Building beautiful things by hand is impressive. Coupled with an awareness for ethical production and the artistry of local makers, even more so. Cherry on top? The whole operation being run by three women. Meet Egg Collective. A New York based showroom and workshop founded by three friends and designers, Stephanie, Crystal, and Hillary (with backgrounds in architecture, art, and woodworking), Egg Collective is committed to making intentional, attractive furniture.
We stopped by both of their spaces to take a closer look at their environment and talk about what inspires them to keep creating.
Can you tell me a little bit about Egg Collective and what you guys do?
Egg Collective is a New York-based design company established in 2011 by three female designers — Stephanie Beamer, Crystal Ellis, and Hillary Petrie.
The concept for the company was formed over many years of friendship and collaboration. We wanted to establish a design firm that would allow us to blend our love of craft, art, and the built environment so we launched Egg Collective with the goal of designing, manufacturing, and selling our own line of furniture. To this day we still maintain full control over all three of these branches of our business. We currently have both a woodshop and a showroom in NYC.
Where did the name come from?
The name predates the company. After we graduated from Architecture school, we all got jobs working in the design field. However, we wanted to continue to design our own work, so we formed a ‘design collective’ meeting once a week to discuss ideas and prototype work. It was during this time that we decided to put a name to what we were doing. Egg Collective references creation and the incubation of something that is not yet fully formed.
Why is local craftsmanship important to you?
We want to deliver the best product to our clients, and we believe that maintaining a close relationship to how an item is made ensures that it will be made out of high quality materials, and in a place where people aren’t being exploited. We know the names and faces of the people that make our products, which is rare at this point in time, but not impossible. We are craftswomen – local craftspeople have become our community and our colleagues. We want to support, and learn from, that community.
Can you talk about the materials you use and why?
It is our utmost desire that our furniture will have a long life so we choose materials that will age well. We use wood, metal, glass, stone, and leather in our work. These are very ancient / primitive materials that are quite familiar yet can be very sumptuous. We often combine materials and surfaces in our work — mixing a matte stone, with an open grain wood and polished metal — in order to set each material apart and highlight its qualities.
How much do you guys pay attention to trends when you’re designing new pieces?
We don’t have blinders on, but we don’t want to create trendy items. Our ethos has always been to create items that are contemporary, but that will stand the test of time.
Where do you find inspiration?
All over. But the big sources for us are nature, architecture, and art.
You had a really impressive commission early in your careers together with the NYC Ballet. As far as collaborations, what would be a dream match for you today?
That was a dream project — Phillip Johnshon! Lincoln Center! As students of architecture and design lovers, we were on cloud nine. As for the future, it’s fun to dream big.
An Earthwork somewhere wild…
Anything for the Obamas.
Being happily and successfully in business with friends or family is inspiring. What advice would you lend for anyone looking to explore that possibility?
Everyone told us don’t mix work with friendship, but we had been collaborating with each other for many years prior to starting the company. We knew each other’s work ethics. We knew each other’s strengths and weaknesses. And, we knew that we trusted one another fully. If you know all those things — go for it. If you don’t, perhaps you’re not ready yet.