Brent Delf

American

My career began fifteen years ago in NYC as a furniture designer for Ralph Lauren Home, following a BFA in Cabinetmaking from Kendall College of Art and Design. After becoming Design Director at Ralph Lauren and designing for other global brands, I had the good fortune to take a position developing furniture and lighting for Williams-Sonoma Home in San Francisco.

I didn’t know it at the time, but this move to the West Coast would provide the inspiration for a new aesthetic. While exploring Route 101 (‘El Camino Real,’ the same route the Spanish missionaries traveled from Mexico City), I spotted a historical marker road sign for Mission San Miguel. I was only vaguely familiar with America’s Spanish colonial past, but after visiting the mission, I began doing extensive research on the history and furnishings of the period—a fascination that would eventually take me on several trips to Northern New Mexico.

18th- and 19th-century New Mexican furniture is to me the ultimate expression of the art form. What the Hispanic and indigenous ‘carpinteros’ were able to accomplish with few resources is extraordinary. The West during this era was incredibly remote and had very limited trade with the outside world. It’s been estimated a shop might have only 10-20 iron tools. Improvising with the tools and materials on hand, the carpinteros created pieces with bold, sturdy forms and a refreshing lack of flamboyance, often leaving tooling textures intact. To the uninitiated, some pieces may seem primitive, even folksy. But in fact, the proportions followed rather sophisticated standards. You can also see a strong use of negative space, something furniture designers from any era are prone to neglect. 

Taking cues from this rich history and incorporating some modernist sensibility and function, my pieces have a streamlined, timeless quality. All prototypes are crafted in my San Francisco, CA, shop, mostly using hand tools like handsaws, chisels, and planes. Everything is made from high-grade, yet unfussy domestic materials like ponderosa pine, oak, U.S. leather, and U.S.-milled hemp fabric. And local and domestic artisans supply components like hand-forged iron fittings (Oakland, CA), upholstery (San Francisco, CA), and acrylic (New York, NY). 

Because your piece will be uniquely your own, we can work together to customize it to your specifications.

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