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Meet Jason Radcliffe, Local Furniture Maker and Reality TV Star
If you don’t know Jason Radcliffe yet, you’ll get to know him now. He, is a furniture designer, who grew up playing with Legos and raised around his father’s fabrication shop (Barrington Pumps) on Cleveland’s Westside. Radcliffe, now a key figure in Cleveland's thriving maker community, is bent on welding innovative furniture that lasts more than one lifetime and focused on making things here, in Cleveland. His custom made furniture at his shop, 44 Steel, is made from stainless steel, (mainly from local domestic suppliers) as well as aluminum, and wood but raw steel and the many colors, patterns, and textures you can create with it are his specialty. Radcliffe creates original pieces of furniture for home (and commercial spaces) that can be passed down through generations as "family iconic furniture."
"Cleveland is very industrial and raw. That's what I try to emulate. I put a little wax on the steel so it's sealed, but it shows the life of the product, every imperfection, every weld. I could make you 100 of the same product, but none would ever be the same."
Radcliffe is also involved with the Spike TV show, “Framework,” a build series that has 13 of the country's top aspiring furniture designers competing in weekly challenges in hopes of winning $100,000. The reality show airs at 10 p.m. Tuesday nights on Spike TV. (Cleveland.com)
The show includes host and hip-hop artist Common, two furniture design experts, (Nolen Niu and Brandon Gore) as judges and 13 of the country's top-aspiring furniture designers. Other Ohioans like Lacey Campbell of Toledo and Freddie Hill from Bomb Factory Furniture are also competing in the show. The first season of "Framework,"premiered on Tuesday, Jan. 6.
Jason Radcliffe is also organizer of the annual F*SHO, a showcase of Cleveland's custom furniture designers,. He started up F*SHO in Ohio City with his maker friends, a show which has grown from five makers and 350 visitors in 2009 to 30 makers and 2,500 visitors last September. F*SHO is an annual event (so make sure to put this on your calendar for this year). Furniture and fixtures are sold at the event in all styles from ultra-modern to antique style and everything in between.
The show's designers source most of their materials locally, and much of it is reclaimed. The company APOC—which stands for A Piece of Cleveland—salvages wood and other materials from the hundreds of Cleveland properties that are deconstructed each year and supplies local designers and builders.
It is Radcliffe's hope to continue to grow the Cleveland design community, to create a market for high quality locally made furniture that doesn't come from a department store, and to communicate to emerging designers that they don't need to move to another coast to start their careers.
The six young designers of 2nd Shift Design Studio, all born and raised in Cleveland, were inspired to start their own design group after visiting the 2010 F*SHO, and they don't plan on leaving their hometown any time soon.
"Cleveland for us is kind of perfect," says Chris Comella of 2nd Shift. "Not only are we geographically close to those major markets like New York, or other big cities like Chicago and Boston, but Cleveland presents a lot of practical opportunities in that space is affordable and the community is tight knit, so you know other people and help each other." The presence of local manufacturers is another plus. "The capabilities that are inherent in the Cleveland area in terms of actually getting things made is one of the best areas in my opinion," he adds. "Also, there's the whole thing that this is our home, and we want to make our home something that we're proud of." (Coolhunting.com)