Entering Eckford Street Studio is akin to discovering Candyland, except instead of candy, here you will find every nook and cranny crammed with a rainbow of colorful art supplies. It’s like Ollivanders, except instead of a wand, here you will get handed a paintbrush!
The studio, located at 70 Eckford Street, isn’t just a magically quirky place for your children (or inner child), it is also a seriously-minded community organization instrumental to bringing innovative art education classes to the neighborhood. Founder Kristn Melkin has an extensive background in art education, including time spent as part of the Guggenheim’s Learning Through Art initiative. At Eckford, Kristin works with an experienced staff to organize innovative arts classes as well as coordinate a program that connects artists who teach with local schools. This petite yet incredibly ambitious studio space and community center feels ripe for growth. Continue reading →
Jellio, a fun, quirky and amazingly whimsical design/build firm focuses on bringing your childhood favorite toys to life: life-size, that is. Mario Marsicano, the main man of Jellio (which was actually his nickname growing up), is an (m)ad-man-turned-furniture-designer. He’s the total embodiment of “do what makes you happy and everything will follow”. His partners Chris Lenox and Kevin Champeny, a designer and an artist, respectively, makes Jellio what it is now.
Mario and Eric Winston (owner of SFDS) were able to give me a private tour of the space before it officially opens on May 20th.
I was also able to sit down with Mario and get more in-depth about Jellio:
GP: Why “Jellio”? What’s the concept and background?
Mario: The concept for Jellio came to me in 2004. I’ve been an antique toy collector for many years. And after collecting them for so long, I wanted to do something beside just placing them on shelves, or burying them in a closet. So I began to make glass cases and tables for the toys to be displayed in. Rockem Sockem Robots, Evel Kneivel Stunt Cycles and Hot Wheels Tracks became one-of-a-kind tables, bookcases and other home furnishings. Soon, my friends and business associates began telling me these pieces were like nothing they had ever seen before, and they asked if I could make something for them, to remind them of their childhood, and bring a sense of fun to their home.
As for the name “Jellio”, that’s my college nickname.
GP: Who and what was the mastermind of this company? What are the founders’ backgrounds?
Mario: In 2005, I approached Chris Lenox, my friend and longtime ad agency associate, with the idea of combining interior design with childhood fun. Chris began to sketch out a number of pieces, and Jellio was born. Chris and I ran the new company as a side venture until 2006, when we met artist and master fabricator, Kevin Champeny. Kevin brought his production expertise to Jellio, and the company started to take off.
GP: Why Greenpoint? Are you all Locals?
Mario: We began in Brooklyn. Our first studio was in Red Hook, and moved to a few other locations as we began to offer more products for sale. We’ve wanted to come back to Brooklyn for a while, and moving into the space of our production partner, SFDS was the perfect opportunity. And Greenpoint is such a unique and exciting neighborhood, we think it will be a great fit.
sidenote: Mario moved to Greenpoint recently to be closer to work and Chris has been living in Greenpoint for 8 years.
GP: Who are your design inspirations/ heroes?
Mario: Our design inspirations are really the toys and other childhood items that our products are based on. The loop in a Hot Wheels track, the reel from a ViewMaster, a Lite Brite or even a simple Gummy Bear…these are the timeless, iconic images from our childhoods that inspire us. These items put a smile on our faces, so why not surround ourselves with home furnishings based on these items, that we can look at all day.
GP: What are your fave pieces from your collection?
Mario: We love all of our products, but if we had to pick one we’d probably say our gummy bear items. Our GummiKing, GummiToys and Gummy Bear Chandelier are fan favorites. And our GummiLight is our best selling item.
Come check them out! They’re officially opening on Monday May 20th!