Meet the Maker: Aaron and Kenny of ATLA
Made to measure modern furniture, handcrafted in Boulder, CO and committed to the relentless pursuit of quality, all while investing in the future of our forests. Find out why we have fallen in love with the brilliant furniture designs of ATLA.
When we look at your stunning pieces, it is hard to believe they are products of a two man operation. Can you tell us about how your journey in woodworking and furniture design, began?
It wasn't an especially linear path. Kenny and I are childhood friends. He moved out to attend CU eight years ago, studied mechanical engineering, and began working in the University's machine shop. I was in school back east spending far too much of my time reading design blogs and falling in love with the idealism of mid century design.
I had an idea for a chair I wanted to build (a re-imagination of the classic beach sling chair) and had seen this stunning walnut and stainless steel table that Kenny had built. I reached out to Kenny about working together on the design and the rest is history.
What furniture trends are you currently inspired by?
All of our pieces are designed with an eye towards timeless minimalism, so we're less focused on current trends and more on ensuring we're designing pieces that won't age out of style. With that said, we are seeing a push towards localized production that we're eager to be a part of.
Everything we build was designed with an eye towards local manufacturing. We want to show that hyper-efficient small batch production can offer a cost competitive and far more sustainable alternative to global supply chains.
Tell us about your workshop, so we can have a visual of how the magic happens.
We're in an 1,000 square foot warehouse space up at the tip of North Broadway here in Boulder. We buy raw steel bar and source our wood from local suppliers. The bases are cut and welded entirely in house and our pieces assemble using a modular steel joinery system we developed.
We throw a monthly open shop party so people can check out the space and see how we build. It's the first Friday of every month for anyone interested in free beer and friendship.
We love that you plant trees for every piece made. Can you elaborate on that process?
We partner with a non-profit that funds tree planting projects across the United States. Every time we sell a piece, we donate to them to have ten trees planted. We joined them this past Earth Day to plant up in the Four Mile Canyon burn area. Moving forward, we'd like to adjust the number of trees we plant based on how carbon intensive the production process is.
What characteristic do you admire most in other makers?
That's a tough one because there are so many makers we look up to for such a wide variety of reasons. If we had to pick one, it would either be a commitment to quality or sustainability. We're not even sure those can really be separated from one another.
Meet Aaron and Kenny and see their stunning pieces at our upcoming Summer Market, August 4th and 5th in the parking lot of the Main Library, in the heart of Downtown next to the Boulder Creek path and the newly renovated Civic Area, and two blocks from the Farmers Market!
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