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Tagged ‘Audio Furniture‘

Audio furniture that fits “just right”

Our last few pieces we’ve build have been customized versions of our Princeton small audio credenza. We began customizing our pieces with the Standard, and wanted to share our original story from March 2014.

Originally posted March 29, 2014

We recently finished a beautiful walnut credenza for an audiophile client. Sean has a lot of gorgeous equipment, but he was struggling to find an upgrade to his IKEA shelving to hold all of it .

Brokenpress Audio Credenza

The “before” – an IKEA shelving unit showing way too much stuff

He wanted to display his Jolida JD202 tube amp and VPI Classic 2 turntable, while his other components including his Oppo BD83-SE Bluray/Universal Disc Player, Mac Mini and Xbox 360 were to be hidden when not in use. It was a Goldilocks story: at traditional furniture stores, the products were wide enough to fit the tube amp and turntable, but not deep enough for the Bluray player; they were deep enough for the Bluray player, but not wide enough to fit both the tube amp and the turntable. When he did finally find one to fit his specs, it was extremely expensive, and he wasn’t happy with the design.

After a lot of unsuccessful searching, he found the “just right” solution at Brokenpress Design+Fabrication. We came in to measure and view the components. At that time, we noticed it would be best to have the credenza not as tall as our traditional credenzas to make sure the cover of the VPI turntable had enough clearance next to the wall-mounted tv. We left walnut, cherry, white oak and birch samples so Sean had time to decide which species of wood fit best in his home. He decided to go with one of our favorites, the walnut.

brokenpress design audiophile furniture

The “just right” solution – a lower credenza to accommodate the VPI turntable and wall-mounted tv

With his previous IKEA unit, all of Sean’s components were in plain sight.  Now Sean has a beautiful piece of furniture which really highlights his high-end pieces while eliminating clutter. When he needs to access his other components, he just slides the bypass door and is able to access them. Sean chose to upgrade the interior shelves to walnut because he loved the wood’s rich color.

With sliding doors, the components are exposed only when needed.

With sliding doors, the components are exposed only when needed.

One of the unique features of Brokenpress Design+Fabrication audio and video furniture is cord management. We’re all too familiar with the pile cords stuffed behind any audio or video components. At Brokenpress, we take cord management seriously, creating openings large enough for clients needs, while not being overwhelming on the backside of the piece.

Brokenpress Design Chicago Audio furniture cord management

Adjustable shelves and multiple output options for cord management

Brokenpress Design Chicago Audio furniture cord management

Subtle cutouts for cord management

 

Brokenpress Audiophile Record Storage

All cords organized thanks to Brokenpress

Being such an audiophile, Alex wanted to give Sean record storage for immediate access near the VPI turntable. The shelves are adjustable, so if Sean’s storage needs change in the future, he has the ability to change the shelf height.

Easy access for some of Sean's favorite records.

Easy access for some of Sean’s favorite records.

Sean was very happy with his new audio credenza by Brokenpress. You can read his review of it on our Facebook page. Have questions about an audio credenza for yourself? Send us a note and we’ll get in touch with you!

 

Vinyl Storage for Audiophiles

Today’s article is a repost from 2014.

We’re big fans of music at Brokenpress. Alex has played music for over twenty years, in post-hardcore bands Hoover and Regulator Watts in Washington, D.C. and Abilene in Chicago. After a big of a hiatus from music, he’s excited to start playing again. My musical knowledge is limited to a chuck wagon triangle, but it’s always been a big part of my life. Together we have, and keep building, a great vinyl collection.

At first, our audio furniture and vinyl pieces came out of a need for storage, and has since evolved to be prototypes for Brokenpress designs.

Brokenpress Audio Storage Vinyl Records Chicago

One of our largest pieces created is a media library center which focuses around my father’s 1976 Kenwood KR-9600. This was the receiver to have during the monster-wars of the 1970’s. I have memories of hopping out of my mom’s car to check the mail, and hearing Dirty Deeds by AC/DC  blaring out of the house that was over 200 feet away. While it gathered dust in my dad’s basement for more than a decade, it’s now the centerpiece of a Brokenpress audio / media shelving unit.  It’s almost at capacity!

Since that piece is almost filled, where else can our records go? We came up with the perfect solution and married our love of vinyl with the need for more seating in our living room. Our bungalow has a beautiful front room with eight windows. The room is long with radiators flanking the sides of the room, making it difficult to put a couch near the front window.  The Brokenpress Design + Fabriction solution? An audio media storage bench. It’s following the same clean lines of the large audio/ media library piece: Baltic birch with white oak plugs, mounted on a steel base. The height is perfect for sitting, and the window sill can be used to hold your cocktail or snack plate when having a party and watching the new season of Mad Men. We’ll add cushions in the near future.  It’s currently holding part of Alex’s vintage radio collection, but we hope to have it filled soon with some great used record finds.

brokenpress-bench-web

Looking for some ideas for your own audio storage? Contact Brokenpress and let us come up with a solution perfect for your needs.

Functional Furniture with our LP Storage Bench

We’re excited to have created the Bukowski Bench – a hardwood walnut window bench that stores 275 LPs. This deluxe piece is only four feet wide and uses walnut throughout. That gave us the opportunity to create angled legs in hardwood instead of our traditional steel stretcher frames. This beauty was a fun one to create. Looking for something to custom for your home or office space? Contact us today.

 

Groove in the Lounge during the Fine Arts Building’s Second Friday

Chicago is known as one of the best cities in the world for architecture. One of the oldest structures along Michigan Avenue has been around since 1885:  the Fine Arts Building at 410 S. Michigan Avenue. It’s been known as the “Nation’s Oldest Artist Colony,” but that’s not how it began.  It was first known as the Studebaker Building from 1885 – 1898 as their carriage assembly and showroom. According to the Fine Arts’ website, in 1890, the Studebaker brothers added 4 stories for the Art Institute to the building, which helps explain the two styles to the building’s exterior.

Brokenpress Fine Arts Building Chicago

The beautiful 410 S. Michigan Avenue

In 1898 there was an extensive renovation, and then it became known as an Artist’s Studio building. Artists, sculptors, writers, musicians and architects used these studios for over 100 years. In 1961, the Artists Cafe  opened and remains a staple on Michigan Avenue with it’s charming lighted sign and counter seating. There’s free wi-fi, too!

Brokenpress Fine Arts Building Futility

Artists Cafe at 410 S. Michigan Avenue

Besides the Fine Art Building’s gorgeous exterior, it’s the restored interior which is definitely worth seeing. The elevators are original and still use hand operators; that alone is worth stopping in! You can tour the building alone or take a proper tour.

Brokenpress Fine Arts building chicago

Grab an elevator on the left

The Chicago Architecture Foundation offers a $10 tour the first Tuesday of every month.  If you don’t want to wait until August, then stop on by this Friday, July 11th from 5pm – 9pm, and explore all ten floors for free during their Second Friday Open Studios tour.

Brokenpress Fine Arts building chicago

When you’re there, be sure to take a hand-operated elevator ride to the 5th floor to see Chicago Custom Costumes‘ gallery space.  Vintage vinyl will be spun in the mid-century modernized lounge created by Chicago’s Brokenpress Design+Fabrication and Futility Studios.  Brokenpress Design+Fabrication’s creates stunning furniture using fallen Chicago trees, along with steel and aluminum. Brokenpress’ main focus is audio component and vinyl record storage, but this lounge will feature rift-sawn hardwood tables and the Plotkin hutch in addition to the signature audio credenza. With vinyl making a big comeback, people need a place to store their records. Brokenpress offers many solutions. Futility Studios artfully brings the garage into the living room by reconstructing vintage car and motorcycle parts as unique lights suitable for any home, grotto, or (man)cave. Together, they pair up wonderfully.

Groove along with vintage sounds in their lounge on the 5th floor from 5-9pm this Friday, and enjoy the studios and works of other artists throughout the building at 410 S. Michigan Avenue. If you can’t make it, the Brokenpress and Futility lounge will be on display through July.

Brokenpress Futility fine arts chicago

Don’t miss the  Brokenpress and Futility Lounge on the 5th floor

 

Showcasing Record Cover Artwork

Did we ever mention that we’re vinyl junkies at Brokenpress Design+Fabrication? One of the reasons why we love to design and build custom audio furniture is because we love music. It’s rare when a record isn’t being spun at our home on Chicago’s northwest side.

Brokenpress Chicago Audio Furniture Vinyl Records

Back when Reckless Records would use post-its for their album reviews

A favorite part of collecting records, besides hearing on early 1970’s monster wars audio equipment, is enjoying incredible album cover art. Maybe my background in graphic design makes me a little biased, but album cover artwork, notably from early 1960’s albums, are often works of art in their own right. To highlight that, we designed a record rail to not only display beautiful album covers, but to also let inquiring minds know what you’re spinning, as well as what’s up next. It’s form and function all rolled up in one.

Brokenpress Audio Furniture Chicago record rail vinyl

Les Baxter is one of our favorites – in both 10″ and 12″ varieties

Brokenpress Furniture Alex Dunham Clash London Calling 12" single vinyl

Who doesn’t love a Clash dance party?

We think our record rail is the perfect way to display album artwork that we even brought it to the Guerrilla Truck Show.

Guerrilla truck show brokenpress design furniture audio chicago

Esquivel and Man from U.N.C.L.E volume 2

Don’t have room to put a record rail above your turntable? At Brokenpress, we can make any size record rail in the wood species of your choice to match your existing furniture. It can showcase your favorite records as both functional and artistic pieces. Don’t think your record collection is worthy of an LP display? Pffft! Our record rail can be used to display artwork, too.  Want to find out more? Contact us and we’ll get back to you within 24 hours.

 

A wet & wonderful Guerrilla Truck Show

We had a great, albeit wet, time at last Tuesday’s 10th annual Guerrilla Truck Show hosted by Morlen Sinoway Atelier in Chicago’s Fulton Market. We were excited to share a space with Joe Wislar of Futility Studios highlighting Alex’s furniture and Joe’s lighting.

We were in the Guerrilla Truck show in 2012, and if you’re not familiar with it, the concept is 60 small moving trucks turn into pop-up spaces/showrooms for artists, designers and furniture makers for one night in June during Neo-Con. For the 10th annual show this year, there were over 200 applicants, and we were excited to be one of the sixty trucks selected to participate in the show.

While the concept seems pretty easy, there’s a lot of prep work done. You start with a blank canvas, er, empty truck, and the goal is to make it inviting for people to come in and view your work.

Guerrilla Truck Show Chicago Brokenpress Furniture 2014

This is what we start with

Since our truck rental was only for 24 hours, both Alex and Joe planned the layout as they loaded the truck with their pieces. The wonderful part of Brokenpress partnering with Futility is how the rich colors of Alex’s furniture mix well with the sleek chrome/metal of Joe’s lighting designs. Alex’s pieces have very modern lines from wood grain and steel and aluminum bases while Joe’s pieces uses tactile vintage car parts with bulbs that are best described as ornamental. There’s a definite vintage, mid-century to both their styles that compliment each other perfectly.

Guerrilla Truck Show Chicago Brokenpress Furniture 2014

Planning up the mockup

Guerrilla Truck Show Chicago Brokenpress Furniture 2014

Almost there!

The rain was intermittent throughout the afternoon, but we were ready at 3:30 to roll into our space.

Guerrilla Truck Show Chicago Brokenpress Furniture 2014

In the queue ready to roll in.

We had a great spot right on Fulton, in the middle of 23 other trucks. It was exciting to see the mix of art, furniture and design objects next to one another.

Guerrilla Truck Show Chicago Brokenpress Furniture 2014

Even with a gloomy sky, the skyline looks fantastic.

Guerrilla Truck Show Chicago Brokenpress Furniture 2014

Setting up shop

Guerrilla Truck Show Chicago Brokenpress Furniture 2014

We were ready right at 5:30

We worked hard on making the space not look like the inside of a truck. We wanted to create an actual space to experience our work. We wanted to mimic a living room, including carpet tiles, a chair and vintage vinyl records spinning on our turntable, hearing them through Brokenpress’ rift-sawn white oak speakers with vintage grill cloth. What were we listening to? You just needed to check out what record was up on our record rail to get your answer.

Guerrilla Truck Show Chicago Brokenpress Furniture 2014

We’re big fans of the Man from U.N.C.L.E soundtrack… Volume 2!

Even with all the people coming in and out of the truck all night, we never had a skip on the record! Our signature audio credenza featured a record stop, which made it easy to search for our next record to spin without having it shift to the back of the credenza.

Guerrilla Truck Show Chicago Brokenpress Furniture 2014

There was lots of interest throughout the night

Guerrilla Truck Show Chicago Brokenpress Furniture 2014

Rift-sawn white oak surfboard tables welcome you into the space

Guerrilla Truck Show Chicago Brokenpress Furniture 2014

Alex telling people about our bar cart prototype

Despite the torrential downpour, we met a lot of great people enjoyed our pieces, the music and our space. The only complaint from our guests was there wasn’t any alcohol in our bar cart! We had a great time, hope we made some new fans of Brokenpress’ mid century modernized furniture. Thanks to all for supporting our mid-century modernized furniture that’s handmade in Chicago.  If you want to see some of our items before next year’s show, contact us and to schedule a time to meet us.

Guerrilla Truck Show Chicago Brokenpress Furniture 2014

Alex and Secretary Ladybird™ braving the rain

Guerrilla Truck Show Chicago Brokenpress Furniture 2014

Alex and Joe

Guerrilla Truck Show Chicago Brokenpress Furniture 2014

End of the night. Looking forward to next year!

Brokenpress Press Release

Brokenpress Design and Fabrication Debuts Mid-Century Modernized Furniture for Record Store Day

CHICAGO, IL, March 18, 2014 Chicago furniture maker Alexander Dunham launches Brokenpress Design + Fabrication on March 25. Creating handmade furniture from his original designs, Dunham’s work offers a modern take on Mid-Century styles. His signature wood and steel credenza is ideal for audiophiles and the vinyl record resurgence. Vinyl record sales have increased 32% in 2013, and Brokenpress provides furniture designed specifically to store and display all that vinyl. Clean lines and cord management help highlight beautiful wood grains and component pieces.

With over 15 years of general contracting and furniture making experience, Dunham has decided to focus his energy into furniture making full time. His craftsmanship is second to none as he works seamlessly with rift-sawn hardwoods, veneers, and steel.

“The type of wood I use depends on the project,” says Dunham. “Most audio credenzas are walnut, cherry, or birch veneers to keep them lightweight. I use tung oil to bring out the wood’s natural finish. It really makes the wood sing. Tables and deluxe credenzas tend to be rift-sawn hardwood, because the quality, durability, and overall look of hardwood is like nothing else.”

Dunham is a longtime fan of Mid-Century styling and no stranger to music. He is a former member of post-hardcore bands Hoover, Regulator Watts, and Abilene; and has played guitar longer than he has been building furniture.

“I still have records that I collected on tour over twenty years ago,” says Dunham. “I continue to buy vinyl and build my collection, and want something functional and beautiful to store it in.”

While standard sizes are available, Brokenpress builds made-to-order pieces and will customize credenza sizing. That allows for custom height and widths to accommodate clients’ current audio components. The overall design stays consistent, but the subtle customization is what makes Brokenpress unique to the furniture market.

“Some clients need two levels of record storage, while others need only one for records and a smaller secondary shelf. I work with each person to find out exactly what their needs are so I can build precisely to their specs,” Dunham says.

The credenza isn’t limited to audio or home theater components, either. The original credenza design was for cocktail storage or as a traditional buffet.

Hardwood coffee tables by Brokenpress are currently displayed at An Orange Moon in Bucktown and Modern Cooperative in Pilsen. He can be commissioned to fabricate custom millwork from designer drawings and client sketches. Whether you’re looking forward to Mad Men’s final season starting on April 13th, the 7th annual Record Store Day on April 19th, or to have a modern take on a vintage piece of furniture you love, Alex Dunham’s Brokenpress Design and Fabrication (773-798-9908) in Chicago can help outfit your Mid-Century Modern furniture needs.

Website: www.brokenpressdesign.com