57st. design

contemporary design | chicago made

Why We Make in Chicago

57st. design


It’s efficient. (And we’re a little sentimental.)

The story of making in Chicago is twofold. It reflects, on the one hand, a love and appreciation for the city and its industrial history. On the other, it reflects our interest in building a smart, efficient, and consumer-focused business.

Our idea was to make beautiful, expertly-crafted design accessible, in a way we hadn’t seen anywhere else. Our furniture would be simple, considered, and built-to-last—and it would be fairly priced. We would use sustainably-harvested American hardwoods—partly because they’re beautiful, partly because it’s good for the environment. We would observe fair labor practices—because it’s the right thing to do, and because good craftsmanship requires workers who are treated well. And, unlike most furniture manufacturers, we would finish all of our woodwork by hand.

To achieve this, we discovered, we had to make our work ourselves, and we had to make our work in Chicago.


Manufacturing our work in the same place we design it affords us critical advantages:

For one thing, we’re flexible. Rather than keeping a massive amount of inventory, each piece can be made-to-order—without a multiple-month lead time. For another, we’re fast. We can test and adjust our designs within the course of a few days. Mostly, we’re cost-efficient—without distributors or third-party retailers, we’re able to sell our work at a price-point that reflects the true cost of the piece. (We’re especially proud of this last part.)

We do everything in-house. It’s a lot of work, but it enables us to be the business we want to be.


Most Chicagoans are avid Chicago-evangelists; they’ll sing the praises of Chicago to anyone who will listen. We’re no different. We love Chicago. And we want to contribute to the local economy. This city has a long, storied history of making things, for better and—sometimes—for worse. (See: the Stockyards.) We want to celebrate that history, and, hopefully, create a few jobs in the process.

 

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