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by Sydney Wasserman, Architectural Digest
We have a love-hate relationship with old buildings. On the one hand, they’re super charming and have classic details that just can’t be replicated in newer structures. (Love!) On the other, they have teensy-tiny door frames, hallways, stairwells, and elevators that make moving furniture into your apartment damn near impossible. (Hate!) That is, until flat-pack furniture came along. Back in the '50s, IKEA solved the tiny hallway–big furniture dilemma by designing pieces in a million little parts that can be neatly packed in a box and assembled by you (or a TaskRabbit) at home. But nobody wants to live in an apartment drenched in floor-to-ceiling IKEA, so when we hear about a new brand that flat-packs furniture, we get excited. Enter: Thesys. Founded in L.A. by trained architect Alexander Kwong, the most recent collection, BODHII, features small apartment essentials like a compact round dining table, stools, and a bench all made out of trendy Baltic Birch plywood. Aesthetically, the line is that goes-with-everything neutral hue which plywood is most loved for, but it also has a strong Nordic design influence, making it timeless and polished.
A bench and stool by Thesys.
Prices start at $215, with a dining table running around $850, which certainly isn't chump change, but you’re getting a durable piece you can keep around forever that’s American-made, and that you won’t see in everyone else’s home (yet). And while the downside of flat-pack furniture is that you have to assemble the damn thing when you get it, Kwong has thoughtfully made the assembly of Thesys incredibly simple, and actually maybe a little enjoyable. "With BOHDII we wanted to create furniture that would elevate the experience between the user and the piece," Kwong tells us. "We wanted every assembly step to have a satisfying feel, but still be simple enough for anyone to understand. The end result is you have accomplished putting together something pretty cool and substantial for yourself!" The stool, for example only requires three metal pins to be tapped into the legs with a rubber mallet, but they also include some screws in case you want the pieces to hold a VERY heavy weight.
A Thesys table with signature triangular design detail.
As a result of making each piece easy to assemble, the design is left with a little triangular void on the main surface which Kwong explains can be used to hide cords (hallelujah!) or even as a planter for a stunning centerpiece. The seating can also be customized with little upholstered cushions in cobalt blue (our fave!), for a pop of color and dose of comfort. And again, all of this goodness arrives in a neatly packed box to your door. What more could you ask for? Shop the collection at thesys.com.
The small-space dining set by Thesys.