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John Black, the owner of creative design firm J Black Design – launched in 2000 – is not an interior designer or a manufacturer, but strictly a furniture designer. Renowned for his ability to reinterpret 18th and 19th-century forms, he adjusts scale, proportion, finishes, materials and subtle nuances to bring classical designs into the 21st century. Thus, he is both a modernist and a classicist. Throughout his 30-year career, Black has collaborated with such interior designers as Barbara Barry, Michael Vanderbyl, Reed Krakoff, Dan Carithers and Michael Connors. As a student at Michigan's Kendall College of Art and Design, John Black particularly enjoyed a course in historical influences on furniture design. He was fascinated by the role that social, cultural and political elements had played in the furniture people built and used across time and place. This interest proved useful; in his design work now, John Black focuses not on periods or cultures, but on historical forms, or shapes and structures tied to function. In his own words, he brings “a modern sensibility to traditional forms,” respecting tradition without being 'traditional'. The North Carolina resident’s portfolio includes many different collections, and he designs a wide variety of furniture – sideboards, nightstands, commodes, dining sets, lounge chairs, sofas, ottomans, side tables, coffee tables, cocktail tables, bar cabinets, chests, benches, beds, office chairs, dressers and more. Examples include his Cosmopolitan Nightstand – a classic rectangular silhouette with four drawers made from ribbon-striped mahogany and with round bronze drawer pulls – and a black and rosewood, four-door cabinet with square brushed brass feet; the piece has a traditional aesthetic, but also includes several pull-out drawers to facilitate accessibility and functionality. Black travels extensively for inspiration, and his understated, classic approach to furniture design has made him a well-known and highly respected part of the industry.