We talk with the minds behind Lonewa, the furniture brand bringing you comfort in simplicity
Frank Sampognaro and Kyle Snellenberger are just two guys from Louisiana who both love the clean minimalism of Mid-Century Modern furniture. Frank, who’s formally trained in business, is also a graphic design and digital media aficionado, and Kyle finds his creative home in construction and furniture design. Together, they are Lonewa, a burgeoning furniture company focused on making multifunctional pieces carefully crafted and produced locally in Louisiana.
Tell us about your work.
Well first, Lonewa is currently a team of two. I create the initial designs and my best friend and other half of Lonewa, Kyle Snellenberger, is the woodcraft expert that leads in making the designs come to life. Together, we look for things either neglected in design or lacking a multi-functional use. While keeping very classic lines and disciplines, we add a unique character that is evolving into a very strong ‘Lonewa’ look. All of our materials are high quality woods such as solid walnut or ash, and beautiful contrasting hardware such as solid brass, copper, or powder coated metal. All branding and media is done in-house as well. From logo, videos, social media, and photography, we’re able to maintain a unified vision and visual message.
Allow a room to be useful at all times. Spaces should be able to adjust throughout the day, so buy and decorate for those multiple needs.
What was your path to becoming a designer?
I think there’s three separate, but complementary, paths that led me to this – one of art, one mid-century appreciation, and one of business. For art, since childhood, I was always a drawer. That led to other artistic fields such as painting, videography, and graphic design. My mid-century appreciation came from my grandmother’s home. With its glass rooms and terrazzo floors, the design always had a strong effect on me to one day design mid-century influenced furniture. As for business, my formal education (MBA) and several business ventures offered structure to my creativity. Lonewa has been the most personal venture, and one that I’ve been most happy to create.
How would you describe your style? How does it translate to your work?
I would definitely say our style leans towards a warm minimalism. Since both of us at Lonewa were born and raised in Louisiana, we’ve always been in contact with inviting homes, warm days, bayous and moss, and greenery all around. I feel that’s why no matter how modern or minimal our products are, there’s a strong warmth to them.
What is your favorite part of your day?
My favorite part of the day would definitely be early morning after I’ve had my first cup of coffee. It may be cheesy, but it’s a new day and I have my creative juices flowing.
Where and when are you most inspired?
I’m most inspired when driving, especially on long road trips. It gives me time to think and develop an idea through several iterations, even before anything moves to pen and paper.
What has been your most challenging/creatively rewarding project to date? Why?
I would say our most rewarding project to date would be our Garrison Console. Why? Because out of the project, we developed a signature leg design that will be used in several upcoming items. It’s an evolution to our hexagon shape, and allows the cabinets or tabletops to float from the legs.
How has your design philosophy changed since you began your practice?
We’re still a fairly new company, but the biggest change would be our focus to ship products flat while not sacrificing design quality. As we send products across the US, and internationally, we struggle with making our customers pay such high prices to just receive their order. We’ve made great strides, and there’s more ideas we’re testing.
What, in your opinion, makes a space feel homey?
Good lighting and plenty of plants.
What is one element that can draw a room together when it feels like nothing goes together?
That’s a hard one…I’d have to say a good paint color.