John Bolle : Bolle Design
What he does Best known for custom wooden furniture (like the tables and “cubic library” at Buddakan), Bolle and his team expanded into the poured-concrete biz about five years ago, and the calls just keep coming. Clients include high-style restaurants like Plate — as well as local and far-flung homeowners. What we want The kind of signature shine Bolle is able to impart to his countertops through the start-to-finish mixing he and his team personally perform — instead of outsourcing, like other pourers sometimes do. What’s next His new decorative concrete trivets ($60-$150) are functional, sure — but they also make for affordable pieces of art that complete a room. Get some Call 215-423-2600 to arrange an appointment at his North Howard Street showroom.
Steven and David Hessler : IOLA DESIGN
What they do Iola’s designers, engineers and artists create sleek, space-saving shelving units and custom furniture out of bamboo. They also make us feel like lesser human beings, as the Hesslers (father David, son Steven) come from a long line of do-gooders — Steven’s grandparents were furniture makers and outspoken activists on topics ranging from civil rights to green space and smoke abatement. Their vision lives on through Steven and David, who named the company for Grandma Iola and give one percent of their profits to US Doctors for Africa to help AIDS victims. What we want Their elegant Yoshikuni dresser and the space-savvy Hasegawa wall mount. What’s next The Hesslers are partnering with Deborah Goldhaft, a New England glass artist (see fireiceglass.com), to incorporate illuminated glass panels and doors into their units. Prototypes are in the works, and units should be ready this spring. Get some See Ioladesign.com, or check them (and other local artists) out at Chester County’s Buy Fresh, Buy Local event this October 6th through 8th (theartsscene.org).
Kristine Muller : Kristine Muller Woodworking
What she does For the past five years, Muller has been creating custom cabinets for style-conscious architects, contractors and homeowners throughout Philly. “I always knew I wanted to go into some aspect of construction,” Muller says. “It wasn’t until I made my first bar stool, though, that I realized I belonged on the creating side more than the contracting side.” What we want One of her solid, stained units in mahogany or sweet-smelling cherry. What’s next Muller’s been guiding clients toward her mind-blowing curved work: “It truly separates a custom piece from something you could have bought ready-made.” She’s also working more often with bamboo, an eco-savvy choice we’re always happy to endorse. Get some Call 215-280-5993 to set up an appointment.
Isaac and Jaime Salm : MIO Culture
What they do: Since 2001, brothers Isaac and Jaime Salm have been turning out creative, sustainable, much-buzzed-about products — from lighting to shelving to 3D wallpaper. In five years, their client list has grown as quickly as their press coverage and awards, to include Anthropologie, Bloomberg and the Philadelphia Zoo. What we want: The Bendant Lamp flat-packed chandelier — it comes in silver, white or chartreuse, and is way easier to assemble than it looks. What’s next: This month, MIO will be rolling out a brand-spankin’-new modular flooring product, and our dream table: a piece that will let us rearrange legs and tabletops and convert it to a sidepiece on a whim. Get some: Check out mioculture.com, and visit DesignPhiladelphia next April 12th through 22nd for the debut of their next Big Thing.
Pat & Tim McDonald : jig
What they do Back in ’97, brothers Patrick and Tim McDonald founded Onion Flats, a design, building and development company responsible for dreaming up, designing and building projects throughout Old City, Fishtown and Northern Liberties. With the success of their most recent “green” development, the Rag Flats, the brothers have focused on development and created a new company, JIG, for their building needs; they’ll partner with Plumbob for their architectural projects. The McDonalds will continue to bring eco-friendly havens to Philly, and to create homes where style and sustainability can coexist. What we want A trinity in Rag Flats, the first “Zero Energy” community in Philadelphia — heating comes from a gas-fired floor system, rainwater is collected and recycled, and rooftop solar panels are responsible for the Flats’ electricity. What’s next The brothers and their other partners currently have 10 more projects in the works. What we’re most intrigued by are the lawns being added to the rooftops of existing and new buildings. Flower power for the 21st century! Get some See onionflats.com.
Adam Wallacavage : “The skateboarding photographer”
What he does: Wallacavage, whose first photo book, Monster Size Monsters, debuted this summer, is best known for his candy-bright shots of skateboarders and for founding Space 1026. But his foray into home decor is what’s been catching our eye lately: Inspired by his own “pirate-ship-feeling” home and looking for a change of pace (“I’ve always had a weird relationship with my photography,” he says), he’s been creating wild and wonderful resin-coated plaster chandeliers and wall sconces. “I originally thought I’d work in glass, but I like plaster — it’s so solid, and the process is sort of this ancient thing that I kind of figured out on my own.” What we want: One of his over-the-top octopus chandeliers. What’s next: Major stardom? His clients already include jewelry designer Tarina Tarantino and Sailor Jerry. This past summer he showed at the Jonathan Levine Gallery in New York, and in December, he’ll be showing his work at Art Basel in Miami. Get some: Check out adamwallacavage.com or amazon.com for more on Monster Size Monsters.
Kevin Brooks : Found Matter and Kevin Brooks Salvage
What he does: Kevin is the genius behind Found Matter, the 10,000-square-foot Kensington warehouse filled with salvaged furniture and raw materials that artists, architects and in-the-know homeowners swear by. “It used to just be a hobby,” Brooks says. “I’d go to sites and find discarded materials that I just couldn’t let be thrown away.” Eventually, he knew he had to give it a full-time go — and we’re so grateful he did. What we want: Old church doors, post-modern benches, industrial signage … pretty much everything our eye can see. What’s next: Come spring 2007, Found Matter will be opening a renovated, majorly reorganized retail space with extended hours for “regular” consumers beyond industry professionals; it will also be expanding its website, foundmatter.com. Get some: Call 215-498-9495 for hours and directions, or check out foundmatter.com for a preview.
Josh Owen : Josh Owen LLC
What he does: With degrees from Cornell and RISD and training from Tel Aviv University, too, Josh Owen turns out projects that are as impressive as his pedigree. His graphic and industrial design studio is behind reinventions of otherwise ho-hum products like bookends, ashtrays, corkscrews and flyswatters. What we want: The Magnito salt-and-pepper shaker, which looks like a spinning top until you realize that it’s two Hershey’s Kiss-shaped shakers magnetically connected at their bases, and the “Stash,” a beer bottle opener with a hidden compartment for a lighter. What’s next: Foster’s Urban Homeware in Old City will be carrying a reissued version of Owen’s iconic “Knockoff” bowling pin lamp (in addition to his other products), and in April he’ll be rolling out a line of furniture in Milan. (The collection of tables and accessories will make its way stateside by late 2007, early 2008.) Get some: See joshowen.com.
Allen Cohen: The Iron Shop
What he does: Allen runs the custom-design arm of the Iron Shop, the Broomall-based company known for its beloved DIY spiral staircase kits as well as mega-projects for clients like MoMA in New York. What we want: A library in our home, so we can turn to Cohen’s team to build us a modern take on an Ivy League library’s stuffy spirals. What’s next: Cohen is currently designing five floors of curved staircases and interior gates for the Blackstone Group in Manhattan. Get some: Visit mcohenandsons.com.