Ben Medansky Ceramics
Los Angeles, California
Originally from Arizona, Ben Medansky studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and eventually settled in Los Angeles and began Ben Medansky Ceramics at the ripe age of 24. His work is inspired by the varied environments of Arizona, Chicago and Los Angeles - both natural and manmade - are the foundation to Ben’s creative inspiration. He is especially influenced by Brutalist and Modern architecture and industrial design.
Since starting his own studio, Ben has created exclusive work in collaboration with Herman Miller, the legendary Bergdorf Goodman, and world-renowned designer Kelly Wearstler, as well as creating coveted cups for the LA coffee champions G&B and Go Get Em Tiger.
All work is designed, crafted by hand and shipped from one airy workshop in downtown Los Angeles.
Jewelry by Heidi Abrahamson | Architecture For The Body
Heidi Abrahamson is the daughter of German immigrants who came to the United States at the height of the mid-twentieth century explosion of modern design. Her parents appreciation for architecture and design of the period was passed on to Heidi. While still in high school she found a particular fondness for modern silversmiths of the 20th century. She began collecting works of N.E. From, Georg Jensen, Andreas Mikkelson, Esther Lewittes, Ed Levin and others. The collected works of these silversmiths continue to be the inspiration for Heidi's work today.
At Indiana University Heidi studied fine arts and interior design. Leaving Indiana for Seattle, she began a career in visual merchandising for I. Magnin, The Bon Marche', Burberry's of London and other local retailers. A desire to create on a more personal level lead Heidi back to her early love of jewelry.
Heidi began creating beaded jewelry, but soon grew dissatisfied with what she saw as limitations of the medium. Her design sensibilities demanded a medium with which she construct and sculpt jewelry as modern architecture for the body. In 2003 she began working in the medium she came to love as child, silver. Heidi is also working with 14k and 18kt gold.
With just three basic courses completed in casting, smithing and stone setting, Heidi is primarily self taught. Her studio is open to the public and located in central Phoenix.
Sempli | Daniele "Danne" Semeraro
Los Angeles, California
Daniele ‘Danne’ Semeraro was born and raised in Sweden and moved to Florence, Italy in 2000. Here he completed his degree in Interior and Industrial Design at Accademia Italiana.
Over the years he has honed his skills working for a wide range of design firms: From automotive companies in Sweden to interior and lighting design companies in California. His focus has always been on product design and after leading as Design Manager for a top lighting manufacturer, he started Sempli.
At Sempli, Semeraro can fully showcase his true design heritage.As a contemporary product design company, Sempli’s design idea connects the best of two countries - Sweden’s simple functionality with Italy’s style and elegance.
While living in Florence, Italy, Semeraro discovered the essential role the wine glass played in the drinking experience. He then conceived the idea for the stemless Cupa-glass series, spawning the growing collection of Sempli products.
Staying true to the craft, the glasses are hand produced by the most skilled glass blowers. The swirling rotation of the glass is both entertaining and practical. First introduced in the market in 2002, the Cupa series is known as the original swirling glass- “the spinning original since 2002”.
Modfire | Brandon Williams & Marty Young
Modfire is the dream of two friends from Indiana, Brandon Williams and Marty Young.
Although they grew up no more than 20 miles apart, Brandon and Marty met for the first time when they were living in the Bucktown neighborhood of Chicago in 2005. They bonded over their similar histories growing up in small town Indiana and shared dreams of building a business focused on beautiful design.
In those early days, Brandon worked on custom steel installations in upscale Chicago loft spaces and north side restaurants. He founded a steel studio in Bucktown and turned out amazing one of a kind works. Marty spent his days consulting – advising other people on how to build and grow their businesses – and evenings creating steel furniture in Brandon’s studio.
Six years and several moves later their original dreams crystallized around a modern fireplace design and a warehouse studio in Phoenix, AZ. It was there that Brandon’s design and Marty’s business model joined to form Modfire.
That Phoenix studio was the incubator for the original Urbanfire prototypes – a blend of Chicago urban loft style and Phoenix mid-century architecture. Each piece was hand finished by Brandon. Today, several steel artisans work alongside Brandon and Marty fabricating every piece created by Modfire in that same studio.
Says Brandon, “I feel a connection with each piece that we make. There is great joy in releasing something new into the world – and no matter how many we make, there is still a little sadness watching each one go.”
“We never want to get to a point where we aren’t in touch – both figuratively and literally – with the things that made us want to do this in the first place”, adds Marty. “The enjoyment of watching a customer experience our designs in person never gets old for me.”
fferrone | Felicia Ferrone
Born in Chicago, Felicia Ferrone graduated with a degree in architecture from Miami University, Ohio, after which she moved to Milan. Ferrone’s expansive reach is informed by her early experience as an architect in Milan, where she was first taught to “blur boundaries.” In a series of positions with some of Italy’s most notable design luminaries, among them Antonio Citterio and Piero Lissoni, she developed her belief that all aspects of design are interdependent, that nothing exists in a vacuum but always in relation to the environment, objects, and systems that surround it.
Her award winning work is included in the Art Institute of Chicago’s permanent collection, is a recipient of a GOOD DESIGN Award, and her work is widely exhibited and published internationally. She is the Director of Graduate Studies in Industrial Design and a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) and previously an Lecturer at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago for many years. Producing and distributing her own work under her brand, fferrone, she also does commissioned work for clients, of which Boffi, The Macallan, and Volume Gallery among others.
Daniel Shepherd | Artist
Shepherd has exhibited extensively throughout Arizona, been featured in numerous publications and his work is included in private collections around the world. Shepherd’s abstract paintings are contemplative and minimalist in style. He refers to his painting technique as “Ambient Painting” working with bright and saturated colors that often collide with pastels or minimal abstractions becoming more expansive with a plaintive serenity
Finell | Rebecca Finell
Rebecca Finell is a designer, manufacturer and global distributor of neo luxe housewares and accessories. After studying Fine Art and Pre-Med, she received a degree in Industrial Design from Arizona State University.
The core values of Finell are: simplicity and smart design. It’s not a coincidence that their motto is “we celebrate simplicity“. As Rebecca said “our mantra is neo lux living, we create new utilities using an unexpected mix of luxury materials while mantaining the highest standards of craftmanship and quality. Rebecca creates only objects that she wants but can’t find. Her inspiration comes from nature and unexpected things like cars and even origami. She works closely with a small group of industrial designers who give life to products in which, different materials such as silicone, wood and synthetic paper (and more) are cleverly mixed. To give you an idea of their style
Founded in 2012, Bison Made is based in Phoenix, Arizona where a small team of passionate craftsmen (and women) create intricately constructed accessories for the man who prizes simplicity, heirloom quality and durability.
Every product is designed for life. Precisely measured and individually inspected, Bison Made products are constructed of the highest quality leathers, chosen for their rich luster and natural strength. Proudly designed, sourced and handcrafted in the USA, each design is engineered and tested to meet specific quality criteria. Bison Made uses no plastic, rubber, glue or lining to bring you goods that over time prove to be dependable, lasting keepsakes.
The roots of Iittala date back to 1881 when a glass factory was established in a village of the same name in southern Finland.
In its early years Iittala produced blown, pressed, polished, painted and etched glass according to continental models.
In the beginning of the 20th century dinnerware was decorated with a variety of ornaments. Iittala was one of the first companies to make the transition from decorative dinner sets to functional, aesthetically pleasing objects infused with progressive Scandinavian design.
The breakthrough came in the early years of modernism and functionalism during the 1930s and 40s. At that time it was pioneers like Alvar Aalto, Aino Aalto and Kaj Franck who led the development of the Iittala brand. Their belief was that objects should always be designed with thought and make them available for everyone. It was Aalto's and Franck's thinking that set the foundation for the Iittala design philosophy: to push the boundaries and to give people beauty and function.