The online edition of Ocean Home magazine is currently running a feature article I wrote about a collaboration between two Virginia companies – New Ravenna on the Eastern Shore and McKinnon and Harris in Richmond – that are collaborating on new, high-end mosaic tabletops for outdoor use. A+A is pleased to re-post it here today:
Two small Virginia businesses—each artisan-driven and each highly successful—have joined forces to create custom-designed, handcrafted tables.
McKinnon and Harris has been making high-end outdoor furniture in Richmond since 1991. New Ravenna has been producing exquisite glass and stone mosaics on the Eastern Shore since 1992. Now they’ve teamed up to turn out high-performance aluminum tables from McKinnon and Harris, topped with natural stone mosaics from New Ravenna.
“They have the same pursuit of excellence that we do, with a respect for creativity and the arts,” says Will Massie, cofounder of McKinnon and Harris, about New Ravenna. “They don’t want to be the biggest—just the best.”
Tabletops seemed a natural nexus. “We’re adding something cool to their product, which they were looking for,” says Richard Walters, New Ravenna’s CEO.
New offerings include a 45-inch Albemarle square dining table, a 45-inch Mundy round dining table, and a 60-by-30-inch Parsons coffee table. The three debut mosaic patterns, chosen from the thousands that New Ravenna makes, are called Raj, Marabel, and Rattan. Their stones have been polished, tumbled, and honed for texture and interplay of light.
Each pattern exudes its own character. Raj is geometric and modern. Marabel looks like it’s straight out of an ancient ruin. And Rattan is textural, to round out the portfolio. “Designers really love to play with color, texture and patterns—and mosaics really give the designer the ability to create something truly unique that nobody else has,” Massie says.
He and his sister, Anne, founded their company with the goal of elevating and inspiring their clients with art, design, and craftsmanship. Of their 120 employees in Richmond’s Scott’s Addition, 95 are engaged in manufacturing. The firm creates its furniture out of high-performance aluminum with a titanium undercoating, adding an epoxy primer and a urethane finish.
“It really gives us an edge over everybody in the industry,” he says. “We’re known for having a product that’s built to last—you can use it out on the saltwater.”
New Ravenna, on the other hand, was founded by Sara Baldwin, a native of Exmore, Virginia. While a graduate student at art school at the University of Pennsylvania, she visited New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and came across ancient mosaics. She began recreating them herself—and eventually turned New Ravenna into Exmore’s largest employer—with four buildings and a staff of 125.
Walters, who attended Georgetown as an undergraduate and the London Business School for graduate work, visited New Ravenna’s factory in 2013. “It was an incredible thing—it was art, but business,” he says. When Baldwin asked him to join the company as its CEO in 2015, he agreed—and then bought New Ravenna in 2017.
Walters and Massie met through Makers Alliance, a peer-to-peer network of like-minded, luxury maker brands. “We quickly formed a bond and determined that we’d love to create a product collection together because of all we have in common,” Massie says.
Luckily, he says it’s a collaboration destined to last for years.
For more, go here.