Minnesota is home to many an intrepid creative. I am inclined to think this due in part to our incredibly long winters, as the hibernating conditions here are prefect fodder for hunkering down to W O R K.
And so, a clothing line is designed, a blog is penned, a record is released, or spoons are carved. In the case of modern furniture designer and maker Marvin Freitas; furniture is built.
I met Marvin this year through his lovely wife Emily, a freelance stylist and photographer who does impeccable work around town for a roster of creative clients. One of them being my favorite shop, M I L L E. Located near my home, most of the groovy and organic fixtures at Mille were made by Marvin, and so stunning are they, that I knew I just had to write about his work here eventually.
I had the great pleasure of visiting Marvin in his studio earlier this week to have a look-see at his process and to talk about his passion and vision as a builder of beautiful pieces for the home. There was a lot of coffee and I got covered in sawdust.
Growing up, Marvin spent his time pin-balling between New York City, New Jersey, and Spain. He studied music and sound engineering, worked various construction gigs, played in bands, hung out in the same Lower East Side bars that Interpol and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs frequented and then met Emily. The two made the change to move MidWest a little more than ten years ago and have been humbly creating great work ever since.
Marvin’s experience and life show up as themes in his collection. There is the sophistication and slickness of the Lower East Side, the Bruce Springstein-esque hard-nosed work ethic of suburban New Jersey, and finally the organic rythm of contemporary Spanish design. Possessing a simple sophistication, his pieces are crafted with a pain-staking attention to line and shape. This piece-by-piece process does not come without considerable effort. Behind each deceptively simple form is a whole lot of time spent sourcing, curing, and selecting the optimal material for each project. Next comes the cutting, shaping, sanding and finishing until each piece – be it big or small — is absolutely perfect.This is all done in his workshop amongst a wood-burning stove, a wall of industrial clamps, a couple framed photographs of George Harrison and Jimi Hendrix, and piles upon piles of walnut, cherry, and maple. When I stopped by, Marvin was listening to spanish radio while finishing up the slim and sculptural side table pictured below.
Anything Marvin stamps with his name is blessed with a very special seal of approval. Below — process shots of some of my favorite Freitas products, geometric brass candleholders in walnut and his especially stunning triangle mirrors in a polished maple.
Ranging in size from 6, 12, 18, and 24 inches across, the mirrors can be displayed or hung individually, but are at their most stunning and impactful when displayed as a group. I love that they can be constantly rearranged — on a table, on the wall, laying on a flat surface as a display for a collection….. I can’t wait to clear space for a collection of my own!
The ficus in the Freitas kitchen was a gift Emily had received from a recent photoshoot. Marvin has christened it as ‘Frankie the Ficus’ and they hope to add more to their home in the coming months. Below, a detail of the stunning walnut table Marvin had made for their family dining room.
Marvin was commissioned last fall to create new works for a Minneapolis Kinfolk workshop. One of the stools used in the feature was in his shop when I visited and had developed a beautiful patina.
What’s great amount Marvin’s work is that is beautiful without being precious or inaccessible, and possesses a certain masculinity that makes it appropriately giftable for anyone on your list.
I can’t wait to see the new collection Marvin plans on releasing. I won’t give it all away, but I will say this — white lacquer, walnut, copper joinery, bowls, and larger-scale pieces may all be in order.
Head over and view more of Marvin’s work here. He is also available for commissioned pieces and is more than happy to help vibe-out your space.
/process photos by me
/product shots via marvinfreitas.com.