Ryan Anderson has always been nontraditional. Growing up in southern California during the 1980s, Anderson was forged by the surrounding surf and skate culture. The lifestyle, a celebration of standing out, taking risks, and expressing creativity, accompanied him throughout his journey. When the time eventually came to choose his path, these influences motivated Ryan to try something unique.
Although he earned degrees in both business and architecture, Anderson knew he wanted to utilize his skills and knowledge outside of a traditional office setting. Rather than building an intangible business, he wanted to create something three-dimensional. After learning how to weld in grad school, he decided to begin working with metal. It started with a gate for his father but quickly grew into much more. As he worked, Ryan began to find his niche experimenting with durable, versatile furniture. The tangible product he dreamt of was starting to take shape. Before long, Anderson had assembled a team under the company name "RAD Furniture." While the name is an acronym for "Ryan Anderson Design," the term also pays homage to the skate culture that inspired him.
According to Ryan, his greatest design inspirations come from the material itself. Rather than establishing a model and then trying to find components to fit that vision, the team at RAD flips that approach and does a 180°. They first begin by assessing the capabilities and attributes of a material or texture, then design around it. Anderson describes this system as a way to avoid a common mistake: trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. It is fitting, then, that RAD has made its mark with specialty furniture using none other than Round Hole Perforated Metal.
Soon into his venture, coffee shops began approaching Anderson for outdoor tables and seating. It was with these inquiries that RAD found their niche -- durable, outdoor furniture. Using perforated sheets, RAD began creating tables, chairs, and benches that are prepared to brave the elements. If you ask Ryan, he'll tell you that the furniture is built to avoid the "sail effect." We've all seen a piece of patio furniture or an umbrella being carried off by the wind. With holes in the metal, wind can pass through the furniture, rather than picking it up and moving it with strong gusts. In addition to wind, the passage of water is an essential part of why RAD's perforated furniture is ideal for outdoor environments. It dries or wipes down quickly, putting customers back in the seats. Additionally, Perforated Metal's high strength to weight ratio enables RAD’s furniture to be easily carried or moved by shop owners and customers. It maintains the strength and durability of the steel sheet, but the percentage of open area allows it to remain lightweight.
Beyond functionality, the team has found other benefits to the visual effects Round Perforated Panels offer. First and foremost, the company values its minimalistic design. As a lightweight and largely transparent product, RAD's furniture complements spaces without being bulky or obtrusive. With holes typically set in a 60o staggered pattern, the company discovered an opportunity to experiment with unique diagonal supports between openings. This creative method allows RAD to attach furniture legs and other accessories without interrupting the design. In some cases, it can even create an optical illusion that the piece is floating.
The visual interest of Perforated sparked another original creation from RAD--an item that is especially close to the founder's heart. Bringing one of his passions into his profession, Ryan and the team decided to develop a Perforated Metal skateboard deck. With lots of strategizing and after several prototypes, the team was able to introduce an aerodynamic board that would allow riders to see the ground beneath their feet. Response to the skateboards have been overwhelmingly positive, and skaters who have used them experience an epic new way to ride. The favorable reaction to the decks has proven that great success can be found by mixing work and play.
As demand for their furniture and other products grew, so did the company. Since beginning his venture, Ryan has surrounded himself with a team of craftsman, artisans, and creatives. Head of Production Matthew Wolak, Director of Operations Russell Hill, and Design Services Lead Ruben Ruckman all assist in leading the company, now a team of 10 in-house trailblazers. But the team is not the only aspect of RAD that has seen growth. Anderson notes that this all-star group has been able to build up a sizable ready-to-sell inventory. These in-stock products enable the company to have shorter lead times than imported goods or other manufacturers that struggle to keep up with RAD's rapid pace.
With plenty of hard work and the pursuit of individuality, RAD has made a name for themselves in the outdoor furniture industry and beyond. Patrons such as Harvard, Patagonia, Warby Parker, Sweetgreen, Snapchat, Whole Foods Market, and Google have all benefited from the company's unique perspective and commitment to quality. We are grateful to RAD for allowing us to be part of their success. In fact, we think it’s pretty gnarly! To learn more about the team at RAD Furniture and their inspiring creations, please visit their website, check out their latest projects on Instagram, or watch the video below!