I'm Andrew Daines. I was born and raised in New York City and I started Chassie in the spring of 2019 based on a simple truth. You might spend a quarter of your life at a desk. It's where you do your life's work. That truth led me to an idea: a desk should be be remarkably functional, wildly creative and uniquely you. Desks like that would inspire people to bring greater passion and creativity to their life's work - and building them would become my life's work.
I had spent 10 years in tech and most recently was the executive at a 100-person company that made some of the world's most advanced communications systems for race cars. I traveled all over the country and world selling my wares, but it was time for me to do something close to home that I truly loved.
So I spent a summer turning a corner of a run down paper clip factory in the South Bronx into a colorful design studio / precision manufacturing space.
I bought a CNC router and started making things - all kinds of things. Edgar, my first hire as Production Manager, and I built a throne with the Chassie logo contoured into it because that's what you do when you have a big toy and spare time. The CNC opened up a new world of precision craftsmanship to me since I had mainly been doing old-timey fine carpentry.
I developed a friendship/partnership/mentorship with the legendary Don Goeman who is responsible for some of the great furniture and design thinking of the last half century and whose works are in the MoMA. He started making regular visits to the studio and helping me conceptualize, well, everything.
He wrote a wonderful post for our launch here.
With some wise prodding from him and Diana Regal, my second hire and Marketing Director, we decided to focus on a technology I had fallen in love with: UV print on Baltic Birch Plywood.
Of anything I had seen or experimented with, printing original works of art directly onto the surface our desk would, if nothing, else stand out. But we needed some artists.
There are times where you hate living in New York, and then there are the magic moments. Chassie's recruitment of artists started off with an improbable bang. Milton Glaser graciously accepted our invitation to be the first designer of a Chassie desk.
No one designs like Milton Glaser, founder of New York Magazine, creator of I Love NY, and illustrator of this beauty.
His work dazzled us and we built a collection around him called The Originals. Works by up and comers, working artists, students, and established designers and architects - including a longtime friend of mine named Roger de Cabrol who was Salvador Dali's apprentice in the '70s.
The engineering piece of the equation needed to come together as well, and given my tech background I couldn't settle for the same old. Our work needed to add something to the conversation in furniture. Strength, sustainability, simplicity of construction, lightness, and clever concealment of cables were all on my mind. Luckily, through my wife, I fell in with a pretty cool crowd: FriendsOf. They took conceptual drawings from Roger de Cabrol and a brilliant architect named Stefano Pasqualetti (who studied under Peter Marino) and turned it into an exceptional piece of industrial design.
Edgar operating the CNC, with "Play" by Diana Regal ready for its end mill operation.
We sourced an aluminum press in Pennsylvania that could make an extruded leg for us out of an aerospace grade alloy in the shape of the company's X logo with enough room inside to pass cables.
We designed die cast parts and picked out levelers. And most importantly, we figured out a way to embed a wireless charging pad just beneath the surface of the desk so that you can just put your phone down and have it charge.
There were happy accidents along the way too. We discovered weeks into the project that the UV topcoat process we were using to make our desktops durable and glossy also made the desks whiteboard marker safe.
Hand models: Diana Regal and I. The desktop is "Daydream" by Steph Stilwell in The Originals Collection.
As we've refined what Chassie is and readied our first collection, we've had to stick to our guns. We could never be sure that anyone would want such a radical desk. We could have started with a coffee table! But our life's work is to help make your life's work more full of creativity and passion with a wonderful workspace. I hope you dig it.