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Unfolding: Sit on cardboard chairs at this new Dumbo store

The Brooklyn Paper
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This guy is chairman of the cardboard.

Terrence Kelleman, the founder of Dynomighty, a company best known for its paper-thin wallets, opened a storefront and shared artist work-space in Dumbo on April 16 and decked the place out with cardboard seating. The chairs are made from three pieces of thick cardboard cut with lasers and can be shipped flat and assembled in a jiffy. The engineering feat came out of Kelleman’s dissatisfaction with the seat-us quo when trying to furnish the shop.

“I just couldn’t find anything I liked,” he said. “The chairs I was seeing were just the blandest things.”

Kelleman started Dnynomighty 12 years ago in his living room, with a box of magnets that his father lent him $300 to buy. He made link-less bracelets out of the magnets and sold them to his employer, the Museum of Modern Art Design Store in Manhattan.

“I was a struggling artist trying to find my way,” Kelleman said. “But I’ve always been inquisitive about materials.”

Kelleman trained as a painter at the Cleveland Institute of Art, but said his work in the public relations department at the Museum of Modern Art got him into drawing fanciful products.

“It germinated an appreciation for industrial design and design in general,” he said.

Today, the company’s trademark product the Mighty Wallet is sold in 60 countries, bringing in $4 million per year, according to Kelleman.

The unique billfolds are made from a material called Tyvek, which the postal service uses for its express mail envelopes. Tyvek is paper-thin, but its plastic-like fibers make it durable, waterproof, and possible to fold into a wallet without a single stitch.

The first version of the Mighty Wallet hit the market in 2005 with a few basic designs, including one resembling a newspaper and one with the first 3,000 digits of the number pi printed on it. Once Kelleman got the process perfected, he started seeing new possibilities for the product.

“I realized that the Mighty Wallet was really a canvas,” he said.

Dynomighty now works with a network of 500 artists who all come up with graphics that can be printed on the wallets. And customers can now have their own images printed on wallets at the new store, on John Street between Bridge and Jay streets.

The Dumbo space is a place for Kelleman to test out new products, which is where the cardboard chairs come in.

He plans to show the chairs at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair next month in Manhattan and hopes to eventually sell them at the store. Other products on tap include change purses and clutches.

As for the shared work space, Kelleman wants the shop to become a hub for aspiring designers to work and share ideas.

“It’s a place where people can get advice and problem solve collective­ly,” he said.

Anyone is allowed to just drop in and use the space, Kelleman said.

“The business of art, and the art of business,” Kelleman said. “It’s the story of Dynomighty, and its my story. I want to share that story.”

Dynomighty store and work space [80 John St. between Jay and Bridge streets in Dumbo, www.dynomighty.com, (212) 431–3005]. Monday–Friday, 10 am–5 pm.

Reach reporter Matthew Perlman at (718) 260-8310. E-mail him at mperlman@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @matthewjperlman.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

omg says:
chairman of the cardboard...hahahahahahah
April 21, 2014, 12:51 pm
Or from Yellow Hook says:
Do they ship these in a corrugated box?
April 21, 2014, 1:41 pm
John Wasserman from Prospect Heights says:
They do, in fact. I kept opening it, and opening it until there was nothing left, unfortunately.
Fortunately, after talking to them on the telephone, they very pleasantly offered to send me a new one with handwritten instructions on the OUTSIDE of the box.
I simply love the piece, if you don't mind my saying so.
April 21, 2014, 1:52 pm
diehipster from Bludgeoning Brents says:
Call Telecharge now and catch John Wasserman in the off off off off off Broadway smash hit "John Wasserman: Still ain't funny!" Call now!
April 22, 2014, 6:26 am
NYPD from NY says:
↑↑↑↑↑Look at this loser↑↑↑↑↑
A 7am comment, up at the crack of mom to say nothing.
April 22, 2014, 9:11 am
Terrence Kelleman from Brooklyn says:
Thanks for the comments and love the humor, (even the trash talk) but to keep it on topic;

We DO ship them in cardboard - a flat shipment of 3 sheets of cardboard. The chairs themselves are made with a honey comb construction that makes them incredibly strong.

Email or call us for the actual instructions for buying and assembling 212-431-3005 or service@dynomighty.com
April 22, 2014, 4:14 pm

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