I am a designer, an entrepreneur, and an author. My career spans the founding of an omni-channel retail brand (Best Made Co.) to working in close partnership with brands and artists to craft products and experiences that are simple, elegant, meaningful and lasting. I thrive at the intersection of contradictions: where the ordinary meets the extraordinary, utility meets style, and timeless meets new.
In 2019 I left Best Made to start something new, and partner with new brands. I am continuing on my path of making things that are meaningful and compelling, elegant and responsible. My mission — as its always been — will be to use design to challenge customers to think, to dream, and be better. If you want to join me in this cause, or if I can help you do the same, then drop me a line.
The adventure of making
One of the first things I learned to make was a Molotov cocktail. The second was a pipe that I could smoke. My babysitter Scott Madill taught me how to make a Molotov cocktail, and I was a self-taught 11 year old pipe maker. I grew up on a small farm in Canada where, as a child I made a lot of things, but these two things are the ones that stand out: they were not fine, but they were functional. The farm was my workshop, my creative refuge where — with enough ingenuity, power tools, gasoline, and scrap wood — almost anything could be made (to blow up or give you a buzz).
I left the farm and moved to New York City. I spent my early career as a graphic designer, working in publishing, music, and fashion. My clients made things that inspired me, and I was lucky enough to get a front row seat to watch them being made. The spaces they occupied, be it the Wilco loft in Chicago, or Maira Kalman’s west village studio in Manhattan, were especially captivating: someday I would have my own creative space, from which my own brand of magic would emerge.
In 2009, almost 30 years since Molotov cocktails rained down over rural Southern Ontario, I sought refuge in closet-sized studio in lower Manhattan to make axes and the beginning of a world I called Best Made. With the axe as my first product, Best Made was on the one hand my call to the wild, but on the other it was a call to make something, even if that something was as simple as a campfire. Best Made grew into an all-encompassing product assortment, my own fully-realized table of elements that were as fine as they they were functional. I traveled to Japan to witness our knives being hand-forged, I rode horseback through remote mountain passes in Patagonia to document Francis Mallmann make a lamb asado and in turn I made a catalog.
where I’ve been featured
I partner with commercial and cultural institutions, respected writers, artists, musicians, photographers, fashion icons, museums, publishers, and record companies to bring their products to life. My work for them includes:
brand and identity design
design for film and television
design for books & magazines
design for musuem exhibits
design for retail experiences
design & creative consulting
ellen de generes
museum of the city of new york
the new york times
new york magazine
Credit and thanks are given wherever possible. There have been many talented people who have been instrumental to the work published here within. In particular special thanks and credit goes to the creative team members that have worked directly with me over the years. They include:
JASON FRANK ROTHENBERG