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Trender: O&G Studio’s Sara Ossana and Jonathan Glatt

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

 

O&G Studios founders Jonathan Glatt and Sara Ossana, among their works. Their fresh, bright furniture is catching the eye of national tastemakers.

Who are the Rhode Islanders leading in arts, fashion, food, and style? They're Trenders, and GoLocalProv offers glimpses of the people you most want to know on the scene. Today, Sara Ossana and Jonathan Glatt, founder of Warren-based O&G Studio. Launched in 2009, O&G Studio is hardly your typical furniture company--its colorful, post-industrial pieces have been featured by the likes of The Wall Street Journal, Martha Stewart Living Magazine, and The New York Observer.

Homegrown factor: Both Ossana and Glatt went to RISD and have lived in the Ocean State ever since. Ossana '05 earned an MFA in Masters of Interior Architecture and lives in Barrington. Glatt '04 earned an MFA in Jewelry & Light Metals and lives in Warren. O&G is also based in Warren.

Age of Ossana and Glatt, respectively: 34, 35

1. Jonathan designs jewelry and Sara designs theatrical sets & interiors. How did a jewelry designer and theatrical set designer come to the decision to start up a furniture business? 

We met in a "Welding for Furniture" class during wintersession at RISD; a short intensive semester where students are encouraged to take classes outside of their field. After RISD, Jonathan had a jewelry line and did custom metal fabrication on the side, Sara worked in the film and theatre industry and for several architectural/interior design firms in Boston. Jon's custom work was slowly leading him back to an earlier passion for furniture and Sara was constantly specifying and researching furniture for clients, but we were both looking for more satisfaction in our work. We had wanted to start a business together ever since finishing RISD, and the silver lining of the slow economy was that people and companies were excited to work with small start-ups. Rather than look for the perfect job, we decided to create it ourselves. We also have a mutual love of the past and the rich design and manufacturing history of the Rhode Island area, and felt that the younger generation of designers have a place in continuing a strong American design and manufacturing tradition.

2. On O&G Studio's Facebook page under "About," it says "Modern furnishings with an old soul..." Could you further describe O&G Studio's furniture?

Ossana & Glatt's distinctive use of color makes simple stools into lively art pieces.

Our furniture is strongly rooted in early American design and craftsmaship, but it is not reproduction, it is not an homage, it is an evolution. We strive for our pieces to be both familiar and comforting as well as innovative and surprising at the same time. 

3. Some of your furniture has wonderfully bright colors. What's behind this choice?

Color makes a huge impression, has psychological implications, the personality that an object projects can completely change by the color of its surface. Color can emphasize a form, make it blend into its surroundings or contrast. Experimenting and having fun with color has helped us stand out and given more traditional forms a 'new life'. When we began, a goal was to accentuate the graphic quality and elegant design of the beautifully hand-made Winsdor Chair. For our first color collection we focused on the basic building blocks of color and based our selections on the CMYK colors of traditional magazine and print copy, what you would find in a computer printer cartridge.

4. What is it like being artisans in Rhode Island?

It's great! Community, resources, talent, support, what more could you ask for. I don't know how we would have built our business anywhere else. There is a wonderful tradition of 'making' here that dates back to the Industrial Revolution. We are trying to revive that by always supporting local manufacuturers and suppliers. We only use American materials and try to source everything within New England or Rhode Island if possible.

5. How has reception to your work been so far?

Nothing is better than when someone says, "You know, this reminds me of..." and then they fill in the blank with the idea you had in mind when creating the piece. It is an affirmation that your design communicates and resonates with people in the way you intended. We have also been very lucky to be published in The Wall Street Journal, Real Simple, House Beautiful, Martha Stewart and others. Those articles have been key in letting people know what we do and what is important to us. It is also very encouraging to see a more informed marketplace that cares where products are made and the journey that they take from design to delivery in their home.

To see Glatt and Ossana's collection online, visit www.oandgstudio.com. To see the collection in person, drop by 30 Cutler Street Suite 204A, in Warren.

 

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