Fort Standard‘s founder and designer Gregory Buntain has long centered his collection of beautifully utilitarian furniture on the dining table. The instantly recognizable Column Dining collection consists of elemental and substantial cylindrical pillar legs and a variety of shaped table tops, honed from marble or crafted out of solid wood.
More recently, Buntain has considerably broadened his Red Hook-based studio’s offerings by introducing the Strata Collection, a minimalist grouping of furniture pieces incorporating machined metal components. Launched at ICFF 2018, the Strata Credenza became a collection mainstay, growing to include side tables, coffee tables, and shelving units. Its modular system allows for a wide range of formats with endless material and finish combinations.
We’ve found that a Fort Standard collection launch is an industry-wide event, with all eyes on Buntain and his studio for design inspiration. Don’t miss his next move: a brand new dining collection to debut at Colony in early May. Stay tuned here for more information on the forthcoming exhibition.
It was 2016. New to the design industry, I stepped into the unassuming second-floor loft space occupied by Colony. With my then-colleague, we passed through this ethereal landscape.
Rosy pink cascaded from the white brick onto the floor, an orbed color block of paint trailing its bright color between surfaces. A sea of stark white platforms and plinths held aloft some of the finest furniture: things round and plush, with airs of buoyancy; others trim and angular, comfortably spartan. Textiles dripped from the ceilings, hanging lethargic and beautiful, softening the light that flooded through a trio of huge windows.
A small pixie with a blooming head of platinum blonde hair threw her arms up, star-shaped, in welcome.
Jean Lin, Colony founder and pixie, spread massive, tufted pillows out on the floor for our Tribeca Design District meeting. I took note of the set-up: this was no conference room, no mahogany table. And for that, it felt like home.
Jean and I continued to cross paths through the design industry over the years while I worked at a neighboring design studio: to collaborate on social media campaigns, to coordinate neighborhood-wide events, to revel in the work and in the play of design week.
Later, when I left that job, floundering and unsure, she took me under her wing. She grew me and gave me space to grow myself. She has become more than just a pixie woman, to me; she has become more than just her recognizable name, her hair, her business.
She has become an employer, a mentor, and, perhaps most importantly, a close friend. She still throws her arms up, star-shaped, for me and for other guests of Colony. She still spreads the massive, tufted showroom pillows out on the floor for our meetings.
The integrity of the space and the business she’s grown trickles into the integrity of the relationships she builds from it and out of it. I serve as evidence of this. Built from devotion to the design industry, devotion to the designers themselves; built from a love for this gallery and its orbit of industry peers and those mammoth, cozy Colony pillows…
Colony felt like home from the start, and it has manifested as a true professional homestead. I plan on staying put; under Jean’s wing, in her home of design, and comfortably on her floor pillows.
-Emily R. Pellerin
Austin is my hometown. It’s where my heart is — in its captive bends of the Colorado river, its modern-southwest architecture, the straw-colored waves of its undulating hillsides. The Austin design scene, though, is new to me. Visiting from NYC (my adoptive home) earlier this month for Coast to Coast, I discovered a design rootedness on the East Side, some old-school mastery out to the west, and some migrated talent beyond the city limits.
The Austin design story spoke of unexpected cooperation with the City, from building benches along the lake to recycling fallen and burnt wood. And it spoke to age-old engagement with the natural limestone produced all over and underground, used for the Texas State Capitol downtown, a civic icon and light, bright sunset foregrounder.
Austin is not shy about getting involved. It’s a city whose webs of creativity overlap and invest in each other, whose professionally and personally selfless networks are ambitious, yet boast a dose of the nonchalant. Where work-life balance seems to exist healthily, where beautiful work is made and beautiful community is forged.
Even when we moved beyond the city limits, studios showed us that, though they may have taken their kiln or their mill out of Austin, you can’t take that Austin spirit out of their process, their projects, their product, their persons.
The city is part of their story. And its design industry, in its laid-back selflessness, makes for a grand, true part of Austin’s own honky tonk tall tale.
-Emily R. Pellerin