Founded in 2005 by Zoe Coombes and David Boira, Commonwealth is a furniture, art and design studio based in New York City. Harnessing a new fluidity enabled by machine languages, Commonwealth’s interests are as material and emotional as they are technical. Working within the worlds of contemporary art and industrial furniture design, Commonwealth aims to produce work that embodies a sense of elegant desire through an engagement with both the newest of tools and the oldest of techniques.
David Boira’s visual sensibility is influenced by that of his father, the Catalan painter, Francisco Boira. After gaining a foundation in Art at the Savannah College of Art and Design, David pursued an architectural degree and later went to work in the Barcelona office of Enric Miralles, one of the central figures of Catalan contemporary architecture. David’s obsessions with precision and fluidity were greatly stimulated by his exposure to Catalan design history, and its visually-rich design traditions. David holds a Bachelors Degree in Architecture from Florida International University and a Masters of Architecture (M.Arch.) from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture. Upon graduation from Columbia, David was the recipient (along with Zoe) of Columbia’s Honor Award for Excellence in Design.
Zoe Boira Coombes earned her Masters of Architecture (M.Arch.) from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture. Upon graduation, she was the recipient (along with David) of the Honor Award for Excellence in Design. Zoe also holds a Bachelors degree with honors, in Philosophy and History from the University of King’s College, Halifax. A desire to work with ideas within a more material medium lead her to study architecture first at the undergraduate level at Parsons School of Design, and later in the graduate school at Columbia University. A break between degrees was spent as a caretaker of the Villa van Doesburg in Meudon-val-Fleury, just outside Paris, giving her the chance to inhabit and intimately experience one of the pivotal sites of experimental, early Modernism.
Following three years of graduate studies at Columbia University, Zoe and David studied in the automotive design department at Art Center in Pasadena, California a breeding ground for automotive design innovation. This exposure to a highly functionalist field within design, (one rife with new technologies as much as with contemporary problems) continues to influence Commonwealth’s design agenda.