Monday, July 19, 2010

New York state of mind - Todd Bracher

Todd Bracher is a native New Yorker who is a Designer and Educator currently based in New York City. When he was 27 years old, Bracher wanted to play for the New York Yankees. Only problem, Todd doesn't play baseball. He designs furniture, and in his world, the Yankees are an Italian furniture company called Zanotta. He is the principle and founder of Todd Bracher Studio and while he's "back home" in NY, Todd spent ten years working in Copenhagen, Milan, Paris and London. His works have been curated by some of the most prestigious brands around the world from furniture design and table top, to interiors and architecture. Todd's work has been included in major exhibitions around the world and has been pinned as “America’s next Great Designer’ by the NY Daily news among several nominations for Designer of the year in 2008 and 2009. His experience ranges from working independently, heading Tom Dixon’s design studio, acting as Professor of Design at L’ESAD in Reims France, to co-founding of the experimental collaboration ‘to22’, to most recently his appointment as Creative Director of the luxury brand Georg Jensen.

For Todd, it all started strangely enough a few days after Sept. 11th,  "I was thinking, Why should I feel good about making a sofa?," says Bracher, (who was just crowned 2008 New Designer of the Year at New York's International Contemporary Furniture Fair). He continues, "They were all very serious and they asked if I ever designed anything before. I said, ‘No, not for production.' They just stared. Twenty minutes later, while I was waiting for the bus, they called, laughing. They wanted to make it. I was floored."  The piece in question is the Freud sofa. It shot to notoriety and shortly after its introduction, knockoffs appeared at Ikea and West Elm. Bracher became the first American designer of a Zanotta product.
Object design is never this easy. It's one of the most cutthroat industries in existence, where designers don't get paid for their work unless it gets produced. Often, a designer's best work never gets manufactured.
Furniture companies will commission work from a designer and then ask other designers to make the same product in a design competition to see whose prototype looks best, selecting only the product they prefer. No one gets paid except the winner. Ten or more designers can compete for the same object. Designers don't ever know against whom they're competing. It's also rare for a piece of high-end furniture to make it to fabrication. Zanotta, for example, gets 300 proposals per week for furniture pieces. They produce only one chair, one table and one couch per year. Typically, designers get paid 3%-5% royalties on each product sold, with their estate enjoying payment for 50 years past a designer's death. "It's a crazy system," says Bracher, who is also the design director for Jaguar cars. "But that's the way it is. You find a way to be creative. You have to really want it."
Stick, derived from the beauty of a walking stick insect and the curiosity of a deep sea angler fish, STICK is in essence an insignificant tube and miniature LED disguised as a lamp.

The Dome lamp, inspired by the phases of the moon and its contrast between light and shadow.

As found in nature, the essential. A skeletal approach with a minimal amount of material, Darwinian. The design of the T-no1 is as follows; A surface for function, ribs to support the surface, a spine to hold the ribs and legs to bring the construction off the floor. Nothing more, nothing less.
Publishers invest in beautiful book cover artwork that become lost when the book is stored on the bookshelf. SLIM uses angled vertical elements that allow the storage of books in such a way to reveal a wonderful patchwork of book covers to the room. This unique approach allows for a very slim form that easily finds place in the home.

To find out more about Todd Bracher or where to purchase his products, please visit

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