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Workstead on Union Street

The Brooklyn-based firm lends its signature aesthetic to downtown Manhattan

Workstead, the award-winning Brooklyn design firm started by Robert Highsmith and Stefanie Brechbuehler, offers traditional studio services alongside a retail channel, where the company sells lighting fixtures (and, more recently, furniture) of their own design. Hired for this interiors project at Union Street in New York, Workstead combined choice pieces from their collection with furniture from Knoll, most notably Eero Saarinen’s Executive Chairs. Additional loose furnishings were sourced from Brooklyn-based retailers, including Greenhouse & Co., The Primary Essentials and Breuckelen Berber.

Union Street, NY by Workstead | Knoll Inspiration

Photograph by Matthew Williams.

For the clients, a family of three, storage was the main requirement, so Workstead created a custom unit to fit around the baseboard, providing ample space for hiding odds and ends. "The project involved substantial intervention in the form of new millwork, casework and carefully selected furniture," Highsmith offered. The aptly chosen walnut veneer creates a feeling of warmth, especially in the morning light. "Since the apartment was a newly-built hollow box, it was important to incorporate elements with a rich, yet modern sensibility."

Union Street, NY by Workstead | Knoll Inspiration

 

“Much of the furniture has hues of green and blue, which is why we chose the stunning set of Saarinen Executive Chairs to surround the vintage Danish dining table.”

—Robert Highsmith

Photograph by Matthew Williams.

The furnishings look to different epochs: The dining table appears angular and modern, while the chandelier recalls an industrial aesthetic. Eero Saarinen’s Armless Executive Chairs were chosen for their ability to tonally integrate with other designs. “Much of the furniture has hues of green and blue,” Highsmith explains, "which is why we chose the stunning set of Saarinen Executive Chairs to surround the vintage Danish dining table." 

Union Street, NY by Workstead | Knoll Inspiration

Photograph by Matthew Williams.

In the living room, Workstead’s Sling Chair takes structural cues from battlefield campaign furniture—like Joseph B. Fenby’s Tripolina Chair—easy to assemble and disassemble. In this sense, Workstead has created a flexible space, able to expand and contract according to the family's evolving needs.

Project Credits:

Design: Workstead
Photography: Matthew Williams

 

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Saarinen Executive Chair - Armchair with Tubular Legs
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Saarinen Executive Chair - Arm Chair with Swivel Base
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Saarinen Executive Chair - Armless with Tubular Legs
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Saarinen Executive Chair - Armless with Swivel Base