A Designer Shares What’s New And Next For Custom Furniture


Wood table with bar stools

Photo: Sarah Rose Reilly

Of the many words to denote Justin Allen’s design company, synergy is a good one. At Shepard Co’s core, synergy between client and maker, form and function, and material relationships is paramount. Whether dreaming up custom furniture or getting in on the ground floor of an interiors project, Allen and his crew of highly technical craftspeople put design integrity and coaction first.

It’s within his studio and workshop in the Springs (an area of the Hamptons he felt connected to in an “ancestral way”), where they problem solve—like how to incorporate work-from-home nuances in an aesthetically pleasing way— and where they rethink materiality. “I’ve always related deeply to materials; exploring what they can and should be,” says Allen, who works with metals, woods and cement-based casting, to name a few.

Of the custom furniture commissions he’s received of late, beds, bar cabinets and desks are on the assembly line—and indicative of the times. As for Shepard Co’s next symbiotic chapter, a collective of fellow makers and designers is in the works. “Being able to design for your community and create what’s needed…it’s a nice way to spend your time,” he says.

Wooden bench with weaving

Photo: Chris Grodzki