We recently interviewed Eric Chang, co-founder of Hellman-Chang, a Brooklyn-based furniture line founded by lifelong friends (since the age of ten), Daniel Hellman and Eric Chang.
Eric Chang, of Hellman-Chang
Dan Hellman, of Hellman-Chang
In a short six years, the self-taught duo has come to lead and embody the “Brooklyn Renaissance” movement with their artisanal, hand-made culture and bold, sleek design and has come to the forefront of the ultra-luxury furniture industry. All of their pieces are crafted in their 11,000 square foot studio in Bushwick, Brooklyn.
We hope you enjoy learning more about the line, in our interview below with Eric himself...
What would you cite as your major influence?
For me, I'm more concerned about how design makes you feel - I'm driven to emotionally connect with people, using furniture and design as our medium. I often look at other industries or leaders that are exemplary in their own brands and designs, such as the fashion industry with Ralph Lauren or Tom Ford, and the automobile industry with Elon Musk or Aston Martin. They remain at the pinnacle and are both cutting edge, yet timeless.
How would you describe Hellman-Chang’s design philosophy?
There is a strong sense of sculpture and time-honored craftsmanship in each of our designs. We invite our clients to touch, interact and connect with our pieces from all angles. Everything must be unique yet timeless - achieved through a discipline of proportion, simple silhouettes, and sophisticated finishes. It's a fine line to balance.
Ultimately, a Hellman-Chang piece is an investment that can be handed down through generations.
What is your favorite part of working with Designers?
It's always fascinating to see how talented interior designers use our pieces within their own environments. It's refreshing, inspiring and eye opening. It also helps expand our collections - for example, the sales and reaction from our first lounge chair, the Tao, encouraged us to reinterpret it as a dining chair and now into a bar stool, counter stool and daybed. Working with interior designers makes us better designers and creates a fulfilling partnership that allows our line to grow organically.
Do you have any style predictions for 2017?
I think mixing materials, finishes and new textiles will remain a staple in our industry. I love how metals, glass, stone and wood interplay with each other and highlight the unique beauty of the individual materials. There are already color trends occurring, like copper for metals and deep emerald tones for plush textiles. Even mixing different sheens of the same finish in one piece - like our Lucid Cocktail Table with an optional slate oak matte frame paired with a high-polish shelf.
Luxury will always be about materials, how they feel and how they complement one another.
What is your current favorite piece that you sell?
One of our most popular pieces continues to be the Z Dining Table. It became an instantly recognizable design and is also is extremely customizable, including multiple options for the top, edge, base and extension pieces. I love seeing the variations we’ve made for interior designers - I'm still in awe of what they come up with.
I'm particularly proud of our Lin Dining Table, which is one of the only dining tables on the market that can seamlessly expand from 10’ to 18’ (and fully customizable in-between).
I also have an affinity for our Avery Chair and Paloma Sofa, our first dining chair and sofa designs.
Paloma Sofa from Hellman-Chang
We aimed to make a statement and hoped to create iconic designs for these pieces, which required four years of research and design to bring to life. It's all worth it when we see our clients' reactions.
If there was one thing you would want people to know about Hellman-Chang, what would it be?
Our mission from the beginning was to show that some of the best furniture designs and fabrication in the world could come from Brooklyn, New York. It doesn't have to come from Italy or Paris. It's important to us that we are not an assembly line - we employ the top master craftsmen, and each piece is made almost completely start to finish by one person at a time. The builder who pulls the lumber off the rack to start a piece is the same builder who hand punches the unique ID tag at the end of the project. Each piece is a point of personal pride and a labor of love for our team.