Artisanal Ambitions

Bespoke furniture designer Tom Schlesinger takes his vision to scale

Photo by Anthony Mair

Photo by Anthony Mair

Until now, Tom Schlesinger’s work has been strictly bespoke. He’s created his signature “desert modern” woodwork for a small and loyal client list, using vintage, reclaimed and commercial materials—“from a 3-inch-thick slab of black acacia with a living edge from Tasmania to 110-year-old barn wood out of Napa Valley.”

Now, though, the Las Vegas designer is in Scandinavia manufacturing his trademark high-end industrial furniture and décor as he readies for the launch of his company, New Wood Order. He plans to expand his operations, rolling out his work to a wider audience.

To reach that audience with his old-school product, he’ll lean on new technology. “I’ve been using nontraditional means such as Instagram to get my pieces out there, and I think it’s a reflection of the way people shop and discover new things in 2014. If you see a piece I post online, you can comment and get an instant response as to price or availability.”

Schlesinger built his reputation on one-of-a-kind artisanal items. He recently created a display box for Downtown’s Velveteen Rabbit that features the components of the bar’s specialty cocktails. “These days, more and more businesses are demanding handcrafted details and pieces designed just for their space,” Schlesinger says. “Just because it’s a bar doesn’t mean they should have to sacrifice their aesthetic for functionality.”

Although Schlesinger’s going bigger now, he’s cautious not to grow so much that it means sacrificing craftsmanship. And while the growing process has taken him far from Las Vegas, he doesn’t plan to stay gone for long.

“Las Vegas is and most likely always will be my home base,” he says. “And I think it’s overlooked as far as design.”

With the impending New Wood Order, that may be about to change.

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