MADE started in 2002 as a bold young design/build company based in Brooklyn’s Red Hook neighborhood. Founded by three friends from the Yale School of Architecture—Ben Bischoff, Oliver Freundlich, and Brian Papa—the firm rented space in a converted warehouse and fabricated its own millwork. “In the early stages, it was very hands-on and guerrilla-style,” Bischoff says.
Whole-house renovations now make up the majority of MADE’s commissions, rather than its initial smaller projects. The firm still designs and builds its work, but the “build” aspect is more of a supervisory and management role. “We very quickly realized our limitations as Sheetrockers,” Bischoff explains. “We’re partnering with much more skilled trades.”
Bischoff currently leads the nine-person company, as Freundlich and Papa departed in August 2011. MADE has expanded its original Red Hook studio space, transforming its production shop into a laboratory for testing ideas. Custom residential work remains a primary focus. “We find the kind of attitude and approach we have is well-suited to someone’s home,” Bischoff says. “It’s a very intensive involvement ... how people are going to live and inhabit the space is very important to us.” The company is designing its first all-new residential buildings—a pool house and guest house in Westchester County, N.Y., and a house in Red Hook—as well as its first large-scale commercial project.
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years in practice: 10 / projects completed in 2011: 4 / firm size: 9 / areas of interest: custom residential, commercial, renovation, design/build, custom furniture / portrait: Adam Golfer