Suzanne Lovell Inc

Design

Skram Furniture Company

December 29, 2021

Altai Cocktail Table.

Altai Cocktail Table. The table is available in three models; all include a solid 2.5″-thick timber top with reverse bullnose-edge profile and a unique leg design in metal and carved timber.
Image courtesy of: Skram Furniture Company

When people think of luxury design, the word sustainability doesn’t normally follow suit. The Skram Furniture Company however is different. For the past twenty years, the North Carolina-based furniture design company has been quietly creating beautiful pieces. Throughout the industry, Skram is known for impeccable workmanship and minimalistic design. The company’s philosophy of utmost sustainability is a glaring example for today’s throw-away and excessive culture.

Skram forces us to reevaluate what “luxury” really means. In its basic form, the word goes hand-in-hand with attractiveness and over-the-top desires; however, the word can also allude to things that are valued. In such, those items are produced from high quality materials or constructed by artisans with a passion for their designs.

Saddlestool comes in three different leathers and three different wood options.

Saddlestool is a back-less stool that was inspired by Western saddle-making techniques and traditions. Available in three models, the different heights give options for dining, counter, and bar heights. The double-needle sticking in contrasting thread is one feature, another is a reinforced timber frame, and an oil-tanned leather pull.
Image courtesy of: Skram Furniture Company

The furniture brand was started twenty years ago by Jacob Marks, a self-taught designer who set out to create heirloom-quality, non-disposable products that would become a part of the family’s heirloom. The history graduate sought to design pieces that (courtesy of the company’s website), “explores the intersection between fine craft and modern design. Marks seeks to blend creativity and innovation with precision and attention to detail, resulting in timeless design.”

Marks quickly realized that the items he surrounded himself with were a reflection of his priorities… and priorities reflect character. In such, the 25-year-old designer realized that it wasn’t an “either/or” option; it was possible to have both structural beauty and sustainable design.

Skram’s L01 armchair is available in a few different wood colors.

L01 Lineground Armchair. This chair was “re-launched” as an update to Skram’s armchair that was originally released in 2006. The stunning ergonomic design maintains the same high-quality workmanship that Skram has become known for.
Image courtesy of: Design Milk

The company manufactures furniture for both residential and commercial spaces with the belief that “good design is inextricably linked with exceptional workmanship and sustainability.” Marks is omnipresent; still overseeing the design of each product in order to ensure the each piece is both elegant and environmentally-friendly.

Employing only sustainable products certifies that Marks’ philosophy carries through. For example, the timber used is responsibly-sourced from the nearby Appalachian Mountains. In addition, Skram uses non-toxic adhesives and low-VOC, high-performance finishes. Imperfections are not erased or scratched off; rather, they are embraced as they are what shows off an item’s beautiful character.

The founder, Marks, is still involved in each design.

Product design drawing.
Image courtesy of: Skram Furniture Company 

Skram operates from a 2,500-square-foot factory in Burlington, North Carolina with a staff of thirty. Over the past twenty years, as their fans have grown and their output has increased, one of Skram’s biggest challenges has been to increase production while maintaining the same level of workmanship. Now, the company has machines that perform the repetitive tasks that are necessary; but each and every product still gets human touch, and artisanal skills are still attached to the production.

Courtesy of an article in Design Boom, “‘The company is very different now to when we started, but there is still a focus on creating individual products that showcase uncommon levels of workmanship. We now operate at a scale that would have been unimaginable 20 years ago, but we’ve managed to increase our output without compromising quality or shifting from the values that the company was founded on.”

Arak 8-arm chandelier.

Arak 8-arm chandelier.
Skram’s lighting pieces feature individually translucent, hand-formed porcelain diffusers supported by blackened aluminum arms and a cast bronze hub. This collection is a collaboration between the Marks and Mimi Logothetis, a North Carolina artist that produces beautiful “innovations” by transferring hand-applied graphics to porcelain forms.
Image courtesy of: Skram Furniture Company

Certainly, Skram furniture pieces will not end up in dumpsters… everything the company produces is made to last for the long haul. Marks says it perfectly, “The joke around here is that if we do our job right, we won’t have any repeat customers because there is no planned obsolescence in the products we sell. In the simplest, most direct way, sustainability to us means building objects that add lasting beauty to the world. if we do that right then our products don’t end up in landfills and that’s great for us and for the world. I think on some level, our customers understand this idea and it’s the explanation for our success.”

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