Facebook. Natalie Portman. Wythe Hotel. Barneys CO-OP. Not only are these all infinitely cool (and a few of our favorite) things – they just so happen to be a small sampling of Brooklyn design firm Workstead‘s exceptionally prestigious (and rapidly expanding) roll call of clients.
Founded in 2009 by husband-and-wife team Stefanie Brechbuehler and Robert Andrew Highsmith - and joined by Ryan Mahoney - Workstead has quickly made a name for itself as an architectural and interior design powerhouse, with its reach extending across the U.S. to, literally, the other side of the globe (they’re involved in the design of the Levi’s flagship store in Tokyo). The oh-so of-the-moment Wythe Hotel in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, for example? Its entirely one-of-a-kind public spaces (The Ides bar included) were all their designs. And then, there are their totally unique light fixtures – the Industrial Chandelier, for one – that grew so popular so fast, they’re now sold in shops throughout New York City and Los Angeles (and, luckily for us, online).
We sat down with Stefanie for more on Workstead’s aesthetic, the firm’s trip to the top, and how exactly those amazing light fixtures came about (hint: utter necessity).
RLL: First off – we love your firm’s name. How’d you come up with it?
Stefanie: One night, we were eating dinner at Vinegar Hill House in Brooklyn, and their menu included a Farmstead cheese platter. I just loved that word, and mentioned it to Robert. I kept repeating it, then isolated the word “stead.” It felt like a very wholesome word, a word of depth and quality. He agreed. On a long road trip the next day, we passed time by thinking of words that would go with “stead.” Robert was the one who came up with “Work.” It was such an epiphany – we just loved it. We then checked to see if the “.com” was available and, strangely, it was. Such a lucky thing, indeed…