ASHLEE CONNER, LEGATO STUDIO
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO CREATE LEGATO STUDIO AND WHAT LED YOU TO FOCUS SPECIFICALLY ON TRANSFORMATIVE FURNITURE?
When [Josh and I] found our apartment in Battery Park, we recognized that it had more positives (not one square foot of wasted space, like an extra hallway, or large entryway, or odd shaped room) than negatives (no natural dining area within the small living room and kitchen). Other apartments in the building we knew we loved did offer that extra dining space, but at a much higher price tag than we could afford. So our plan was to grab the apartment within our budget, and problem solve with furniture. This was a task my husband happily left to me — and I couldn’t wait to start the process.
As I set out to create an ‘instant dining room’ that would disappear in some fashion, I did some research to find Matt Lee, the contractor ‘who could do anything.’ A recent article in the New York Times touted a 2 level studio coop in Gramercy he created where the rules included ‘no construction or structures of any kind connected to internal walls.’ So, he designed a second floor that was completely self-standing for a very happy client. He seemed to make all of his clients happy, so I hired him.
When Matt and I began measuring and talking through ideas, I realized two things — my perfect apartment, with its lack of wasted space, allowed for no space anywhere to store chairs, AND, a murphy bed style-like table that would fold down from the wall would be too wide for my living room (I could just see tomato sauce all over our new sofa). So, Matt and I started thinking about a table that would include seating, and would fold out horizontally rather than vertically in the space. Did this exist already? Not really. So….we worked with an engineer to sort out the details of what is now known as Legato Studio’s “Cambia,” (Italian for alter, shift).
After Cambia was created in our minds and on paper, we realized we had something special. What should we do with this? Should we patent our invention? Start a company? Scramble to attend New York’s next (and best) furniture trade show? Could we do all of that in 2 months? Why not. After investigating with a patent lawyer that no prior art or design existed anything like our Cambia, we knew we had something not only special – but perfect for urban dwellers. Legato Studio was formed – and our (utility) patent pending came hours before our 2011 debut at ICFF.
YOUR DEBUT PIECE, CAMBIA, IS A REALLY BRILLIANT CONCEPT — FULL-SIZED DINING TABLE, ERGONOMIC WORKSTATION AND BENCH WITH STORAGE. IN WHAT ENVIRONMENT OR SPACE WOULD YOU MOST LOVE TO SEE CAMBIA?
Our thoughts for Cambia have expanded well beyond residential space – we see so many commercial applications for the table as well. One obvious choice would be any small restaurant that wants to turn itself into a dance hall/bar, or any place where a lunchroom could turn into a gym. The possibilities are endless. And what’s great about Cambia’s design is that it can be made to custom sizing and with a variety of materials. So, we see our target audience as really anyone that needs/wants multiple uses for their work or living space.
WHAT IS NEXT FOR LEGATO STUDIO?
What’s next is to continue to get the word out there that we can make our table custom for clients out of our studio in Bushwick (Brooklyn). With Bloomberg’s ADAPT NYC project making ‘micro-apartments’ such a hot topic in the press right now, there is no time like the present to capitalize on opportunities. Everyone is talking about maximizing space.
WHAT BRINGS YOU JOY?
So many things bring me joy, hard to name just one — what brought me joy today was seeing my children play so nicely together.
COMB OR BRUSH?
Comb does the trick, brush usually means ‘styling’ which I tend to do let others do in a salon, or do myself with rollers rather than a brush and hair dryer.
DO YOU LIKE YOUR NAME?
I do – I didn’t in the 80’s, when I felt like it was all over the place. But it died down…..
FINISH THIS SENTENCE. MY AGE IS…………….
just right. But I will say life is moving too fast.
WHAT’S FOR DINNER TONIGHT?
Takeout spicy tuna rolls with brown rice, salad, cheese and crackers, orange zero vitamin water. Might sneak in a few girl scout cookies (Samoas).