Broe & Co. Design

It’s up-and-coming entrepreneurs like Dane Broe, of Broe & Co. Design who are truly raising the profile of Hamilton’s arts and design scene. A craftsman and design student at Sheridan College, Dane’s minimalist furniture has already been picked up by the buyers at the Art Gallery of Hamilton’s Design Annex. It was Dane’s red Triloc table and stool caught our eye and we were captivated by the contemporary look and quality of the construction. “I have always been interested in building, making, and solving physical problems,” says Dane, “The design of my triloc table at the Annex has evolved over several years, but began as a simple school project to build a plywood stool.”  We’re excited to see future prototypes at the 2013 Interior Design show in Toronto where Dane will be exhibiting a line of concrete furniture he is working on.

Q&A

When did you start making?
For about 10 years I have worked out of my small home shop, doing mostly small scale woodworking projects. When I was younger, I worked on a lot wood turning projects, making bowls and other small pieces. I graduated from Conestoga's Woodworking Program in 2009, and have since had the confidence to take on larger, more technical, woodworking projects.

Where are you currently studying? How did your program inspire you to start Broe & Co?
I currently study at Sheridan College, in Oakville. Broe & Co. was inspired by the co-operative working environment of Sheridan College.

Describe your product in three words.
Clean, Simple, Versatile

Top five sources of inspiration?
Danish Design
IKEA
Engineered
Trusses
Alvar Aalto's Stools

Tell us about your design/making process. What is the most satisfying part about the process?
During the development of this table, I have experienced a wide range of both design and manufacturing processes. The first prototypes were designed entirely on paper and with several foam core mock ups, and produced using simple templates. As the project evolved, I was able to work with CAD to model the fit of the seemingly simple parts, and ultimately have the parts manufactured on a automated CNC router. I love to learn new skills and develop experience with new processes on an ongoing basis.

What is the best part about working with your hands?
The hands on work I do is incredibly rewarding. What I find most satisfying is being able to transfer the physical skills required to create well crafted work, and apply it to everyday tasks. When I encounter a problem outside my workshop, I take great pleasure in relating it to a challenge I had while working in the shop. The solution is always easy to find.

What materials do you like working with and were do you source the materials you use?
Much of my recent work has been made with Baltic Birch plywood. This is imported from Europe and made available to me from a variety of local suppliers. I like working with this plywood because it is durable, dependable and stable enough to engineer and process in ways that solid wood is not. The Formica plastic laminate that I work with creates a durable, waterproof work surface. It comes in a range of colours that is small enough to not seem overwhelming. I am currently working on prototyping a line of concrete furniture, which will feature thin fiberglass reinforced concrete surfaces and solid wood linear elements. I hope to combine these two contrasting materials as my design focus evolves towards higher value products in the future.

What is the best design advice anyone gave to you?
"Shoot your darlings." Don't get caught up in one idea, instead, trust yourself to create new, better ideas.

What is next for you and your business?
Plans for the coming Interior Design Show are in the works. I hope to exhibit again this year with a concrete furniture piece, which is the design stages currently. With two years of school remaining, I look forward to continuing to gain momentum and kick-starting my career while maintaining a strong support group through Sheridan College.

LivingStephanie Trendocher