Behind The PiecesAuthor:Abigail Stone
Furniture maker and designer Cooper Reynolds Gross unveilsFeels Right, Feels Good
After a decade of creating pieces for some of California’s favorite interior designers including Vanessa Alexander, Jake Arnold, Amber Lewis and Estee Stanley, L.A.-born furniture maker and designer Cooper Reynolds Gross comes out from behind the curtain to launch CRG Collection, his freshman collection with iconic retailer Fred Segal. His first line entitled Feels Right, Feels Good, offers a unique selection of luxurious sofas, coffee and side tables, chairs, ottomans, a dining table and more, hand-finished and assembled in L.A.. We sat down with him to get a little peek into the line.
–What can you tell us about the new line? I wanted to create something that was truly representative of my studio. We’ve climbed the ladder of custom work. This line was an opportunity to create something that has our voice and speaks our language without enduring the long and intense process of bespoke.
-You grew up in Malibu. Can you talk about that city’s influence on your work? Malibu’s influence on my work is rooted in the intense connection between the rugged shoreline and the power and beauty of the Pacific Ocean. It’s a place of beautiful homes filled with beautiful things set against this very casual lifestyle. While I think that my style, like the water and the shoreline, is ever evolving, it pulls a lot from the monolithic nature of brutalism, the clean lines you might find in midcentury modernism and a lot of Shaker influences.
-You’ve had a long working relationship with interior designer Vanessa Alexander. Can you talk about her influence on your career. I came up as a furniture maker and designer working with Vanessa Alexander more closely than with any other designer and she’s had an immense influence on my taste. I truly believe no one does Malibu design better than she does.
-How did the collaboration with Fred Segal got started? My team and I were finalizing our designs for the collection wondering where might be a good home for us when someone from the Fred Segal team reached out. They were looking for an LA-based luxury furniture brand to be their launch brand as they step into the furniture space. It seemed very organic. It turned out to be a perfect fit for both of us.
–Which pieces are your favorite from the collection? I love the Ambrose reading chair (which comes in both left and right hand versions). Pairing it with the Frank ottoman, is just an exceptional combo. I actually have the original prototype in my garden. It’s not only held up beautifully, but it’s gotten better and better with age. Then, I’m a dining table lover so the F.R.F.G. dining table really speaks to me. It’s big, it makes a impactful statement with its floating stone top, but the legs and structure are light and airy. All the pieces in the F.R.F.G. line carry through with that same idea: they all use the same leg wrap and they all have that paw foot, which I started doing about eight years ago. Historically, the concept of a paw or claw foot has very ornate and detailed but I simplified it down to its core which, in a nutshell, is my design ethos.
–Why is it so important that the pieces are hand-finished and assembled in L.A.? Unfortunately, much of the furniture I see in people’s homes is surface level pretty but won’t last five years. While design has become more accessible, quality and craftsmanship has had an inverse trend. While the attention, care and range of materials we use makes handmade a laborious and expensive process, it also adds individuality to the pieces. Even two of the same pieces will be slightly different, making each one an original. Keeping the integrity intact, keeping it authentic and producing it in L.A. is a huge part of who I am and I always want to stay true to my origins.
–What is the meaning behind Feels Right, Feels Good? While I’d like to say that there’s a deep philosophical meaning behind the name, the reality is much simpler. When my team asked about my inspiration, I said that it just ‘felt right and it felt good.’ It was our working title and it stuck because it’s true: they’re pieces that feel right and feel good. And, at the end of the day when you’re hanging out on this furniture, that’s what it’s all about, right?
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