#35 Cute and colorful furniture by the Brooklyn carpentress, Sophie Collé
The furniture of your dreams comes to life!
Sophie Collé is a ~carpentress~ based in Brooklyn, NY. She designs and builds the dreamiest furniture. If you’re on Instagram, there’s no doubt you’ve seen her sweet loft apartment. She did that all with her own hands!!! I’ve been fangirling over her all quar, and recently found out she’s a friend of a friend. The world is so small. Let’s get to know Sophie!
Hi Sophie! Who are you and what is Sophie Collé Design?
I am 24 years old, mother to my cat Miss Cordelia Basketball, and originally from Maryland. I’ve been cosplaying as a New Yorker since 7th grade via Gossip Girl, so it was only a matter of time before I moved! Post-grad (Virginia Tech) I worked at an art museum and furniture and interior firms, and learned that working for rich people was not my vibe, so I started working for myself!
Sophie Collé Design is my brain child that I launched last summer. It began as a charity, accepting donations to mutual aid funds, in exchange for furniture. Since then, I quit my evil corporate interior design job and started building full-time! I design cute, unexpected, furniture in hopes of making people smile–but I also believe in addressing and dismantling income, sex, and race-related inequalities that much of the commercial design world profits off of.
How did you get into designing and building furniture?
I've always been an "artist" at heart, but both of my parents have PhD's, so I had to go to college. I studied industrial design, and my style was super boring! I thought I had to conform to the "industrial design" that my white, male professors deemed interesting. My studio peers were constantly interning at places like GE, and I was convinced everything I needed to design was to be made of steel or white plastic. Once I graduated, I was working at a contemporary art museum and realized that furniture could be art too.
Can you walk me through your process from idea conception to a finished piece? And what inspires you?
I don't spend much time on planning or engineering. I absolutely hate CAD and any sort of computer work and normally do a few hand drawings to get general form. I spend way more time physically building and letting the material tell me what it wants to do, because that's way more fun for me. Happy accidents happen a lot and normally become part of the design! :) I get inspired by anything that is fun—whether that be an old movie (my all time favorite is "Toys" made in 1992), plastic objects at my corner 99 cent store, or other makers online. Historically, I am most inspired by the Memphis Group, who as a collective were churning out super eclectic and silly pieces in the 80s. I aim to evoke the same amount of joy and discovery in my own work!
What are a few things outside of furniture and design you’ve been into lately?
Currently obsessed with my girlfriend's cat's kitten, the new tattoos my friends have been getting, and finding new parks for this summer :')
How can we commission a piece from you?
My books are closed currently because I am "restructuring" my life to be more healthy!!!
Any goals or dreams for Sophie Collé Design? :)
At some point, I would love to have some sort of free furniture workshop for young-ish queers, girls, femmes and nonbinary babes to develop craft and design skills in a safe environment! In college, I was super intimidated by the woodshop "guys" and always fighting with them—it made me not want to make anything at all. I want to watch all the young furniture angels achieve a tangible goal :'''''') Long term, I would love to develop that kind of programming further, along with having a brick and mortar space one day (and rely less on Instagram)!