Object Society, Chicago’s Hub for Local Designers

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Object Society is located in Chicago's Ukrainian Village.

Object Society is located in Chicago’s Ukrainian Village.

Object Society isn’t your typical vintage resale store. Started five years ago in Chicago’s Ukrainian Village by Ray Doeksen and Michael Dreeben, the showroom slash shop gave local furniture designers a place to exhibit their creations. Through combined forces, Object Society been resulted in more attention to it’s community. Locally produced and high-quality furnishings are at the forefront of Object Society. Currently, everything listed to their Krrb corner is something they’ve made.

Object Society is a real design-build outfit that produced high-end custom work and production design. They’re also searching for ways to manufacture furniture in the United States.Whenever possible, Object Society designers avoid offshore production and participate in sustainable growth lumber projects. Their commitment to offering furnshings made with reclaimed, recycled or sustainably harvested wood has led Ray and Michael on planting tree trips in Minnesota. Read on to see where these two go-getters get their inspiration.

A slat rocker by Jonas Wahlstrom on display at Object Society.

A slat rocker by Jonas Wahlstrom on display at Object Society.

Hi there!

Tell us a bit about yourself.
Writing to you now is Ray Doeksen and Michael Dreeben … we live and work in Chicago. Ray is originally from Detroit, moved here in 1990, and Mike was born in Hyde Park, Chicago.

Where are you from and where do you currently live?
Mike lives near the old location of Cabrini Green, and Ray lives in Logan Square, one of Chicago’s more written-about neighborhoods lately.

The showroom ready to exhibit its designers.

The showroom ready to exhibit its designers.

What’s your favorite place to locally discover hidden treasures.
For hidden treasures, the list has been shrinking lately, and some of them are sort of trade secrets. We have a source of old reclaimed Southern Yellow Pine joists and timbers from industrial buildings, but don’t like to publicize that. There are a couple of nondescript buildings full of old bits and parts, that are basically appointment-only to those that know who to ask for the appointment, also not something we’re interested in disclosing.

Today, how often do you go to garage sales, flea markets, etc.? What is your modus operandi? Any personal tips you’d like to share?
I don’t go to garage sales or flea markets much anymore, not since the Maxwell Street market closed down, anyway. Once in a while I’ll go to one of our secret parts sources, usually for something specific, and I might see something random in the process.

Ray found this Arthur Court cast aluminum antler coffee table.

Ray found this Arthur Court cast aluminum antler coffee table.

Have you ever taken home an object you found in the street or dumpster? If so, what was it? And where is it now?
Taken home something found in a dumpster or on the street: definitely. I have a bookcase with brass label-holders on each little shelf that is in my living room, that was pure alley scrounging, and an Arthur Court cast aluminum antler coffee table that I found someone selling by the side of the road for $50 including the glass, that I’ve seen at auction for $500. I’ve pulled picture frames out of the alley, to refinish, but who hasn’t.

Are you a hoarder or a minimalist?
Definitely more of a minimalist than a hoarder.

What is your most cherished thrifted, secondhand, vintage, upcycled object you possess? What’s the story behind it?
One of my favorite thrifted items I own is a stainless steel knife cabinet that I use for a bedside table. Not the most exciting story, I just saw it, it was only $20 and I knew a deal when I saw one. I’ve been offered $800 for it, but I’d rather keep a good value. I bought a pair of authentic (original boxes, holographic sticker intact) Herman Miller LCM chairs from my neighbor for $20 apiece, he didn’t know what he had, obviously.

Thanks Ray!

 

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