Plenty Design Co Op Excellent And Useful
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Plenty Design Co-Op: Excellent and Useful

A Lewis designer and the lead architect for Lewis' new downtown Birmingham office space make beautiful furniture together… and Dwell — one of the country's leading journals of modern architecture and design — takes notice.

In 2013, Lewis designer Andrew Thomson and Williams Blackstock architect Jared Fulton started Plenty Design Co-Op as a way to put their degrees and creativity to work. And, as Thomson says, “just to make some furniture.” But the hobby has garnered them some national attention.

Dwell magazine’s May 2015 story, Made in the USA features Plenty as Alabama’s representative of diverse and dynamic work. The Tall and Small Stools aren’t what one might expect to see coming out of Alabama where down-home, rustic woodworking and traditional craftsmanship prevail.

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Combining modern design and functionality, the angle of the stools’ legs are very intentionally 10-degrees to provide a sturdy base without wasting materials. And the red-tipped feet “were inspired by imagery of a flood line that stains everything below the high watermark.” Thomson and Fulton carry this distinctly modern-yet-warm style throughout their work, driven by sustainability, affordability, and good looks. To quote the pair, “We design and build because we're driven by the dream of the excellent and the useful.”

Thomson’s background in Industrial Design plays out in the clean-lined Honey Dip Chair — two chairs made from one piece of plywood. As Fulton explains, “we weren’t really into the trend of using pallet wood or reclaimed wood. We wanted to make clean, modern furniture.”

“We build because we're driven by the dream of the excellent and the useful.” — Andrew Thomson

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As an architect at Birmingham-based Williams Blackstock Architecture, Fulton is lead designer of Lewis Communications’ new office project — renovating and repurposing a historic building in downtown Birmingham. Fulton has worked closely with Lewis President and CEO Larry Norris to ensure an environment that will “hold onto that period without replicating it,” moving history into the future.

A graduate of Auburn’s Rural Studio Program, Fulton is prepared for the task: His Rural Studio team built the new Antioch Baptist Church in Perry County, Alabama, using 75 percent of their materials from the original church.

Despite orders rolling in for Plenty Design products, they don’t plan to quit their day-jobs. For Thomson, it’s a noble calling: “I like modern furniture. That’s my motivation. What I enjoy is promoting contemporary and modern approaches to making it affordably.”

For more information on Plenty — and to purchase some of their outstanding work — visit plentydesigncoop.com.

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Russell Hehn
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