A hundred years or more ago logging teams all over the American Southeast harvested Cypress trees, binding the logs into rafts to be floated downriver to the waiting wood mills. Sometimes the rafts would break up, and the ancient logs would sink to the bottom of the river, there to sit, inviolate and perfectly preserved, for decades.
Ironically enough, as recovery teams reclaim those logs for use, that beautiful old-growth Cypress helps rescue forests from logging today.
In crafting what the company calls its “Handmade Modern” furniture, Edwin Blue is one of several companies making use of this half-forgotten treasure.
When the Kansas City, MO-based friends Matthew Hufft, Clayton Vogel, and Jesse Hufft first formed the company, their goal was an environmentally-friendly product that supported the local economy. To this end, Edwin Blue furniture is crafted from locally-sourced sunken Cypress – 100% designed, manufactured, and made on U.S. soil.
Also important was something a little less tangible: the desire to emulate “a time that cherished beauty, quality and steadfastness in the world,” a time in which “treasured things were built to last.”
Edwin blue’s sustainable ethic is carried further with the use of VOC-free wood oil finishes. Where necessary to use aluminum, the metal is coated with a VOC-free powder that is also free of lead and solvents.
The furniture is not produced in a factory. Visitors find the company design and fabrication studios housed inside a century-old horse stable, and upon entering discover a bustling studio of craftsmen using both traditional old world tools and advanced technology. What comes out of the studio is solid, clean-lined furniture destined for outdoor use and designed to last for generations.
Edwin Blue’s inaugural line, appropriately dubbed Rise, is relaxed, low-set, and generously proportioned. Depending on what is needed, the pieces make use of sunken Cypress, FSC-certified Machiche (a tropical hardwood from Guatemala), stainless steel, and aluminum.
Typical of the line’s attention to detail is the chaise lounge, perhaps its most highly engineered piece. The seating surface is comprised of 44 boards, each of which are hand-picked before being individually planed, sanded, and finished by hand. The outer frame and backrest support are cut, machined, and hand polished before being welded together by the company’s craftsmen, who also machine all the aluminum parts before sending the latter to a local powder coater. The chaise lounge has four adjustable positions.
To complement the chaise there is also a lounge chair, an ottoman, and an arm chair, all of kindred make.
Edwin Blue also produces a variety of tables, all of which are built on a stainless-steel foundation and may be made with either the sunken Cypress or Machiche woods. There are two side tables – Low to pair with the chaise lounge and High to go with the lounge chair – as well as dining tables and similarly-designed bars.
Both dining tables and bars are produced in two, four, six, and eight-seat models.
For added comfort, Edwin Blue offers two types of cushions to go the Rise line: a sleek, “knife-edged” type of minimal visual presence, and a more classical box-shape. The cushions are locally-made in the Kansas City area and are available in six different fabrics, seen here.
images courtesy of Edwin Blue