So here, have a look at some of their amazing projects:
Very ambitiously taking on an IKEA challenge, the duo’s most recent work has been flat-pack 60-second furniture. Made entirely from post-consumer recycled HDPE plastic and coupled with FSC certified plywood, these mid-century pieces of ready-to-assemble furniture are suitable for the millennial generation with their nomadic lifestyle. Available in a variety of tones and wooden textures, the tables come with clip-able legs that can simply be popped into place under the tabletop surface.
These sustainable pieces can even be sent back to be recycled by the studio itself – the HDPE is shredded and milled into the same product for a new (or old) customer. The same table can be recycled up to ten times.
2. Decking Tiles for Outdoor Furniture
Creating a thematic outdoor experience is one thing, but enhancing a place by creating a seemingly monolithic landscape is another. A05 did exactly that – using IPE wood decking tiles and framing them into snug 2’ by 2’ steel boxes, the designers envisioned a more personal contact with tradition. Having been mostly used only for decking, these IPE tiles are now benches around the deck, quite literally giving the familiar tile a raised position for tactile appreciation.
Most of the tiles have not been cut into custom sizes, and so visually blend into the vastness of the floor paneling. A simple idea, but one that did not come from any other fabrication studio.
3. Office Desks
Designing office furniture is a particular favorite for most furniture studios. Everyone believes they have what it takes to improve one’s work environment, but not many achieve the quality they believe themselves capable of achieving. Studio A05 came up with a simple solution to the worst of all work problems – wires.
Using a central steel frame to spread the load onto Y-shaped steel legs, the designers realized they could use the same central structure to store charging wires and other dangly bits that accompany our electronics. To top it off, quite literally, the frame supports two layers of three-quarter-inch plywood as the working space.
4. Delcan & Company Puzzles
A quirky project using Corian, these Delcan puzzles seem to echo the legacy of other famous instances of carpentry such as the T puzzle. Designed for no small company, Delcan & Co. are known for their graphic designs, and the fabrication of one such design is no small feat. The neat lines and curves separating the three colors used are an excellent representation of the work of the company they were made for – to puzzle the human brain and keep it wondering what the design says to them.
5. Senegal by Toshiko Mori
An installation for the Chicago Biennale in 2014, this steel and acrylic structure precedes the original building in Senegal, which is a structure of bamboo, brick, and thatch, designed for an arts center. Studio A05 took a look into the complicated, mathematical weaving required for the fabrication of such an installation, and decided they would take it on – because why ever not?
The steel frames hold onto the delicate acrylic threads, symbolizing the real-life project in Senegal.
6. The Atlantic Penthouse Stairs
Using solid white oak for the steps, Studio A05 planned to blend the material for the treads into the material used for the flooring. Cohesion being a common concept for the duo, these stairs elevate the rest of the light interior and give the place an ethereal aura that makes the user just about float above the ground. The gaps between the steps put the steel structure on display, adding to the overall transparency of the aesthetic.
7. Lodge Fireplace bench: The Gathering Place
The curve design employed for the solid walnut benches takes to the floor again – albeit this time, the grain is in sharp contrast to the grain of the floor tiles, which seem to compliment the structure of the bench more. Tempered glass has been secured to the benches using waterjet steel, which is a process requiring immense precision as high-pressure water cuts through steel.
The glass is tilted towards the central fireplace, creating a space that makes one appear to be part of a cozy gathering rather than sitting in a big hallway. It creates the illusion of a central spot, grabbing the attention of anyone who passes by. The design converts the existence of a mere bench into an experiential fantasy, where adults and children can all turn to nature’s way of living, even if it is only for a few minutes.
8. Depero Feature Wall
Another solid white oak fabrication, the installation captures the eye as soon as one walks into this particular bar. Using horizontal lines to accentuate the character shown in the wall, the designers seem to have aimed to play with the verticality of the space to ground the area and turn the man standing behind the bar into the real show stopper.
The different angles with which the strips have been accommodated into the space playfully sketch out a machine pouring out a drink. Not many things surprise New Yorkers, says Carrie Bradshaw, but I’m sure this one gave many something to think about on an expensive cab ride home.
9. Rice High Table
Studio A05’s high table design for Rice is a simple idea using two different steel textures and combining them into one product for the structure. The slightly darker tones of the rectangular frame that connects the two legs catch one’s eye and make one wonder whether the shade is a difference in tone or a shadow from the tabletop. That is not where the magic ends with this table – the quartz tabletop seems to be floating in the air, with a very pronounced distance from the structure itself.
The entire theme of the table is a mid-century fantasy appeal, and one which looks very nice with a bunch of bar stools pushed into just the right gaps. I’d exchange my tabletop for the deceptively sandy-looking one designed for this product.
10. Greenwich Shoe Rack
I’d like to end this article with an interesting take on our more traditional shelving techniques; the duo at Studio A05 brings us a very light structure. Although white oak seems to strike again, the lightness of the chosen wood contrasts with the black steel piping employed to hold the entire thing together.
To break the monotony of the black framing, the designers used brass nails to secure the steel. Giving the racks a good head height as well as drawing attention away from the commonplace utility of the product, this shoe rack invokes the user’s sense of aesthetic in a very casual manner.
It is as if once the user pulls on the low-lying handles to open the reflective panel, they are invited in for a little chat about where they should be buying their shoes from – a conversation most people might be willing to indulge in.
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A05 Studio. 2017. A05 Studio. [online] Available at: <https://a05studio.com/> [Accessed 12 September 2021].
Beall, K., n.d. Hoek Is Sustainable Furniture Built in 60 Seconds. [online] Design Milk. Available at: <https://design-milk.com/hoek-is-sustainable-furniture-built-in-60-seconds/> [Accessed 12 September 2021].
ArchDaily. 2015. New Artist Residency In Senegal / Toshiko Mori. [online] Available at: <https://www.archdaily.com/608096/new-artist-residency-in-senegal-toshiko-mori> [Accessed 12 September 2021].
Delcan & Co. n.d. Delcan & Co.. [online] Available at: <https://www.delcan.co/> [Accessed 12 September 2021].