RAD Furniture: For the Long Haul
After completing his first year of graduate school in architecture at the University of Texas at Austin, Ryan Anderson partook in a hands-on summer studio where he learned to weld “and ultimately got the bug for making tangible things,” he recalls. That newfound passion led to founding RAD Furniture in 2010 “as an opportunity to create a business that bridged my design abilities and my willingness to get dirty and fabricate metal furniture.”
Friends and family were the earliest clients, but a decade later RAD Furniture, now based in Los Angeles, has evolved, striking collaborations with the likes of La Colombe Coffee Roasters, Sweetgreen, Patagonia, Warby Parker, and Harvard Business School. Along with the customizable, built-to-last furniture synonymous with the brand, the spin-off RAD Studio has emerged, a division that tackles architecture and design projects like a 1950 Spartan trailer transformed into a lounge and café on the campus of a Santa Monica tech company and the Venice Beach outpost of Intelligentsia Coffee, the roaster that initially reached out to RAD for its furniture needs.
Throughout RAD Furniture’s 10-year journey, sustainability has always been a pillar of its mission, not just from a holistic perspective that “addresses the importance of producing well-made products designed to out-live trends,” explains Anderson, but a logistical one that prioritizes ethical materials and practices. That’s why all of the sturdy furniture—most of the seating can support over 600 pounds—is made locally and largely from recyclable, chip-and scratch-resistant powder-coated steel. “The desire to use honest, efficient, durable materials informed our early use of it,” adds Anderson.
Much RAD Furniture can also be enjoyed outdoors, but rather than spring for the ipe and teak that often make appearances on patios despite generating environmental concerns, Anderson prefers eco-friendly Norwegian Kebony as the al fresco go-to, a wood “we could feel good about,” as he puts it, that requires no finish and little maintenance; white oak and ash, for indoor furniture pieces, undergo a low-VOC polyurethane treatment.
“Many of our designs today are iterations of products inspired by our clients’ needs, which often expose problems that need solving,” says Anderson. For example, when a customer was eager to feature plywood outdoors, RAD Furniture couldn’t recommend the material. Instead, the team sought out a green, functional alternative and then started producing its line of Solid tables with the plywood-resembling Tricoya. “It’s now a standard offering. The dialogue and relationships we form with our clients open up paths we otherwise wouldn’t have started on,” Anderson continues.
With a recent robust roll-out of nearly 30 new products, developed over the last couple of years for such bigwigs as Whole Foods, REI, and Nike, Anderson feels that “the variety of our clients has rounded out our collection in a great way.”
Radius, available in table, bench, and stool options, as well as the array of perforated Drum tables and the upholstered indoor/outdoor lounge series Square, are all ideally suited for hospitality settings. Says Anderson, “As corporate organizations have pushed deeper into the realm of hospitality-oriented workplaces, we’ve been able to do some fun work with companies we love and admire.”
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