by Elizabeth Coady
A pale orange sign stenciled on a stucco wall outside 4022 Ridge Ave. in East Falls is all that announces you’ve arrived at Edgewood Made production studios. The sign’s obscurity starkly contrasts with the industrial modern furniture-making that occurs inside this massive 7,500-square-foot space. And it reveals a disconnect between the co-founders’ ambitions and their quiet approach to selling themselves.
David Short and George Dubinsky met while studying furniture-making at the Rochester Institute of Technology. They discovered they shared a fascination with design bare of artifice and a desire to make furniture that mirrors nature’s organic lines and movement. They further bonded when they were the only two of a group of woodworking students who didn’t back out of an overnight hike to New York’s Mount Marcy in freezing weather.
“It was defining,” said Short, 29, who grew up in Titusville, New Jersey, and now lives in Newtown, Bucks County. “There’s this journey that we want to go on; it’s going to be tough, so who wants to come with us? And everyone bailed except for the two of us. So it’s kind of exactly what we did with this company.”
Edgewood Made launched in 2012 with the production of a single product, a porcelain cup with faux wood grain cup designed by Dubinsky. Short pitched him the idea of launching a company to produce the cup. “It was a little bit about the cup,” said Short, “but George is a really great designer, and I wanted to work with him.”
Though the two were intent on making furniture, they spent the first few years of their partnership developing a ceramic home goods line because of the smaller investment required. But four years ago they relocated from a smaller workshop in Kensington into their current space, which is expansive enough to implement an industrial furniture assembly line.
They bought a used state-of-the-art $50,000 digital fabricator, enabling them to produce high-quality pieces efficiently. “It gives you an advantage over other people,” said Dubinsky, who called the state-of- the-art machine the “new standard in production.”
The Edgewood Made furniture collection includes shelves, chairs, bureaus and dining tables that are manufactured with Pennsylvania hardwoods like walnut, cherry, white oak and ash. Their designs echo the unadorned styles of the Shakers and Scandinavians.
Simplicity and understatement are the goals of the duo’s furniture. “It’s not about over-the-topness,” said Dubinsky, 35, whose designs form the backbone of the furniture line. “There’s a humbleness to it and purpose.”
“The thing we realized was that all of our stuff is just really quiet, and it’s about, like, not being loud … ” said Short. It’s about just like calmness, quietness.” The pair have previously presented their ceramic home goods at the New York NOW trade show, where they learned through trialand-error how to stage their cups and bowls and vases. This year they won a coveted entree into Architectural Digest’s Design Show, where they were among 400 designers to show off their line to interior designers and journalists March 21-24 in New York City.
Thus far, the company has no sales team or catalogue. They instead rely on Instagram, word-ofmouth, wholesale and custom orders. They also generate orders through a showroom they maintain in Lambertville, New Jersey
“When we first started the company, we had these ideas of the capabilities that we wanted, and at no point did we understand the sales that were necessary to justify those capabilities,” Short said. “In order to really design well, you need to be able to make things and have this seamless flow … We’ve put a lot of time and money into this, and it’s very important to see a return on that, but there are core values that we have that we aren’t straying from too much.”
Short said they “never had much direction or plan … We didn’t even know how to sell it or anything … I was just cold-calling random places that I found on the internet.”
There is a full-time staff of five in addition to themselves to produce both furniture and ceramics. “A chair might take three renditions before we feel that it’s good,” said Dubinsky. “If you’re halfway up a mountain, there’s no, like, golden carpet [if you decide] I don’t want to do this anymore. You’re either going to fall and it’s going to hurt, or you work on not falling.”
For more information, visit edgewoodmade.com