When spring finally hit the Northeast this past May, I decided to head west. I was invited to attend an open house at the headquarters of CFC and Noir Trading, Inc., sister furniture companies located in Gardena, California, right outside Los Angeles. With my favorite (and only) son living in Los Angeles, it doesn't take much to coax me to visit L.A. The open house was scheduled for a Thursday leaving ample time over the weekend to spend with Jordan. I'll write more about CFC in another post, but this post is dedicated to the "laboratory" of Georg Baehler, the founder and creative mind behind Noir.
A woodworker and cabinetmaker hailing from Switzerland, Georg brings to Noir the quality and craftsmanship the Swiss are known for. Georg founded Noir in 2004 to bring artfully-crafted, well-designed furniture to the Americas at affordable price points.
I took this photo in the Noir/CFC Showroom in High Point, North Carolina during Spring Market 2015.
Georg personally designs each and every piece in the line -- and there are 1500 active items -- by hand, with a pencil and paper, in actual, full scale. It takes Georg about 6 to 8 months to develop a product for production. If one of his designs is copied by another manufacturer, it's discontinued.
That's Georg on the left, in front of his drafting table in his office at Noir headquarters. To understand what drives Georg's prolific creativity, and eccentricity, you have to go behind the scenes to the nerve center of Noir -- Georg's office (really a loft) at Noir headquarters.
Georg built the office largely by hand. And it's still a work in progress. It sits atop the business offices, separate from the more routine operational aspects of the business. The office is Georg's laboratory. But instead of beakers and bunsen burners, it's filled with collections . . . gleaned from lowly trash heaps to popular flea markets. Here are several examples:
An ethnic totem in front of art and furniture tomes. Notice the old camera and skulls.
A collection of wood, brass and iron candlesticks.
A collection of cut glass decanters and assorted bottles on the left and vintage typewriters, a vintage adding machine and movie projector on the right.
A variety of objects from vintage cameras to microscopes to weights and statues.
Many of Georg's collections become props for Noir and CFC's showroom during High Point market weeks.
Certain areas of Georg's office were captivating. Like his dressing room, below.
And here's Georg's desk area.
Here's a casual sitting area with a window overlooking the warehouse.
Here's another seating area with theatre seats in front of books and a Roy Lichtenstein poster.
And here's the "play" area -- a foosball table tucked into a corner of the vast loft.
The office is a collector's delight and reveals those qualities of Georg that are sensitive to minute details and to creating composition. From this hodge podge, I could see how Georg cultivated his aesthetic and where he derives his inspirations for his creations for Noir.