Sandback was raised in Brooklyn, New York, where he was immersed in the art world. His father, Fred Sandback (1943-2003), had a studio in SOHO in New York City and gained international acclaim in the 1960s as a minimalist sculptor known for his yarn sculptures, drawings and prints. While Peter Sandback grew up primarily in Brooklyn, he spent the weekends at his father’s apartment in SoHo—a neighborhood south of Houston Street in Manhattan which was at the center of New York’s art scene in the ‘60s and ‘70s. He recalls meeting well-known artists from the period, including Andy Warhol, and falling asleep in front of the speakers at a concert the famous composer Philip Glass gave at his apartment.
Sandback received a BFA in industrial design from the University of Michigan and a MFA in sculpture from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He moved west to San Francisco’s Bay Area, where in 1992 he founded his furniture business. Since 2004, Peter has maintained a studio in Harrisville, New Hampshire. Sandback’s studio is in a large renovated garage on 30 acres of land. The space is bright, with work tables and machines used to process wood. Sandback spends about 50 hours per week in his Harrisville studio, designing and constructing his tables. While there, he’s drilling, placing nails or using a variety of machines to sand, process and treat the wood. His inlay designs are inspired by katagami, an ancient Japanese stencil used to dye textiles—often used for kimonos. Sandback is attracted to these designs because they are handmade.
“It’s the way the pattern looks afterwards; it’s warmer. It doesn’t look like a robot-generated pattern; it looks like a human-generated pattern. It’s just more interesting, especially since there’s so many patterns made by the computer out there in the world.” Peter Sandback
Sandback is a 2015 Martha Stewart American Made Honoree and has regularly exhibited at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF), held annually in New York City. His work has been featured in multiple design publications.
Inspiring and sparking individuals with art and design is markedly a fortuitous profession. But Peter and Sarah Sandback believe in taking that success outside of the studio, contributing portions of their profits to various projects and NFP’s based in Central America. Building community and providing education for children in poverty stricken areas is their focus. This year they hope to expand those efforts through Sandback & Co—a cohesive group of designers and artists creating finely executed goods for the home and human.
Portions from these sales will allow them to go further with their efforts in Central America. Funds go specifically towards building schools, community centers, donating computers, language software, solar set up for remote locations, school supplies, shoes for sports, salary for teachers, support for cultural exchange and beyond. Connecting kids with peers around the world and contributing to the improvement of their education and cultural growth is the goal. In a world where many feel powerless, committing to arm children with the knowledge, heart, and courage to stand up and be heard, is essential.
Peter and Sarah Sandback back the projects by traveling with their own family to communities in Central America, and following through with the company’s mission hands-on. Artists and designers alike looking to empower our future generations are encouraged to participate. Get involved by starting a conversation with Sandback & Co on strengthening communities and improving education.