Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Natives Are Restless


This is sort of like two posts in one, but The Eastique Company is in Dix Hills, out on Long Island. They're doing some of the most wonderfully raw, rustic pieces I've ever seen and it's quite inspiring. There's a reason for this look, though. It's all made of African Ironwood, reclaimed from the first railroad line in South Africa, built in 1888. The Ironwood forests are now protected, thankfully, so the wood Eastique uses comes from the old railroad ties.

They haven't finely sawn and polished the pieces, so they end up with this unparalleled ruggedness. I'll go in evening's order--for cocktails, here's the barchair:

They also offer a barstool with no back, but I thought the chair was more interesting. The stool ends up looking like a dive saloon in the Old West, pardner. It could certainly work in the right context, but this one I think has greater potential.

Next to dinner, here's the "heavy" dining chair:

The "lighter" one and its armed sibling I felt were less successful. They have this sort of Early-American sensibility to them, but the rawness of the wood possibly ruins their tight Shakerish geometry. This one, on the other hand, gives me a sense more of, say, medieval monastery furniture, and I think it's perfect.

Here's the sideboard:

With all of them, I just adore the Primitivism. The contrast this could provide for some ridiculously hyper-modern ceramics, china, or glassware would be absolutely stunning.

By the way, they do also deal in some textiles, here's a brocade tablecloth:


Retiring for coffee and brandy, here's the sofa chair:

I guess I'm picky about upholstery, because I'm not really feeling this fabric. As I discussed in reference to Nolen Niu, here is precisely where I would love to see some bright acid green or shocking blue upholstery fabric. I think it would make this whole thing so incredibly dynamic.

The tables are arguably where these pieces really come into their own. Here's the coffee table:

In a big, fat, flat slab like that, there's nothing to distract you from the gnarly, rugged quality of the wood. It's a more basic shape than with the chairs, for instance, where there's other aesthetic connotations at work, also.

Here are a couple of end tables, which are practically just as successful in my opinion:


The first one, while wonderfully Minimal, I feel is a little bit too crafted. But that second one is especially awesome. It's so incredibly Paleolithic, innocent, honest, and pure.

Off to bed, here's the bed chest, also a great piece:


Now the other part of this story is about Brooklyn's Scott Braun. I had met and spoken with Braun my first year covering BKLYN DESIGNS. I was actually very excited about what he was doing that year, because his work was so robust and had this extremely interesting sort of Exoticism to it. I did post about it, but unfortunately I felt it was a little too wild for a (more traditional) suburban readership in the magazine.

He was the one at the Eastique booth, and was in the Too Busy category, with another visitor occupying his attention--he was alone there, though, which I understand makes it difficult. I stalled because I'd have liked to have gotten caught up with what he's doing lately, but I had way too much to see.

One new piece on his website that I don't remember seeing before is this very elegant "Ilan" bed:


But the reason he's in this post is that he's been contracted by Eastique for a new line of outdoor furniture. While the pieces are more finely crafted (i.e. less primitive), his Exotic aesthetic is a very good match for them, anyway, and it puts an entirely different spin on the rustic materials. His pieces are actually reclaimed Burmese teak. Here's his "Winwood Chaise":

Please forgive the lame screen-grab images. I don't think he means Steve. Again, the robustness is just fantastic, and this strikes me as the kind of thing that would be surprisingly comfortable.

Here's the "Benton Settee":

Here's a case where I don't particularly need contradiction, because I think this would be so wonderfully, organically appropriate in a quiet forest glade. I think that's the first time I've ever used the phrase "forest glade" in a sentence.

Lastly, this is his "Dijo" coffee table:

Those big bronze legs are very characteristic for Braun, really set this piece apart from the ordinary, and by the way I suspect would patina wonderfully over time. I think this is really exquisite, again, with a little flair of the Exotic for good measure.

The Eastique Company
917-749-2192

Scott Braun
917-749-5554

©2008, Ryan Witte

4 comments:

wooden furniture said...

your picture is nice.

Ryan Witte said...

LOL Thank you.

sb said...

Hi Ryan - I just saw this post for the first time, thanks so much for your attention. My sincere apologies for being in the too busy category - you're right, being the only one in the booth can be difficult. If there's anything you wanted to know that I wasn't available to provide, please don't hesitate to contact me - you had an old phone number on there, the correct number is 917.749.5554.

Oh, and yes, I do mean Stevie. I was trying to come up with a name for that chaise lounge when a friend responded to a picture I'd sent him, saying, "it makes me want to lay back with a beer, close my eyes and listen to "low spark of high heeled boys..."

How could I name it anything else?

Thanks again.

Scott Braun

Ryan Witte said...

Hey Scott,

It's my pleasure. And don't worry, I understand how overwhelming those trade shows might be, especially if you're by yourself at the booth.

I corrected the phone number, but not sure I corrected the right one.

Love the Traffic story.

R