Copper in the Arts

August 2015

Copper: Raw and Honest

By Courtney H. Diener-Stokes

The Tipsy line by Bower.The Tipsy Writer by Bower (brass and wood).

It was practicality that led Tammer Hijazi and Danny Giannella to begin designing smaller size products when they founded Bower, a contemporary design studio in Brooklyn, NY.

"When we started our own company, we had a really small shop space. We started designing small products because it was all we could fit into our space," Giannella says.

The duo found it interesting to mix materials, and were drawn to the dynamic this created. One of their first accessory lines, called Tipsy, involves brass and wood. This classic collection---still in production--received much attention from retailers and the media and helped catapult the duo to the national spotlight.

"It only works because the brass is so much heavier than the wood," Giannella says."We paint the wood and it kind of creates this really dynamic juxtaposition. A light, soft material like wood, and a cold, hard, heavy material like brass."

A good example of this is their new C Light series, featuring bent brass metal tubing.

"We have a shop in our building that is a metal shop and they carry a large assortment of metal," Giannella says. "They help us bend it as well. All of the components on it are brass."

A year ago they moved into a larger studio, also in Brooklyn, and have been growing quickly, with mentions in The New York Times, Bon Appetit, Fast Company, and many more.

They recently went back to their roots of creating furniture again. Currently, they are focusing on a furniture design project involving copper.

“For a store in Miami, their palette for the whole store is white, washed ash wood and copper,” he says. “We are doing a table, chairs and benches that have those two materials together.”

They plan to use copper sheet.

“So it will actually be more of a flat, graphic component – so there will be half-circle shapes, so more of a graphic effect that we’ll be using with it,” Giannella says.

They are also using copper for a set of candleholders they are designing that are not in production as of yet.

Their workspace/studio, where they display some of their designs, is accessible by appointment only.

“For our furniture and lighting – every spring we have been coming out with a new collection,” he says, adding their pieces are available through galleries and showrooms that carry them. “Interior designers or architects will commission custom versions.”

Another current focus at Bower involves lighting for a hotel.

“All of the kitchens in a new hotel coming up are going to have an iteration of the lights,” he says. 

Some of Bower’s small accessories, such as their Tipsy tabletop objects, Table Tiles, Stick-up Sticks and Key Targets, are sold in stores. Their Tipsy writer pen and stand is currently sold at Anthropologie.

“The more mass-produced products are licensed by another company called Areaware. We wholesale them all over the place,” Giannella says. “Tipsy – that is one of the products we keep in-house. We have a way of putting them together.”

Bower C LightsC Lights by Bower (brass)

Regardless of the design project at hand, Giannella and Hijazi like to exploit materials for their different properties.

“It is interesting to explore different materials, so brass, copper – we prefer seeing materials in their natural state. Raw and honest material.”

Giannella says their design inspiration is based on doodling in three dimensions.

“One thing leads to another and we play with form and balance and material,” he says. “Once we have an idea we like, the other ideas will flow out of it naturally. It is a lot of playing and trying. We are a design company so we always have function in the back of our minds, but it is mostly drawing from non-functional ideas.”

Resources:

Bower, 810 Humboldt St, #2K, New York, NY 11222

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