It all started with a chair. In 2008, Bridie Picot tried (unsuccessfully!) to buy one of Matt Smith’s sacrificial chair prototypes at a furniture fair. A few years later, when she decided to start her own furniture line, she looked him up, and the pair launched a collaboration that spans seven time zones and 9,000 miles: She’s based in NYC, and he’s in New Zealand—where she grew up. “We send a lot of emails,” Bridie laughs.
If a continental divide seems like a bit of a deterrent, you don’t know Bridie and her endearing—and enduring—sense of possibility. Heck, before launching Thing Industries in 2013, she’d never designed furniture before, but frustrated with the limited market for affordable, cool-looking finds, she got to sketching.
“I like simple pieces that solve a problem,” Bridie explains. “But just because it’s functional doesn’t mean it can’t have a sense of humor.” Take, for instance, that first chair…that actually isn’t a chair at all. It’s a place to toss clothes and bags—which is probably something you already do with some of your seating. There’s also a birdhouse-shaped shelf that bookmarks a paperback just so and a set of triangular tables that can be arranged this and that way. So what’s next? “More! I think I’ve got about twelve more collections just in my head,” Bridie adds. “So we’ve got to get those out.”—alex ronan
BEHIND THE SCENES
Get out of town (or at least pretend to).
Oh, yah, you can do a whole lot with a small space.