Not too long ago, I sat down to a coffee at Stumptown and I couldn't help but admire the finely crafted wooden bar and cabinetry that lines the inside. It's so distinct, so clean; it's so subtle, yet quietly potent and powerful. Dying to find the creators, I did some research and discovered that it is the work of MADE Studios, a slick little local gem that Portland calls its own.
Founded 12 years ago by Bo Hagood and his creative business partner Tim, both alumni of Oregon College of Art and Craft, the studio is a manifestation of a deep love for a union between form and utility.
"It was frustrating," explained Bo, "that in school everything was supposed to be so conceptual. It often lacked function. So finally I said, 'I'm going to make things that actually work.'"
Don't think for a second though that by making things useful meant a sacrifice to beauty. The design seems to me the perfect marriage between ultimate form and ultimate function. Think clean, elegant lines, and sweet touches like custom veneers with the wood grain running the length of the piece.
I asked Bo what his most commonly asked for pieces were, and he gave me an interesting answer. "It goes through phases," he told me. "During the recession, people came to us with lots of interior renovation projects. But now, decorative furniture orders are back up." That seems like a good sign, I thought.
MADE works closely with Esque Studios, another fantastic local that specializes in glass to make pieces like these:
I also asked Bo what some of his inspirations were. "Most of my inspiration comes from hardware," he said. "I spend time just walking around in Wink's Hardware—do you know that place?" Yeah, I know that feeling, I told him.
Now I'm sure you're thinking, "If I were to custom order one of these gorgeous handmade pieces for my home or business, what would be the turnaround time?" Bo told me that it typically takes them three or four weeks to finish a project, but with shipping you can expect to wait about ten to twelve. Not bad at all.
Please visit their website for contact information and a full portfolio.