Grange Factory Tour: Furniture Production Line March 09 2015 3 Comments


Furniture design holds a very special place in my heart. My fascination with furniture design began back when I was a freshmen at Pratt Institute. I was assigned to design a foldable chair that could be transported on the often busy and crowded 6 train in NYC. It had to be made from simply a single sheet of cardboard. No fasteners and had to bear weight.  Until that moment it was a mystery to me about the design process of products especially furniture and my professor opened up my eyes to a whole new realm that I never knew existed.  After that project I never saw product design or furniture the same!



Despite studying industrial design and furniture design in college, honing my very rudimentary wood shop skills at Pratt, and being a designer in the real world for quite some time I very rarely get to see production lines. After finding out that I had won the trip to France with Grange I was not only excited to visit Paris and attend Maison + Objet but the thought of seeing an actual production line made me giddy beyond belief. That probably sounds totally design nerdy but its true!



I had no clue what to expect after getting off the TGV train in Lyon. Myself and a handful of other Grange guests boarded a bus and started our journey to the Grange factory in a small town about an hour outside of Lyon. The ride was idyllic. Snow covered mountains, pastures with farm animals, and the snow fell lightly as we wound our way into the mountains. So picturesque! When we finally got to the Grange offices we were welcomed into a pristine factory where we saw the production process right before our very own eyes. Lets take a step inside!



Despite a lot of things going on in the factory everything had its own home and was extremely organized.  The first photo shows a shelve full of jigs to help the Grange workers make precise cuts. Before the wood is turned into heirloom quality pieces of furniture that will last for generations it is prepped. I was surprised that despite all of the activity there was pretty much zero saw dust everywhere. Grange sure keeps a clean shop!



Here is a piece pre-staining and painting. How beautiful is the form even without the final finishing colors touches?  Every piece of Grange furniture touches a myriad of hands before going to its forever home.   Every piece that I saw is made with precision and care.



I was surprised to learn that all of the pieces are distressed by hand. This woman had an arsenal of tools are her disposal to give the Grange pieces its signature look.



Hanging out in the drying rack. For every various color or stain that is applied it must be completely dried before adding another. 



It was fascinating to see this worker tape off the legs of this table and hand apply the black paint. Something so simple involved so many steps. I admired his patience!



Before the pieces are shipped off they are checked at the quality control station. I loved that they had a small sign that translates to English to "The Customer is Right" This can be a hard part of being a designer sometimes, believe me I know!


Checking the finish, this one looks like it is good to go. I love the lion head pulls!


A huge thank you to Grange for having me as their guest in their factory and the opportunity to share with my readers!