The Forage Modern Workshop is the new kid on the block in the design scene in Minneapolis, specializing in Midwestern designs and vintage curios. Their brick and mortar shop, opened on September 6th, is located in an up-and-coming area of East Lake Street, and I have to say, all the recent buzz around them has been well deserved. I stopped into the shop last week to see it for myself and meet the lovely faces behind it. We here at Rapson-Inc. are thrilled to have pieces of the Rapson Line in the mix of other great Midwestern designers. To top it off, Forage Modern Workshop is soon to be home to the new restaurant, Parka, a collaborative concept by the owners of the acclaimed Rustica, Victory 44, and Dogwood Coffee Co.
Below is an interview conducted with Business Manager, Rebekah Cook.
Forage Modern Buyer Heidi Smith and Business Manager Rebekah Cook
- I love the concept behind the Forage Modern Workshop. How did you come up with it? I envision a late night conversation around a bonfire, or has it been a project in the works for years?
The owners of Forage also own a general contracting company, Brownsmith Restoration in which they focus on Period Design. It's impossible to learn about modern architecture without coming across names of influential architects from the Midwest. They wanted to find a way to continue to tell the Midwest Modern story. Forage Modern Workshop is basically the natural outflow of their interest in Midwest Modern architecture and furniture.
- How do you see the Workshop growing in the coming years?
We really would love to see Forage become more of a idea shop/creative space. Really working to provide a community around design and educating people about the importance of supporting artisan, local, small, hand made, ethically produced products. However, we also want to be flexible to let Forage morph into what makes the most sense for our community and supporters. It's already been exciting to watch it get it's own personality!
- Along with high design and vintage pieces, Forage Modern features work by Midwest designers. What do you think it is about Midwest and Minnesota design that makes it unique? Do you have any favorite designers/artists?
We think what makes Midwest and Minnesota design unique is really the people behind the design. There's a sense of humility and respect in the way people like Matt of Eastvold Furniture and Chris and Jessica of Squared Furniture, have in their interactions. Also - their design, to us, comes more out of a sense of "people and place". It's grounded. Its beautiful design thats functional. If you come in to our store or look on our website, you'll find our favorites. We are carrying a curated collection of pieces we really love.
- I am a big fan of the Twin Cities. What would you say sets Mpls/StP apart from other American cities?
Where do we start? The Twin Cities are approachable. The cost of living allows for artists and young entrepreneurs to put their dreams into reality. Great music comes from here. The weather. The work ethic. The lakes. The Walker. The Guthrie. The architecture - from Art Deco downtown St. Paul to the Midcentury gems in Golden Valley. We could go on and on and on.
- I saw you featured a picture of the Rapson Rocker by LOLL in your blog piece about the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF). Was that the first time you came across the Rapson-Inc line? And now that you have one in your showroom, what do you think of it?
No. We've been admirers of Ralph Rapson, Rapson - Inc, and Loll for quite some time. We actually couldn't get the Rapson Rapson by LOLL in our showroom quick enough! We love the chair. What's NOT to love?! Beautiful design, functionality, color options, comfort. It's got it all!
- By reading your personal profiles on the Forage Modern website, I can see that you all share a love and understanding for the importance of the built environment in our lives. Happily, Ralph Rapson is steadily gaining recognition as a major 20th century modern architect. Of the Rapson designed buildings, do you have any favorites?
Cast Study Number 4. Hands down.