Brander Art Furniture is the artistic practice of daughter father duo Nina Brander and Robert Brander. The framing of our furniture as art is an intentional choice to allow ourselves the creative freedom of placing form equal to function. It is our goal that each piece is able to become a part of someone’s life, an heirloom to be carried with them, and ideally a daily delight. We hope to contribute towards a reframing of the normative discourse around furniture consumption and disposability through our work; and dream of using furniture as a tool to foster reconnection between people and their environment.
Our studio is located in the Sourlands, New Jersey. A machine shop and design studio are housed within the family barn. Surrounded by farmland and forest, the barn sits near the top of the Sourlands with views of the Amwell Valley. This studio view and the environment around the barn are key inspirations for our design. The colors used on our furniture are first seen in the landscape, the live edge slabs used in our pieces come from dead trees in the forest, and when we are not designing or woodworking one would most likely find us out in the forest or the gardens as well.
Other key inspirations and influences include the work of early 20th-century modernist master Piere Chareau, the renowned Dutch De Stijl architect + designer Gerrit Rietveld, and the vibrant 1980s Memphis Group.
Our practice is grounded by Robert’s extensive experience as a furniture maker and designer, and by Nina’s academic pursuits. Robert began his journey with furniture in 1974, at the age of 17, as an apprentice in the classical European tradition of furniture and cabinet making. Following his apprenticeship Robert attended Parsons School of Design, becoming a faculty member and going on to teach furniture design at the New York School of Interior Design while also growing his own furniture and cabinetry practice. After leaving Manhattan, Robert joined his wife Lise Thompson in the Sourland Mountains, continuing to refine and develop his craft and design style. Robert’s furniture and interior installations have been shown in art fairs, such as the International Contemporary Furniture Fair; numerous galleries, such as the now-closed Furniture of the 20th Century and the Gallery of the Applied Arts; and private residences across the country. Spending time in the shop and helping Robert throughout her life, Brander Art Furniture marks Nina’s first professional foray into the world of furniture. Completing an MSc in International Development from the University of Amsterdam in 2020 and a BSc in International Agricultural Development from the University of California, Davis in 2018; Nina’s academic work focused on the climate crisis, leaving fossil fuels underground, the low-carbon energy transition, critical theory, and inclusive development. Brander Art Furniture evolved as a dialogue between daughter and father to explore these theories through practice, developing a contemporary design practice rooted in place that centers materials and prioritizes degrowth.
Beginning Brander Art Furniture as daughter + father has been a joy that we are excited to share. Check out the collection or contact us to learn more.