Creatives We Love: Fortner

Collaboration is an integral part of what we do.  When you get to do it with people you respect and love it's just that much better.

In this edition of Creatives We Love, we are taking a closer look at our work alongside the team and family behind Fortner.  We've been lucky enough to work with them on many, many projects and more importantly to call them friends.  Today we are sharing more about their craft and all the ways we work together to make interior magic.

Residential Work

While most of our work has been in the commercial sector, we've worked together on a few residential projects.  It is always a joy to work with them and we love the way our teams collaborate.

Porch swing by Edgework Creative Built in bench by Edgework Creative

Fortner created the custom porch swing cushions and these gorgeous leather inserts to a custom dining room bench we built.

Commercial Spaces

We've collaborated with Fortner in Office, Restaurant and Hospitality spaces.  We love the way our individual trades compliment each other. It's also fun to see all the ways we've collaborated over just a few short years.

Stadium office seating by Edgework Creative Custom co working booth Restaurant seating and tables by Edgework Creative

Stadium seating at Pelotonia HQ, Custom booths at Industry Columbus and corner seating at Nomad.

Restaurant seating by Edgework Creative

Custom bench seating at Sweet Carrot.

Private dining space by Edgework Creative

Metal and upholstery wall at The Market Italian Village.

Restaurant tables by Edgework Creative Restaurant seating and tables by Edgework Creative Office furniture by Edgework Creative

Booths at BrewDog USA, Custom booths at Nomad, kitchen booth at Pelotonia HQ.

Brew Dog Doghouse hotel furniture by Edgework Creative

Custom beds at the Doghouse Hotel by Brew Dog.

Fortner (@fortnercolumbus) is a 91 year old, third generation, family business that builds and reupholsters furniture.  Check out our Q+A with Justin McAllister, president of Fortner.  Learn more about who they are and what they do here:

Talk about the maker community in Columbus.  What excites you?

In 2017, Fortner consolidated from three locations to one when we moved our operations to a historic manufacturing building on South High St.  The move gave us room to spread out, but we only use a portion of the 220,000 sf complex.

Since then, we’ve renovated several of the spaces and welcomed over 20 other makers into the building we now call The Fort (@thefort614).   Getting a close up view of these entrepreneurs; many of whom are venturing out on their own for the first time is incredibly inspiring and drives us at Fortner to get better every day.  We are fortunate to be a part of a community that celebrates “making” and excited to see how it continues to develop!

Share a bit about our collaborations over the years.

I remember talking with Alex about our respective companies in the parking lot of what would become your space on Edgehill. The work you do at Edgework made for a perfect match to the upholstery work we do at Fortner, but it was the passion that came through that left me feeling determined to work together.  Since then, the many projects that we’ve collaborated on have not only been fun, but have created some beautiful furniture for hotels, brewpubs, restaurants, and more.  I’m so grateful for the opportunities we’ve had  to work with Edgework and excited to see what we will create together next.

What trends are you noticing in upholstery? Anything that is really inspiring?

An old Upholsterers joke says that we’re always “recovering” and indeed our industry is now showing signs of recovery as the country takes tentative steps forward from the Pandemic that has rocked us this year.  The trend toward rebounding domestic furniture manufacturing is encouraging and allows us to show the talent of our team. On a more personal level the emergence of the “Grandmillennial” style that puts a modern twist on traditional designs has been a fun collaboration with several of the designers we work with.

Anything exciting the company is working on?  

Fortner has been making furniture for a long time and in my Grandfather’s day, the furniture was built with all natural components, so it’s hard to call this new, but we’ve been working on a line of furniture that rekindles those time tested practices. The goal is to bring furniture options to people that are Natural and VOC free.  As we have all been spending more time in our homes, it seems like a great time to focus on this again.

Who inspires you?

I am so fortunate to be surrounded by so many inspirational people, but I have to call out my wife, K.C. McAllister. Last month we celebrated our 20th anniversary and I am so grateful for her support and friendship.  She balances being a partner in a growing business at Mix Talent and a wonderful mother to our 4 children with grace. Simultaneously displaying an amazing aptitude in business as well as an endless love and patience with our family.

Stay tuned for more collaborations and interior magic between our two companies.

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