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OTTRA: Sculptural Furniture with CNC Workflow

By Ross Gruet, Tuesday, September 12, 2023

There are many ShopBot’s in NYC and one of the most eye-catching accounts we’ve kept up with on social media in recent months is OTTRA – A bespoke sculptural solid wood furniture company in the Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY. While in Brooklyn for the Construct3D conference, I made a visit to their shop.

Some of OTTRA's signature designs on display.

Shop Visit: When I reached the block where OTTRA is located, I was greeted by an unexpectedly pleasant surprise – a clear view of the Statue of Liberty directly across the water! After snapping a few photos, I was greeted by OTTRA Marketing Manager, Maddie, who proceeded to take me on a tour of their facility.

OTTRA workshop entrance is on the left side of the building. The Statue of Liberty is across the water from their location.

The entrance of their office and workshop heralds a monumental sculptural spiral staircase they created in 2020. This stunning architectural feature that they refer to as their “dream staircase,” pictured below, has been featured in many publications and in return brought commissions for custom staircases in Miami and San Diego. As you ascend the stairs, a specially-made Rolling Mirror commands your attention halfway up. The mirror is eight feet in diameter on a ball-like wooden base. Interactive décor! We love it.

The "Dream Staircase" at the entrance of OTTRA headquarters.

 Eight foot rolling mirror halfway up the staircase.

The second floor holds a showroom for the furniture they create in-house, to order. Their desks and offices are on the other side of a center kitchenette pod. In the process of personalizing their space, they have recently installed a wrap-around desk spanning from Sofia on the left to Adam on the right, complete with a cozy cave/bed for their furry companion, Dolly. Another Dolly feature: ShopBot CNC-created patterning on the columns, featuring an outline of the Westie’s face.

Their ShopBots: Once I took a loop around the upstairs, we went to the ground floor, where the magic happens. The OTTRA workshop has all the essential wood shop machines, and once you turn the corner, a ShopBot PRSAlpha and a PRSalpha ATC CNC machine are busy carving all day long. While their third CNC machine, a ShopBot Desktop MAX does not see continual use, I discussed ideas with the resident Shopbot operator, Nate Laux, on keeping that machine as busy as the full size machines. Chairs were being carved during my visit and I was sure to document the action. Co-owner, Sofia Zimmerman says, “We originally outsourced our CNC work. We eventually found it to make more sense to have our own CNC machines for the purpose of serving our clients better and streamlining our process. ShopBot made it easy to get started.”

Sculptural chairs in various stages of production in the workshop. (see video above photos for a peek into the ShopBot CNC process)

Company History: Sofia and Adam Zimmerman started OTTRA as a side project to their architectural firm, Zimmerman Workshop, in 2017. The first location for OTTRA was in the Dumbo neighborhood of Brooklyn, followed by a location in Gowanus. They have been at their Red Hook location since 2020, currently with a staff of six. They create solid wood furniture and special installations, from side tables to staircases.  

Favorite Project: A current favorite at the shop is a custom credenza project for a Manhattan client’s home. Click here for some behind the scenes of the process and steps involved! Also pictured below. 

Preview of a recently completed credenza for a local client's home.

Conclusion: If you would love to learn more about OTTRA, see how bespoke, luxury furniture is made, or inquire about a piece, contact OTTRA for a shop tour the next time you’re in New York City. Take the ferry between Red Hook and Wall Street If you’re traveling between Manhattan and Brooklyn. The views are well worth it.

Links: OTTRA Website, Instagram

Photos by: Ross Gruet 

(aside from staircase, by: John Muggenborg and credenza, courtesy of OTTRA)

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