What Inspires Our Creativity
We look to natural materials, modernist aesthetics and traditional
craftsmanship for inspiration.
Real. Traditional. Natural. Fun. Simple. Those are some of the watchwords of Pfeifer Studio. Our designs are useful as well as beautiful. At the end of the day, our clients
are specifying our products because they fulfill a need, whether that be a side table upon which to rest a drink, or a place to sit in a hotel lobby. We design statement-
making pieces with that in mind.
Delight & Creativity in Design
Handmade pieces that have an artisanal quality and can be created one at a time or in quantity, often for hospitality and commercial spaces, that is our forte. Hand-
painted and turned log tables crafted using traditional techniques for a lobby. Carved wood benches for 1500 rooms in a Southern California hotel. Side tables
for three dozen balconies in Dubai. Each piece is unique, distinct, and adheres to our demand for quality, authenticity, and minimalist modern design.
We want each piece to delight, because the studio has been a commercial venture since our founding in the late 1990s. We don’t do gallery shows or think
about our furniture as setting the world on fire, despite our successes. We design and create great-looking, functional furniture that meets a demand. Right
now, our sculptural end tables, solid wood benches and hand painted artist tables are in high demand. One day those may very well trend out and we’ll move
on to our next thing.Dedicated to sussing what’s going to be of interest to commercial interior designers and architects, we create within our mantra of natural
materials, graphic shapes and bold form. This has allowed us to respond to what our clients have wanted since our inception.
We love being off the beaten path, creating fun, useful pieces using natural
materials that show the hand of the maker.
The Design Process
People always assume that we are based in New York or California, but we are, in fact, located in Bernalillo, New Mexico, a small town of several thousand that has
long been home to lumber mills that sourced their timber from the nearby Jemez Mountains. Our location across a rural byway from one of these mills puts the
raw materials – giant pine, spruce and fir trees harvested from the Western forests of New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, California and Utah – within easy reach.
Initial design work happens in our crowded workshop, with our designers overseeing every aspect from concept to finished staining or painting. Large orders
are fulfilled in our India workshop, which we visit often. Pinning, paging through design magazines, and creative brainstorming sessions between our designers,
artisans and artists result in a wall of tacked photos, sketches and inspirational objects in our design office. Adding to the design board is a way to get an idea
out of our heads and into the creative mix.
Our designers in New Mexico have collaborated since the beginning with New York-based interior, jewelry and product designer Michele Cernoisa. Sketches and
questions fly to and fro over email, always keeping client's requests and desires in mind. We might also think about variations on what we already do,
considering the limitations of the wood. To do larger tables we need larger diameter logs, but we can’t get them. So how are we going to make a bigger table
and fit it into this collection? Do we try a different wood? Do we try a glass top? That all goes into the design process.
We also look to other sources for inspiration for new products; Mexican art and culture; the bold shapes and lines of the modern sculpture of Brancusi; the natural
materials, traditional craft and woodworking techniques we observe in India, Africa and Latin America; Asian minimalism; African art and aesthetics. We frequently
travel the globe to refresh and inspire our signature style. The first stop is always the museums followed by the artisan markets. A traditional Mexican folk-art
motif might appear in our next design as a carving pattern on a table, or a vivid abstractly painted canvas hung on a museum wall might inspire one of our
popular hand painted artist tables.
Our designers initially come up with an idea and then our craftspeople help us to figure out how to build it. We’ve been working lately with a fine artist here
in New Mexico who has designed a table inspired by one of her sculptures. Then, our artisans, either here or in the India workshop where about half our
products are built, help us create the finished pieces. There’s a lot of back and forth.We don't take ourselves too seriously, though. We’re not trying to change
the world or push the boundaries of design, that's part of the reason Pfeifer is headquartered in the Southwest. At the end of the day, we don’t want
to be in LA or New York all the time, places where design is most prevalent and where most of our pieces end up. We love being off the beaten path,
creating fun, useful designs using natural materials that show the hand of the maker.
Certainly, we’re influenced by trends, but we put our own spin on them.
We are always thinking about how to make something new. About what's next.
Our favorite designs are often the most recent, although some perennial best sellers, like the classically shaped Ring Stool Table are always close to
our hearts. But we don't get sentimental about past designs. We’re not driving the future of design or creating products that have never been made before.
Certainly, we’re influenced by trends but we put our own spin on them. We are always thinking about how to make something new. About what's next. It’s
the new, different and other that’s the driving creative force behind Pfeifer, within the framework of our cadre of materials.
Whimsy, Fun & Inspiration
Whimsy and fun also play a part in Pfeifer’s aesthetic, as well as practicality. Hand painted artist tables bring abstract and geometric color and pattern to the
traditional shapes of cube and cylindrical tables. A new piece in development, a side table made from stacked woods in different sizes and stains, evokes stacked
books in a bibliophile’s library, the Pfeifer twist on an acrylic table pinned to the inspiration board.
In this table, the variety of edges – some are curved, some straight, some slanted – is our spin on the original, now completely different and eternally variable.
Should it be taller? Monotone rather than several colors? The process between designers and artisans continues.
Whatever the final decision, the table will recognizably and undeniably fit the Pfeifer aesthetic of authentic, rooted in traditional, simple and modern.