57st. design is a contemporary furniture brand based out of Chicago. We design, manufacture, and retail all of our work in-house, and all from our workshop on the Southside.
We believe in functional, straightforward design. We use solid hardwoods and hand-rubbed finishes, not just because they look good, but because they allow us to make furniture that can be easily repaired—that is, furniture that’s more likely to last. Our work draws from various design traditions, from American Shaker furniture to Scandinavian modernism to traditional Japanese woodworking.
In early 2018, we launched Design Circulation, a service to take back, restore, and recirculate our furniture. Design Circulation intends to create a system in which furniture is never discarded nor destroyed, but rather circulated from home to home in perpetuity. You can read more about Design Circulation here.
One Workshop. Thirty Years.
In the 1980s, while teaching at the University of Chicago, Chip Devenport started building bookcases out of a small garage on 57th street in Hyde Park. Relying on traditional woodworking methods, including dado joinery and natural oil finishes, the bookcases were visually simple but deliberate in both design and construction. They were meant to be strong, durable, and to last forever. Over the course of thirty years, 57th Street Bookcase developed a devoted following in Chicago.
In 2016, 57st. design began producing its furniture in the same workshop. We took the design philosophy that made the bookcases so beloved and applied it to furniture in other categories, from nightstands to dining tables.
We believe good design considers the means by which a thing is made as much as the thing itself. In this spirit, the best design should create value not just for the people who buy it, but for the people who produce it. This means fair compensation, opportunity for advancement, and and economic empowerment through skill-learning and craftsmanship. The long-term success of our company is dependent on the long-term well-being of our workforce.
We believe good design is good business.