In 1992, Joseph Eisner founded a design firm based on the principle that architecture is an active part of life, continuously evolving.
As a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design accredited architect firm, Eisner Design prides itself on sustainable, green ethics. The modernist meets minimalist design firm works primarily across New York City, Long Island, and the Tri-State area, with an office in Midtown Manhattan and one at 28 Alewive Brook Road in East Hampton.
In addition to architectural projects, Eisner designs free standing pieces of furniture and installations, which have been exhibited in galleries on both the East and West coasts.
What inspired you to start Eisner Design?
I had always wanted to start my own architecture/interiors firm but I started my own gig earlier than expected because I felt creatively stifled at my first position out of graduate school.
Tell me about your ‘green building fundamentals.’
Designing well-built structures that last and adapt to changing needs is the first order of sustainable design. My first concern is addressing the health and well-being of the building’s inhabitants.
Specifically, we specify low or non-toxic materials and finishes in our projects. Ultimately, I use products and materials that are safe in the home, and ones that do not emit toxins into the larger atmosphere and contribute to greenhouse emissions.
I think about the client’s personal health, their children, but I also think about the global impact that those products have on all of our health. Fortunately, sustainable products are becoming the norm.
When did you branch off to include furniture?
I have been designing furniture since college (including having taken a furniture design studio at the Rhode Island School of Design as an undergraduate). During college, I worked for Knoll International in Paris and started compiling my first furniture sketches.
After graduating from Harvard Architecture School (Graduate School of Design) and moving to LA to work for an architecture firm, I set up a small workshop in my garage in L.A. to build furniture prototypes. During this time, I developed a lot of prototypes and started getting a few commissions for my pieces. Soon, I had some of my works placed in a few galleries in San Francisco and L.A.
Now, furniture pieces have been designed specifically for spaces for many of Eisner Design’s residential and commercial clients, with their needs in mind.
What is it about East End projects that are unique?
East End projects are often exciting because many of city clients are willing and looking for something different out East than what they have in their city home. The East End is fortunate to have a population who have historically supported the arts and progressive architecture. There is a special quality of light out East that has an uplifting effect on my design process.
What’s the Eisner signature touch?
I would say that our signature touch is based on always striving to make connections with our design to the larger environment. For instance, the residences we design look to be informed and have a strong dialogue with the surrounding landscape or context. I first look for cues beyond the immediate site for our design. The outside, inside, and client all come into play with a complementary design.
How do you typically approach the planning process?
In architecture, one has to be both creative and strategic to actually get what you design built. I try to get to know what is special/different about the client or site conditions that can inform the design, to manifest a corresponding unique expression.
What is it about the design process that you gravitate towards?
I gravitate towards the problem-solving aspect of the design process. If you are able to specifically qualify a problem for a project, it usually leads to a well articulated solution. I enjoy helping my clients manifest their wants and needs.