Eric Chang is the creative and conceptual designer behind the high-end furniture brand, Hellman-Chang, which he co-founded with his lifelong friend, Daniel Hellman, in 2006. Completely self-taught in design and woodworking, Chang designs artisanal-crafted pieces that beg to be touched. The company has created designs for the residences of celebrities and the social elite, and their furniture has been used in the interiors of high-end hotels such as The Setai, The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, The Waldorf Astoria, The Ritz Carlton, The Four Seasons, and The Intercontinental, as well as featured in entertainment productions ranging from Sex and the City 2 to “Gossip Girl.” Chang is certainly at the forefront of Brooklyn’s design renaissance. Here are his Friday Five inspirations.
1. A well-made suit
You rarely see me without a suit on. Few things elicit a stronger emotional response than the color, texture, and luxury of a well-tailored suit. It’s the beauty in the details, fine fabrics, and craftsmanship that I look for.
2. Natural wood
Working with natural wood is inspiring and earth-grounding. The look, feel and smell always reminds me that it’s a living thing and the utmost care and consideration should be taken when sculpting and working with it. We’ve always designed and constructed our furniture from solid wood–respecting it with time-honored, traditional craftsmanship and finishes that highlight its natural grain and texture.
3. Brooklyn, New York
In my opinion, there is no other city quite like Brooklyn. It has become the epicenter of art, design, food and culture. Its pace is unmatched and you can feel the energy, imagination, and enthusiasm permeating from its neighborhoods. The vitality of this city is limitless.
4. Traditional tools and machines
Our vintage bandsaw hums away like a restored classic car in our Brooklyn wood-shop. Casted from iron in 1943, it’s a good reminder of what it means to construct solid, high-quality furnishings. True craftsmanship is a philosophy and skill built on tradition. We get down and dirty with antique hand tools like spoke shaves and our bandsaw everyday.
I rarely get to travel for fun these days – it’s always for work. Luckily I travel often and all over the world. There is nothing more soul stirring – creatively and spiritually – than experiencing different cultures, architecture, food, and people from all walks of life. There is history, energy and art in every corner of the world. One of my favorite destinations is Amsterdam, where their architecture and appreciation for design is inspiring.