Egg Collective, Furniture Designers

When Egg Collective launched their debut furniture collection at ICFF in 2012 — snagging a Best New Designer award in the process — they seemed to the design world to have come out of nowhere. And in fact, though the three — Stephanie Beamer, Crystal Ellis, and Hillary Petrie — met and began collaborating as 18-year-old freshmen at Washington University’s architecture school more than a decade ago, the truth is they had formally joined forces and had begun crafting an ICFF plan only six months earlier. “I remember the three of us sitting outside the Javits Center in our Budget truck, about to move in furniture that we’d been working on with no one having seen for six months,” says Beamer. “I was like, you guys, this is it. People could just walk by us the entire fair. But thankfully we seem to have struck a chord and the work resonated.”

That’s a bit of an understatement. In the two years since their debut, Egg has been showered with accolades — Forbes’s 30 Under 30 list, Martha Stewart’s American Made awards, and our own American Design Hot List, to name a few — and they’ve built a successful business despite the fact that their model — every piece made painstakingly by hand within the five boroughs — can be difficult to sustain from a retail perspective. They’ve slowly built up a client list of interior designers and interested individuals, for whom much of the work they do is custom. This year, they joined the New York showroom Colony and premiered their first licensed product, a mirror that appears to float in space (and was appropriately named after Ellis’s grandfather, an aeronautical engineer.)

It’s details like those that make Egg’s furniture so compelling. Every piece feels imbued with a personal history because of the care the three put into each aspect of its making, from the carefully chosen materials palette (lots of warm brass, bronze, and stone) to the fact that each piece is named after a friend or family member. When I visited their Navy Yard studio and asked if they each had a favorite piece, Petrie responded: “I think we feel too emotionally involved in each of these pieces to choose. When I look at a piece I know how many chipboard models were made, and how many long hours of discussion we had on it and the things that have changed with it. It’s hard to detach yourself from and really love a piece or really call it your favorite.”

We have a hard time choosing as well. Click through the slideshow at right for an introduction to Egg’s work as well as a better glimpse into their studio and process.