Designer-craftsman Neal Aronowitz was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1956. He studied art and architecture at the City University of New York from 1973 to 1975 before going on to study photography and sculpture at Massachusetts College of Art from 1975 to 1976. In 1984, he established Neal Aronowitz Tile & Stone, a successful Brooklyn and later Portland, Oregon-based tile, stone, and interiors business that continues to operate today. In 1985, he began designing and building furniture “quietly and informally as a side business” for private clients in New York. He relocated to Portland in 1996 and continued to make furniture on commission. In 2014, he formally established his eponymous Portland studio, focusing on designing and making art furniture and lighting.
Aronowitz unveiled his studio’s debut project, the 2014, at Portland Design Week. This experimental, sculptural piece is composed of a single sheet of concrete canvas—a high-tech, eco-friendly, cement-impregnated textile used in disaster shelters and drainage ditches—and seemingly defies gravity with its folding arabesques. His studio’s first lighting design, the 2015 Boro Boro Light, was included in LAMP 2015, a juried international lighting show in Vancouver, British Columbia. This glass chandelier consists of overlapping borosilicate glass rods—inspired by the burr crystal form, a three-dimensional cluster resembling children's jacks—and earned second place in the show’s “Established Designer” category. (Among the judges were noted designers Tom Dixon, Omar Arbel, and Michael Anastassiades.)
Describing his aesthetic, Aronowitz tells us, “I am drawn to creating handmade, sculpturally evocative forms utilizing natural materials that express dynamic movement and forces.”
As of this writing, Aronowitz has several projects in various states of production, all of which champion the bold over the conventional.