Greg Tenenbown has a knack for placement. Sitting in his living room, the furniture seems to rest in the ideal location. Conversation seems to flow naturally, and yet the arrangement of furnishings is somewhat unconventional. So it comes as no surprise that Greg served as an interior designer for a period of time. The astonishment comes through the realization that everything you are sitting on is a piece of furniture that he has designed and constructed.
Following his graduation from University of Texas at Austin, Greg worked at Modernica Furniture Company in Los Angeles. Serving as the quality control inspector for the Noguchi Coffee Table reproductions, he was able to observe the manufacturing process. After his stint in California, Greg moved back to Austin and started working for a local interior design firm.
Now, in an effort to bring high-quality craftsmanship to the “assemble yourself” furniture model that IKEA has come to make famous, Greg has started Nonagon Design. “I really wanted a couch for my living room, but there wasn’t anything that was affordable, well-designed and high quality,” Greg says. The result of this frustration was the Trapezium Sofa. The sofa has a unique white oak frame with three large cushions, making it the most comfortable seat in the house.
Though the Trapezium Sofa is a great example of high-quality woodworking, Greg’s time working at Design Build Adventure provided him with a new medium for constructing furniture: metal. Many of the new designs from Nonagon are made with metal, along with reinforced concrete.
From chairs to garden planters, Nonagon has given the city of Austin a lesson in shapes and angles. Greg’s designs are raw and urban, which follow the change being seen in the city’s landscape. The furniture seems to transcend – not just state lines, but international borders as well – as you see the influence of 1980s Italian furniture design in Greg’s work.
Just outside of the Nonagon workshop, there are four pieces of metal carefully welded and placed vertically in the ground. As we walk out of the workshop, it becomes apparent that these make up a trapezoid – taking their signature look and giving a twist to an Austin staple: the campfire pit. As Greg continues to expand his work, who knows what other local elements he will reimagine.