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Round diamonds, calibrated to achieve the maximum in fire and brilliance, set the standard for all cuts. With this in mind fledgling design star studio Fort Standard chose it for its wooden Diamond Box. Hide a precious gem or other special item inside. The crown and base of this beech wood box are embedded with tiny magnets for a seamless and secure hideaway.
Be it something as pocket-sized as this Diamond Box or the Sphere Bottle Opener (also at A+R) or as weighty as a custom marble-based dining table or expansive as one of their onsite installations for stores and events, the work conceived by Gregory Buntain and Ian Collings of the New York industrial design studio Fort Standard continues to wow us and the many companies who've sought their talents, among them All-Clad, Warby Parker and Steven Alan and MoMA PS1. The Diamond Box was manufactured by fellow New Yorkers Areaware.
From Williamsburg's cobblestone streets, Brooklyn-based Areaware straddles the line between functional and humorous in a standout range of products for everyday life. Founder Noel Wiggins comes from a long line of artists but ultimately found he himself going a different way. "I come to it from a kind of problem-solving idea. Painting, honestly, wasn't collaborative enough for me," he says. "You have to be a really kind of solitary person to be an effective painter."
With his roster of contributing designers, Wiggins nurtures both emerging and established talent with an eye for realizing objects that are both thoughtful and practical. And Areaware is always on the search for new voices, sponsoring student initiatives at New York's Parsons The New School of Design and Rochester Institute of Technology. Recognized by the likes of Fast Company, Dwell andVanity Fair, the collection includes signature items from Harry Allen, Brendan Ravenhill and David Weeks, among others. "We believe that appreciation for beauty is central to what it means to be alive," Wiggins says. "And we want to embody this principle in even the simplest things."
Next stop, Brooklyn. For Fort Standard's Gregory Buntain and Ian Collings, starting up their design and fabrication studio in that NYC borough was a natural progression. They first met as Pratt Institute students and then both were chosen for study abroad at renowned Bauhaus University in Weimar, Germany. As close friends and collaborators, they began to evolve an approach to design they call "warm contemporary"—emphasizing clean lines and authentically crafted materials.
Fort Standard’s expertise in home goods, toys, jewelry and furniture has been eagerly sought after by companies like Areaweare, All-Clad, Warby Parker and Steven Alan. For the designers, it’s all part of their goal to create, as Collings says, “objects that are unique enough to refresh and simple enough to live forever.”