Touring the Modernica factory

June 13, 2017
- Extracurriculars
Author - Amy Jacobowitz

Consider this the Willy Wonka Factory for midcentury design lovers.

As part of the LA Design Festival that ran through last week, we got the chance to wander around Modernica’s factory in Vernon where they make all of their stunning midcentury modern furniture.

Modernica was founded in 1989 by brothers Frank and Jay Novak, and boasts an operation where every last piece of furniture is built at the sprawling Los Angeles headquarters. The company was one of the earliest preservationists of the iconic fiberglass shell chair, using the same equipment and processes developed by the Eames family decades earlier. Their inventory has broadened from the case study basics – chairs, bed frames, bookshelves, and more – to include artist collaborations with the likes of Dr. Woo, The Hundreds, and Bape, to ceramics, lighting, and more.

Frank Novak served as the tour guide for the two-hour walk through of the Modernica facilities, which includes the high-pressure fiberglass molder, wood shop, and upholstery center. Attendees largely milled about on their own, but Novak was on-hand to answer all questions, topics of which ranged from Modernica’s impressive sustainability measures to the business-friendly environment in Vernon. Modernica makes their furniture with the intention of a 200 year lifespan, and has managed to reduce waste to impressively low numbers given the quantity (and quality) they are churning out from that very impressive factory.

Modernica is a rare, family-owned, hand-built operation that’s mastered the true-to-original form of midcentury furniture at its best. We’re happy to have them just a short drive away.