Design Duo Hellman-Chang Crafts Brooklyn’s Renaissance Furniture Movement

MB image 4Image: Hellman-Chang.

In the competitive world of American design, Hellman-Chang reflects the principles of modern furniture with an alluring combination of style and substance. At the helm of this expanding brand are Daniel Hellman and Eric Chang, two lifelong friends that moved to Brooklyn, New York because it was the only place that allowed them the space to build furniture on their nights and weekends while working day jobs at the same time. Embracing the handmade culture of the area, the tenacious entrepreneurs used their new locale to turn a childhood dream into reality.

Avery-Chair-espresso_2featuredImage: Hellman-Chang.

Since its official inception in 2006, Hellman-Chang has developed a reputation for artisanal craftsmanship, offering a range of contemporary solid wood essentials. Each piece is romantic and functional at the same time—the seductive arcs of the Avery Chair, the striking Swarovski crystals hidden within the Crystal Omni Side Table, and the elegant Anora Lamp.

Z-Pedestal-Ebonized1Image: Hellman-Chang.

The Z Pedestal Table reflects the duo’s intent to produce heritage-based pieces, while the Hayden Bed comes equipped with a distinctive leaning headboard, showcasing the brand’s streamlined yet luxurious approach. Principles of light and shadow are explored with the Parker Dining Table, using a low-profile circuit of glass within the surfboard shape top and hand-carved pedestal base.

Parker-Dining-Table-Slate-Oak-HP-02Image: Hellman-Chang.

Establishing a solid design brand has allowed Hellman-Chang to cater to a diversified clientele. Starting with residential properties, the savvy team has had pieces featured in renowned hotels including The Waldorf Astoria, The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, and The Four Seasons. The ripple effect soon had Hollywood beckoning with lucrative offers. The Z Side Table and the Z Round Table, both in deep sapele high polish, were featured in “Sex and the City 2.” T.V. shows, Gossip Girl and The Tudors were also keen to highlight the brand’s offerings. Partnering with Italian menswear brand Canali for its Fall 2013 advertising campaign, the duo can be seen elegantly dressed in formal suits while operating old-world hand-tools. This “men at work” approach effectively captured both their personal style and custom building sensibility.

MB image 1Image: Hellman-Chang.

Visiting the Hellman-Chang studio in Brooklyn today, the special bond between this self-made duo becomes quite apparent. The synergy of their partnership is captured by the 13-foot dining table designed with Piero Lissoni, conveniently used as an office desk. From there, Hellman (technical designer) and Chang (creative director) balance the feat of managing the business side of the brand along with collaborating one-on-one with their team. This hands-on approach seems to be a tenet practiced in all facets of the business. Walking through the impressive 11,000-square-foot space, a labyrinth of designated spaces and specialized tools, one immediately realizes that this is unquestionably a labor of love. The term “design as you go” is palpable as both Hellman and Chang thrive on an organic relationship with their team – remarking on technical progressions, manually adding their own ideas, and assessing finishing touches.

As Hellman-Chang strengthens their brand association with style, fashion, and pop culture, they remain steadfastly loyal to their beginnings. Having outlasted a bevy of competitors through the years, the self-made duo credits their steady trajectory to old-fashioned perseverance. With their design roots firmly established in Brooklyn, Chang stresses the importance of their humble beginnings, “We had cut our teeth in Brooklyn and learned from the other artisans, woodworkers, cabinetmakers and sculptors that we shared our shop space with. Early in our career, it helped us identify who we were as designers, and as craftsmen, and what we stood for.”