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Jim Zivic’s approach to furniture design might best be described as "Industrial" and "Industrious". Born and raised in a small Ohio town, surrounded by strip mining and his family’s steel trucking business, the designer was inspired to create things both useful and artistic. An introduction to architectural metal work in his brother’s Brooklyn, NY welding shop led to a 1990’s collaboration with clothing designer/artist Morgan Puett, wherein he built interiors for Puett’s infamous Soho stores. With these projects, Zivic began to integrate his signature materials - leather, raw steel and felt - into architectural elements and furniture design, including a wall-to-wall, Joseph-Beuy’s influenced leather floor for a Tribeca boutique.

Zivic has created work collected by private and commercial clients such as Lou Reed, Yves Saint Laurent, Yoji Yamamoto and Tom Ford and is recognized in both the art and design communities. He has had two solo shows at the Leslie Tonkonow Gallery in New York and been a selected participant in the Cooper-Hewitt Museum’s National Design Triennial.

Complimented by a BFA in Sculpture and Painting from Ohio Wesleyan University, Zivic’s work showcases a range of eclectic materials, design concepts and machining skills, which he brings to bear in his collection of home furnishings.


The hardest line to walk may be that between craft and design - unless you are Jim Zivic of Burning Relic. Zivic understands craft as a process of making, not an aesthetic, and design as a conceptual framework, not a particular practice. In his case, the framework embraces sources as diverse as Joseph Beuy’s sculpture and Civil War campaign furniture.

Spare but not spartan, Zivic’s furniture is elemental and sensual at the same time. Coal, rubber, leather, and steel are the palette of raw materials he transforms into functional furnishings with minimal intervention. Anthracite blocks are carved and polished; raw Malaysian rubber is cut and stacked; leather panels are seamed and stapled. The result is a suite of tables, seats, and floor coverings that seem both familiar and new. The typical geography of materials in the domestic setting has been redrawn. In Jim Zivic’s world you can find yourself literally sitting on flooring or stacking your books on a big rock.

At his farm in upstate New York, he shapes side tables out of coal monoliths taken from Pennsylvania mines. Zivic carves the anthracite blocks with diamond saws, sanding and finishing them to varying degrees, from matte to mirror. He fabricates stools with seats of linked leather, welding their armatures in delicate lines of steel. The lids of baby pianos are deployed as table tops or loveseats. In a music studio for Lou Reed, Zivic brings all the elements together with off-beat elegance.

Call it post-industrial, call it personal; Zivic’s work is rooted in childhood collections of arrowheads and a contemporary do-it-yourself ethos. Absent is the preciousness and pretension of art furniture. Present is a design sensibility that locates luxury in materials but deflects their latent kitsch with a disciplined modesty of form.
— Susan Yelavich - Inside Design Now: The National Design Triennial

Photos - Studio - New York City - Designer: Jim Zivic - Client: Lou Reed


Tiffany Wheat, is Zivic's business partner and directs sales and marketing for Jim Zivic Design. Tiffany's creative and business management experiences comes from a career shaped by feature film development, and luxury retail with Kate Spade, Gucci and currently Heath Ceramics. With a B.A. in Art History from the University of California, Los Angeles, she has also served as an independent marketing consultant for design and skin care companies.