From Urban Jungle to Enchanted Forest Article










Entering the gallery at Rode Furniture inFairfieldis taking a step into the unexpected.  The industrial park setting gives no hint to the Zen retreat inside.  Incense, new-age music and soft lighting form a perfect backdrop for the organic gems that owner Ed Rode has created.  

            The wood is the star here – gleaming under the lights, all its whorls and patterns revealed with painstaking perfection.  Rode is the charming tour guide, eager to share the history and background of his pieces.  Tree names evocative of exotic locales roll off his tongue – Bubinga, Sapele, Kerri, and Jarrah.  Many of these woods are fromAustraliaandWestern Africa, but Rode also works with beautiful domestic woods. 

            He has an informal network of lumber dealers who scout outstanding pieces for him and he often travels to thePacific Northwesthimself.  Rode is particularly attracted to burls – knotty growths on tree trunks that often yield intricately patterned wood.  It is important to him that the burls be naturally harvested without felling the tree, if possible. 

            Although his workshop holds many pieces of promising lumber waiting to be transformed, Rode also has a number of finished pieces in his showrooms.  They are studies in contrasts, exciting yet serene, modern yet organic.  Many steps up the design ladder from the redwood tables of the ‘60s and ‘70s, his furniture is reminiscent of the works of George Nakashima, but with a contemporary Rode edge. 

            The work is all the more remarkable because until five years ago, Rode had never worked anyplace but Wall Street.  Growing up inBrooklyn, his first job at age 14 was as a messenger delivering stocks and bonds between various traders.  He worked his way up, eventually became a trader himself, and then one day decided he really needed to do something “fun.” 

            Having learned woodworking skills from his father as a youth and been an avid hobbyist all his life, Rode began studying in earnest and exercising his design skills.  Eventually he took his talent to the professional level, and turned it into a successful business.  He progressed from making small tables designed to comfortably accommodate a person seated on a zafu pillow to a high-end designer of “bespoke” or custom furniture, often designed in collaboration with its future owners.  Designers frequent his gallery for their customers, as well as for their homes. 

            Visitors will enjoy seeing Rode’s unique furniture.  The top of one table – fit for conference or dining rooms – is crafted from a single board of Bubinga.  Other glass topped tables sit on bases made from a hollow River Gum tree salvaged from a forest fire.  Each piece is distinctive and has a story.  

            Samples of Rode’s furniture can be viewed on his website, or showings can be arranged by appointment.  In the meantime, Rode has realized his goal of enjoying his work, saying “I like what I do and I may be the luckiest man I know.”

Rode Furniture
18 Passiac Avenue, Fairfield 973-906-6000




June 2011 | Suburban Essex Magazine | Author – Mary Stifenhaus | Click for Full Article Link


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