About us

Why The Utility Collective?

Designer Eric Pfeiffer and Steve Piccus established The Utility Collective with a simple idea: to bring intelligent, well-made products to market and share how they are designed and made. Most importantly, let’s do it in the U.S. with sustainable materials at fair prices.

We treasure the everyday items we use most often — a chair, a table, a pencil cup. we love to know how they’re made, and where they come from. We have relationships with these products and they live with us in our homes. We should know their story.

The Utility Collective offers a window into the making of each one of our products. We’ll photograph, video, blog, and share as much of the process as we can – from seed to showroom. We’ll also try to introduce you to the people, places and inspirations behind the products we offer. Call us design nerds, but we believe this knowledge creates a deeper understanding and appreciation for a product. Working directly with U.S. craftsmen and factories enables us to offer the highest quality product at a better price.

Much like devotees of local farmer’s markets who want to know where their carrots and broccoli are grown, we think it’s time the public knows the story about a few of the non-edible objects in their daily lives.

It’s time to design, make, and sell local.

About Eric Pfeiffer

For Eric, the TUC project offers a chance to share his passion for creating well-made products. As a designer, Eric has spent his career designing and working with factories all over the world to bring new products to market. Taking a lead from what is happening in the food industry Pfeiffer decided the time was right to try something different. something more local.

At his San Francisco design practice, Pfeiffer Lab, Eric is focused on addressing the future of the everyday objects in our lives. Simplicity and sustainability guides a process that creates useful and essential forms for the objects in our lives. His reductive approach relies on an understanding of materials and function to create beauty in form. It is this pure design ethos, coupled with a casual west coast sensibility that results in timeless objects rooted in a passion for usability and manufacturing.

“A beautiful solution is one that people can use everyday, becoming essential to their daily life,” he says. Aside from his design work, Eric also co-authored, “Bent Ply: The Art of Plywood Furniture,” the seminal book on the history and manufacturing of bent plywood. It was this book that sparked Eric’s interests in revealing the process of making to a broader audience.

“With TUC I hope to open that window into the making process while creating products that can be passed on to the next generation,” he says. “In my view, that’s the most sustainable thing you can do.”

About Steve Piccus
Steve grew up in the art world. He learned at a young age that enjoyment of an object is derived not just from it’s beauty or value, but from knowing about the artist or designer, their influences, even the materials. As a consumer he’s driven by the same desire to know more about whatever he buys. He explains, “There are great people out there who have invested their lives making wonderful products. Their skills don’t always translate to marketing what they make. We need to seek them out and support their work.”

After a career spent investing in consumer brands, TUC offers Steve the opportunity to build a different kind of brand from the ground up. “We want to rationalize the way we make, sell and buy furniture. It is important to control the entire process and cut out the waste.” Steve sees TUC as a fusion of state of the art manufacturing and craftsmanship. “By working with the best manufactures we can make pieces to order in the US much more efficiently than if we imported them by the container load.”

TUC is also an opportunity for Steve to work with Eric and bring to market more of his designs. “We have so many exciting projects in the works for TUC. Look forward to great designs from Eric as well as collaborations with a number of exciting companies With every project we hope to provide a deeper understanding of how things are made, what they’re made of and most importantly, the people who make them.”