Uhuru has established itself as one of the most innovative design firms in America. Based in Red Hook Brooklyn, Uhuru designs each piece with intentions of adding greater good in the world. Their focus lies in the design and fabrication of exceptional quality furniture and spaces. We had the pleasure of speaking with a the co-founder of Uhuru, Bill Hilgendorf, to answer some of our questions.
Q: What is the most creative project that Uhuru has completed so far?
A: That’s a tough one, we have done such a variety of challenging and inspiring projects over the years. The project that was probably the most comprehensive from a creative standpoint for us was the new office space for Vice media in Williamsburg Brooklyn. For this project we designed all the spaces as well as the furniture down to the custom cast concrete sinks in the bathrooms and a special wallpaper that contained images of the founders of the company and early employees on some of their first adventures. In this project we also were able to develop our new contract line including the first rendition of our new benching system as well as mix in many of our signature pieces for the lobby and common spaces.
Q: We’ve heard that you re-purposed the pillars from Coney Island, is this true? Can you give us a little background on the story and tell us what drew that inspiration?
A: Back in 2010 we got a call that they were tearing up a section of the iconic Coney Island boardwalk to test a concrete or plastic wood replacement. We got in our pick up truck and drove down. Sure enough the contractors on site were just dumpstering hundreds of boards, some weathered with 50-60 years of sun sand and snow and hundreds of thousands of footsteps. When we got what we could fit back to the shop we weren’t sure what we would make with them. So a few weeks later we went and did a big photo essay walking around in the middle of the winter after a fresh snow had fallen. From that we came up with the idea to design the forms around the three landmarked rides, the Cyclone rollercoaster, the Wonder wheel, ferris wheel and the now defunct Parachute drop.
Q: How do you find the materials you want to re-purpose?
A: We are always on the look out for an interesting material to work with. Over the years the word has gotten out, and often people will contact us if they come across something that has a good story.
Q: Where do you see the future of furniture design headed in 2017?
A: We think the future of furniture will be a balance of integrating all of the technological advancements in production with the importance of traditional craft techniques and elevating natural materials.
Q: Are there any upcoming projects or events Uhuru has planned?
A: Well we just launched a new collection called Tack, that is currently on display in our Tribeca showroom. We also just this week announced our partnership with The NWBLK gallery in San Francisco. They will represent our signature line, including the the Coney island line and new Tack collection in the Bay area.
If you’re interested in learning more, feel free to reach out to us here at Pacific Office Interiors via our contact form.