The Chronicle

Studio Visit: The Principals

From a 2,000-square-foot studio in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, The Principals—Chas Constantine, Chris Williams and Drew Seskunas—combine architecture, industrial design, and fabrication to create objects and spaces that challenge and delight. Case in point: their Bullseye water pipe tool, which transforms any vessel (or even a piece of fruit) into a smoking device.

Here, photographer Dan McMahon offers a look inside the team's space, while Seskunas (pictured above, center) leads the tour.

What do you have inside the space?
We have a full metal and wood shop, then a rotating staging area that has the latest version of our next project being prototyped.  Our most prized tools would have to be our Bridgeport mill and the Southbend lathe.  We used to have skate ramps, but at some point the neighbors complained so much that we had to take them out.

What are you working on? 
Currently we're prototyping a new installation called Spooky Action that was inspired by the recent proof of quantum entanglement in the Netherlands.  We'll be installing it in the basement of Coming Soon, a store some friends of ours have in the Lower East Side. They were visiting our studio and we showed them some lighting experiments we had been working on and they asked us to install the project in a new project space they just acquired to hold art projects.  The project opens in early December.  We're also working on a product for designer Joe Doucet's new line OTHR.

What is a typical day like in the studio? 
Chas' dad has a coffee company in Baltimore that keeps us stocked up on caffeine, so we normally start the day over a cup of coffee in the workshop, laying out what the plan for the day is. Our favorite lunch spot is Sakura on Manhattan Avenue; they have free Sake all day every day.  When we walk in you don't even need to say anything, they just bring over three big Orion beers and a bottle of Sake. We try not to operate any heavy machinery after a lunch at Sakura.

What's on your playlist these days?
We listen to music all day, but the music differs between the metal shop and the staging area, which is a normally little mellower.  We recently discovered this great Ry Cooder album that compiles all the music he created for film scores, like Paris, Texas and Alamo Bay. It's called Music by Ry Cooder. In the metal shop is always a lot of Misfits and Sunn O))).

Shop the Bullseye water pipe tool