GULFSHORE LIFE: Culture Watch: It Doesn’t Stop With The Furniture

published on April 1, 2014

Matt Riley and Chad Jensen planned on making furniture for a long time. But for 10 years, road blocks kept popping up.

At first, the Thomas Riley Artisans Guild, of which Matt Riley’s father is the founder, wasn’t quite big enough to branch out. So Jensen, a Michigan native with an art and design degree, started as a woodworker.

Then, the economy tanked and the upscale clients, to whom the Artisans Guild provides ultra-high-end custom woodworking, suddenly weren’t looking to do major remodeling.

“We had to focus on keeping the company going,” Matt Riley says.

To read the entire article, pick up Gulfshore Life at select newsstands or purchase a copy of the digital edition. A full version of the story will be available on May 1. Or subscribe now to Southwest Florida’s leading magazine.

Now, with the economy back in black, especially for those in the market for high-end custom pieces, Riley and Jensen have decided to launch Thomas Riley Studio. But instead of just being a home base for their furniture line, which they plan on unveiling in New York next month, the Naples Design District space doubles as a place for them to introduce their clients and the region to a host of other artists and artisans they admire.

Jensen has long sought to blur the line between the functionality of craft and the glory of art. Glance through his portfolio and you’ll see pieces that, while usable in a home setting, seem sometimes too ethereal to touch. When he exhibits his own work, he prefers it on a pedestal like a classical sculpture.

“I want to change the way people look at these objects,” he says.

He flips through the pages of his portfolio and stops on a desk he recently made for a local client by request. It’s stark white, glossy veneer with a glass top, but entirely made in heart shapes. It’s at once thoroughly modern and sophisticated and yet with a childlike quality that conjures an image of its user smiling every time she uses it.

There’s a similar sense of wonderment in the work of Ysabel LeMay, one of the artists Thomas Riley Studio represents. For years, LeMay has photographed flora and fauna around Naples. She then takes these digital images, cuts out the pieces in Photoshop and reassembles them into digital collages of breathless abandon and incredible precision.

Or take the work of wood turner Bud Latven, who showed at the gallery in March. His wood sculptures appear architecturally impossible and speak simultaneously of modernity and decay.

“Our clients are often designers or homeowners doing major renovations,” Jensen says. “So we thought it would be great to show them other artists we thought really fit in with what we are doing, with our aesthetic.”

Inquiry Form

Inquiry Form
© 2024 Method & Concept | All Rights Reserved | Privacy Policy

Sarah Baker

Art & Design Coordinator

Sarah Baker is inspired by artist studio practices and as the Art and Design Coordinator at METHOD & CONCEPT she is dedicated to supporting the creative process. A graduate of Florida Gulf Coast University, Fine Art program, Sarah is active in the SWFL art & design culture and is an artist in her own right.Integrating her skillset at a maker with expertise and knowledge of fibers and textiles, Sarah collaborates with METHOD & CONCEPT teams to provide an informed experience for art collectors and interior design clients.

Yose Alonso

Associate Interior Designer

Yoselin Alonso is an Interior Designer who focuses on functional design and believes in constructing exclusive spaces that evoke emotion. Incorporating the unique diversity of each client, her design details are profound, ensuring one-of-a-kind personalized spaces. A graduate of University of Florida’s College of Design, Alonso harnesses conceptual and practical skills that bring spaces to life from planning and construction through to the finest of details. Having grown up around construction and design, Alonso is eager to make her mark in the design world as a part of the METHOD & CONCEPT team.

Amy Jensen

Gallery Manager

At METHOD & CONCEPT, Amy is a champion for artists and coordinates season exhibitions and special events as well as outreach and community projects working closely with artists, collectors and community partners. Drawing from an arts education and two decades of experience working in the arts and for non-profit institutions, Amy actively advocates for arts & culture and enhanced quality of life through her work as Gallery Manager for METHOD & CONCEPT and in the local community.

Chad Jensen

Creative Director & Managing Partner

Chad Jensen is an artist, furniture maker, designer, and the Founding Director of METHOD & CONCEPT. He is a true advocate for the arts, his work and the gallery’s programming both demonstrate the symbiotic relationship between contemporary craft, fine art, and design.

In 2013, Jensen established METHOD & CONCEPT under the umbrella of Thomas Riley Companies, merging his advocacy for the arts with his innate talent for making and designing. Today, the gallery represents over 20 independent fine artists worldwide, while the design team showcases an impressive portfolio ranging from bespoke furniture pieces to legacy estates on the Gulf of Mexico and secluded private island homes.

Jensen’s professional career now spans more than 25 years in art, furniture, interiors, and architecture. He is an internationally exhibited artist and designer, participating in exhibitions from The Baker Museum-Naples to ICFF-New York and Shanghai Art Fair-China. His work has been published in Interior Design Magazine, Art Basel Guide-Miami, and Casa da Abitare-China, he was also recently named a Top 100 Business Leader by Naples Illustrated Magazine, and one of Gulfshore Life Magazine’s Men & Women of the Year for his unwavering advocacy for arts and culture.

Recognized as an active leader for Arts & Culture in Southwest Florida, Jensen is a Founding Director of the Naples Design District, where he continues to serve on the Executive Board, helping to lead the charge on public art and community initiatives. He is a Past President & Current Advisory Board Member of United Arts Collier (UAC) / Current Art Gallery Advisory Board Member - Florida Gulf Coast University / Current Advisory Board Member - Naples Illustrated Magazine / Frequent Guest Speaker & Juror - Florida Gulf Coast University / Past Advisory Board Member for Accreditation of Digital Media Design - Florida Gulf Coast University.