Crescent City Craftsmen

GoodWood NOLA is planting deep roots
Randy P. Schmidt photos

In a tiny garage off Freret Street during the fall of 2014, what started as an after-hours shelving unit for District Donuts quickly turned into a full design and build project. At the time, Michael Dalle-Molle and Jordan Gurren didn’t know where they wanted to take this project, or if they could even make something out of it, they just knew they loved to design and build furniture, and that was all that mattered. As such, GoodWood NOLA was a passion project that naturally turned into a business.

The duo, who met working on The Road To Berlin exhibit in the WWII Museum, have backgrounds in prop making and scenic carpentry. Their now 11-person crew, however, have various backgrounds, ranging from jewelry design to sculpture and everything in between.

Some of GoodWood’s masterpieces can be seen at the Catahoula Hotel, Daily Beet, and Dirty Coast. They’ve also built swings, meeting tables, desks, and chairs at the corporate office and headquarters for the Besh Restaurant Group, and Joy The Baker’s custom kitchen studio.

GoodWood offers metalworking, upholstery, concrete, stone, and mixed-media services, in addition to and in combination with their (anything but) standard woodworking design and build projects.

“Wood absolutely has a special meaning to all of us — it is the most commonly used material in our studio, and we care deeply about the types of wood we use and where it comes from,” says Dalle-Molle.

The team recently started an initiative with SOUL (Sustaining Our Urban Landscape) called Building The Canopy — a network of local makers and builders working towards a greener New Orleans. The group will have annual gatherings focused on sustainable building resources and actively planting trees to offset consumption.

So while neither Dalle-Molle, nor his co-founder, were born and raised here in New Orleans, they now call this place home and are deeply invested in preserving its lush landscape. “I went to Tulane University and fell in love with this city right away — I wasn’t ready to leave when I graduated, and decided to plant my roots in the big Easy,” Dalle-Molle says.

Aside from the obvious issues a woodworker might encounter here in the swampy south (humidity, rain, and flooding) the Crescent City offers some things to Dalle-Molle and his team that no other city does quite as well: culture, community, creativity, and collaboration. Thus even as GoodWood plans to offer their services nationwide in the near future, their roots will stay firmly planted as a New Orleans-based company.




Art on display

local exhibits


The Odyssey Ball
November 4
7:00 – 11:55 p.m.
New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA)
Now in its 51st year, The Odyssey Ball raises money to support NOMA’s nationally-recognized exhibitions and educational programs with a night of what NOLA does best: dancing, dining, and drinking.

New Orleans Book Festival
November 11-12
New Orleans City Park
This two-day free festival is for readers of all ages and includes readings and panels by both national and local authors, as well as free books for kids, food, and activities.

Prospect.4: The Lotus In Spite Of The Swamp
Starts November 18
Various Locations
The fourth iteration of this citywide exhibition finds inspiration in the lotus plant, with work from 70+ artists in
17 locations across New Orleans.



Categories: Theatre + Art