He has designs on boxing you in.
For more than two decades Rob Feinstein, architectural designer and graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, has been reimagining residential and commercial spaces with a dynamically clean aesthetic and environmentally conscious constitution.
Extending his vision earlier this year, Asbury Park resident Feinstein and his beautiful wife Annie founded Soapbox – a versatile line of quality, easy to assemble tables and shelving. I spoke with Feinstein about his latest endeavor.
TBP: Soapbox is a dream realized for you.
Feinstein: I love using design to solve problems and make people’s lives easier while respecting the environment. I have always been interested in furniture design. When I was in college my dad challenged me to build a bed for a dorm room that met the specifications of both parents and students. He also wanted the bed to require no tools for assembly to make it accessible to everyone. That concept was always in the back of my head.
Fast forward years later, I am about to go to sleep and I get this idea that extends my dad’s first challenge. After two more years of creating models, refining the drawings and support from my wife Annie, it became the first finished piece for what has become Soapbox.
TBP: You designed the ultimate solution for people who do not like big box retailer disposable furniture.
Feinstein: Growing up, I appreciated the details of the brownstone buildings from where I lived in Hoboken. The philosophy that you do not need to embellish to create something original was powerful to me. The simplicity of the design – having the least amount of detail with the most amount of impact was inspiring.
Simplicity can be powerful with fewer parts and finer quality. And that is what I translated into this furniture line.
I design by “seeing” the end result – the customer living in a space or using something. Every Soapbox piece has been designed with the customer in mind, living and growing with and using that coffee table or end table for years.
TBP: What is a Soapbox?
Feinstein: I created a series of components the customer chooses from to create a quality piece of furniture that is perfect for their space. Soapbox customers choose from Grade A veneer plywood in walnut, cherry and maple – no foils or laminates – and also choose the colors of the powder coated steel hardware (corner joints).
There are 32 different possible configurations and hundreds more variations to make coffee tables, end tables, side tables and wall shelves. Generally, each piece has four wood panels and eight pieces of hardware.
Our website helps customers make the choices and explains how seriously easy the pieces are to put together. The end result is a fine piece of furniture that can work with most styles and is environmentally conscious – manufactured in Asbury Park.
Visit Feinstein and Co. at the Ocean Grove Flea Market, Saturday (Sept. 8) and check out Soapbox’s first-ever sale – 40 to 60 percent off. Or go online at SoapboxHome.com. Click here for a peek at the limited edition collection, made from 200-year-old reclaimed pine beams.
Read more about furniture design on TheBPlot: the Memphis design movement.