A Moment with…Ennis McIntosh

we dropped into the Lower East Side studio of friends, woodworking collaborators and all-around solid guys Sean Ennis and Angus McIntosh of the design firm Ennis McIntosh to, literally, talk shop. (their client list includes Soho’s Saturdays Surf and Montauk’s Moby Dick’s restaurant.)
So what were you guys like growing up?
Sean: I grew up in Connecticut. I was always skateboarding and drawing.
Angus: I grew up in Sydney, Australia, surfing. I spent a lot of time in the water.

Were carpentry and design always part of the plan?
Sean: I never planned on being a carpenter, but I did study illustration and design in school.
Angus: I’ve always worked with my hands. My grandfather was a carpenter, so it has always interested me.

How did you guys meet?
Sean: We met through mutual friends in New York. We used to pass off carpentry jobs to each other. We eventually realized we could capitalize if we worked together. We started Ennis McIntosh back in January 2012.

You have such a cool studio with great light here on the Lower East Side. How did you find it?
Angus: Sean lives around the corner from the studio, but our good friend Jason Woodside’s art studio is right next door. He clued us in to the space and we jumped on it. The light in here is almost too good. You see every detail, every imperfection. It can drive you crazy.

What’s the best part of doing what you guys do?
Sean: Being in an environment that’s constantly pushing boundaries of design and creativity makes us try that much harder. We’re constantly inspired by what’s around us.
Where does the wood you use in your projects come from?
Angus: We get our wood from all over, mostly upstate New York, Rhode Island, Connecticut. There’s a great yard out in Orefield, Pennsylvania, owned by this guy Kenny. He’s a legend.

How does your creative process start?
Sean: It starts with a mood board: We’ll begin drawing, put pencil to paper and start developing an idea. Our first conversations are always about the inspiration.

You’ve worked with clients like Converse®, Acne, Saturdays Surf. Is there anything you’ve done lately that you’re really proud of?
Sean: We made a table using the original wood floor from a building’s elevator that used to lift horses back in the 1800s. That really stands out in my mind.

Anyone you’d like to team up with?
Sean: It would be great to collaborate with one of the art museums here in NYC. Or maybe with an artist to create a large-scale installation for something like Burning Man or Art Basel in Miami.

Let’s talk personal style. You guys are on site a lot and always using your hands…
Sean: I usually wear the same thing if I’m working or not. I’m always in jeans and Vans®.

What are your plans this summer?
Angus: We currently are working on furnishings for the backyard of the Soho Grand Hotel. It’s a great outdoor space on West Broadway. Stop by for a beer and check out our work.

Photography by Justin Chung.

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