The Red Hook children’s furniture company Casa Kids crafts birch plywood furnishings designed with compact, urban spaces in mind. Its modern bunk beds and loft beds — the company also makes desks, storage and custom pieces — can be customized to fit any space.
“In a way it’s a bit like architecture for children,” said the company’s founder Roberto Gil, an architect by training. “A loft bed with a desk and stairs, for the scale of a six-year-old, it’s almost like the size of a home with a second floor.”
The pieces are defined by bare plywood with occasional pops of color and exposed hardware. Gil said he steers away from trends or themes like fire trucks or princess castles.
“What characterizes my work is the simplicity of design,” Gil said. “I don’t adhere to stylistic considerations. I try not to do anything that is ornamental or decorative. I restrict my design elements to the functional, the practical, and the usable.”
Gil emigrated from Buenos Ares to study architecture at Harvard, where he dabbled in furniture design. After graduation, he struggled to find work as an architect due to a recession, Gil said, so he designed a simple children’s chair and showed it to a store in Soho.
“They liked it, and I started a business,” he said. “It was a bit of timing, luck, and I just wanted to stay in New York. I saw that there was not much good furniture for kids in the city. So, I started making it from my own apartment. It started taking over, and I started taking orders.”
The company moved from Tribeca to Dumbo, then to a 10,000-square-foot space in Red Hook, where it has been operating for 18 years. The space includes a workshop and showroom.
“I always enjoyed designing and manufacturing,” Gil said. “We like working with customers. We like going into people’s homes and proposing solutions. We can design the whole room, do a lot of partitions, cabinets or a sliding door.”
For a fee of $450, one of Gil’s assistants will visit a customer’s home to take measurements, draw up a floor plan and sketch a proposal (the fee is applied as a credit to projects of $7,000 or more). Gil customizes his existing pieces to fit in the space or designs something from scratch.
“If a customer is budget conscious, we try to use standard items,” Gil said. “If they have a larger budget or a problem that requires a new solution, then we will design something new.”
The most popular item, the cabin bunk bed, starts at $1,900. Loft beds start at $3,400, and desks start at $800.
The company recently introduced a less expensive line, the Euro collection, that is made in Europe and ready to ship. A bunk bed is $1,600 and a daybed is $800.
The company will deliver and install pieces for a fee starting at $300 in Brooklyn. Furniture can also be shipped or picked up in Red Hook and assembled at home.
“Our furniture is way easier to assemble than Ikea,” Gil said. “And it’s easy to disassemble and reassemble if you move.”
[Photos by Casa Kids]
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