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Diana Bitting | Photo: Katrina Wittkamp | April 9, 2013
A masterful metalworker melds his talents with a seasoned woodworker for a match made in... Pilsen.
Longtime friends Aaron Pahmier of Green Sawn and Bladon Conner of Bladon Conner Design Studio have made it official: They’re pairing off professionally. And their Round Extension table, under the new collective name Aaron Bladon (aaronbladon.com), is the best of both worlds. “The base is like a drum that opens to two big Cs,” describes Lisa Heinz of Cityspace Design, who recently collaborated with the talented twosome to find a furniture solution for a high-rise residential project. Her clients purchased the home as a fun, city escape. “Most of the time, it’s just the two of them,” she explains. “But they have three grown kids, so when the family’s all here, this works perfectly—just add leaves!”
To knock one out of the ballpark this early in their partnership isn’t such a feat for the boys, given their resumes and laundry list of loyal industry royalty like Summer Thornton, Jennifer Martell and Nicholas Moriarty, but they are still pretty stoked. “It’s become one of our most popular pieces,” says Conner. A Mississippi native formally educated in architecture, Conner first developed an affinity for vintage furniture through photography. He chiseled his craft while remaking pieces for retail at Scout, Haus and Post27 before going at it alone. “He quit his full-time gig as an architect to go solo,” Pahmier says of Conner, “and I ended up renting a studio across the hall from him in Logan Square. We were constantly giving each other feedback and business advice.”
Once a local artisan baker, Pahmier turned to furniture making after an epiphanic trip to the Old World wonder that is France. Now he puts his applied arts background to good use, easing into whichever role feels more comfortable. “We collaborate on the design, then we each do our own thing for the fabrication,” he explains. Conner agrees: “Aaron does more of the woodwork and I end up doing more of the metalwork and finishing.”
With a robust roster of fans with furniture on order, Aaron Bladon’s output of custom tables, consoles, cabinets, desks—all handmade in their new Pilsen zip code—is holding steady. After all, the duo’s aptitude for from-scratch creations cannot be matched. “They are so incredibly clever,” says Heinz. “You could pretty much leave every piece completely up to them.”