HOMEFRONT | décor showcase
Let’s get the answers to a few of the obvious questions out of the way first: Yes, Alex Rosenhaus and Drew Arrison, founders of the Detroit-based design studio Alex Drew & No One, are professional as well as romantic partners.
Yes, working with someone you are also in a relationship with has its occasional challenges, but Rosenhaus says the couple has found a balance. “We’ve learned how to read each other, finding each other’s strengths and weaknesses,” she says.
Yes, both Rosenhaus and Arrison have impressive — and impressively interesting — resumes. She worked for several years as a designer for the Walter P. Sauer furniture shop in Brooklyn; he worked on the production side of the world-famous The Simpsons television show.
They both wanted something more. Rosenhaus, a Michigan native and graduate of Savannah College of Art and Design, wanted to take more risks. Arrison, a self-taught artist and designer who worked in television production, wanted his work to be more meaningful, more lasting.
They met through friends in 2010 and sparked immediately. At that time, Arrison was working for clients like Tiffany & Co. and Hewlett Packard, creating sets for photo shoots that were designed to be set up and torn down quickly.
“I wasn’t getting that connection that you get when you make something that somebody has for the rest of their life,” Arrison says.
“I think he was intrigued with what I was doing,” adds Rosenhaus, a fourth-generation builder who learned how to make things from her father. “We joke that his stuff was meant to stay up a week and my stuff is meant to (be passed on) to great-grandchildren.”
They started collaborating, and in late 2013 they started Alex Drew & No One — the name is a sly nod to their status as independent designers. As Rosenhaus explains it, the couple used to introduce themselves to clients and colleagues as “Alex, Drew, and we work for …”
“Now we’re finally on our own,” Rosenhaus says. “There’s no one else.”
Shortly after creating Alex Drew & No One, the couple moved from New York City to Detroit, which Arrison says gave the couple room to grow as designers.
“Detroit is a place where you can hunker down and really focus, and be as distracted or not distracted as you want to be,” Arrison says. “It’s a culture of people who make things.”
It didn’t take long before their new endeavor found success. Two months after starting the business, Arrison and Rosenhaus were invited to exhibit their home décor pieces in the Architectural Digest Home Show. They have been working steadily ever since, creating furnishings that focus on modern and geometric shapes.“We like to play with positive and negative space, and the light,” Rosenhaus says.
Their pieces are meant to inspire some creativity in the owner, as well. The quad diamond table, for example, comes in four pieces, allowing it to be arranged to accommodate individual tastes and design needs.
“We like our work to be multipurpose,” Rosenhaus says. “We let you switch up the design a bit.” The unique play of shapes and light earned Alex Drew & No One two Detroit Home Design Awards in March 2015. They won first and second place in the custom furniture category.
The duo uses a lot of American woods, like ash, walnut, and white oak, to create their furniture pieces. They also work with “skins” such as parchment and leather.
“We’re not afraid to take risks,” Rosenhaus says. “Our designs don’t fit into one specific category. We take pride in what we do.”
For his part, Arrison finds the custom-made furniture and décor business “much more rewarding” than his time in film and television. Now, he says, the items he makes have true value and craftsmanship that he hopes translate into the work he creates.
“You’re buying more than just that thing, you’re buying all the work that went into that thing,” he says. “That’s just something you can’t get anywhere else.”
For more information, visit www.alex-drew.com.