Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Piece Work

tangram International puts it all together



Steel Swift sounds like the name of a super-hero, although the man who goes by that moniker declares he’s anything but. “It is my name, it was my middle name, it comes from my grandmother’s maiden name, which is a Boston tradition,” Swift says. “I come from a long line of whalers from New Bedford. Now I’m in good old Bedford.” 

 
Swift and wife Tricia, whose desks have been side by side for 28 years, are principals in Tangram International, an award-winning design shop specializing in retail environments, trade shows, and special events. Their company designs and produces environments that present clients’ products in remarkable ways. Their top-notch client roster includes, among many others, CNN, Nike, Polo Ralph Lauren, J. Crew, Sony Pictures Television, Vanity Fair, Variety, Bravo, and—locally—Katonah Museum of Art and Rippowam Cisqua. “Brands come to us looking for ways to connect with consumers,” Steel says over coffee at the Bedford Post. “Our approach is experiential. We create environments that directly connect with people on a gut level, where they live. We’re looking for a response that is visceral.”
 
“Every great project is a collaboration,” Tricia says of the brainstorming that goes on with clients. While the Swifts live in Bedford, Tangram lives in a 25,000-square-foot space in Pleasantville. Employing 30 people, it also has offices in Los Angeles and Cannes, France. Tricia is CFO; Steel is in charge of sales and marketing; and a third partner, Aiden Corish, who originally hails from Dublin, is chief designer. The work happens, um, swiftly. “From concept to completion, the average job takes six weeks,” Steel says. 
 
The company name is inspired by a popular Chinese puzzle game called a tangram, where seven flat pieces, including different-sized hypotenuse triangles, a square, and a parallelogram, can be turned into an uncountable number of shapes—animals, people, and everyday objects. Steel describes what Tangram does as “creativity delivered. We articulate modern culture through new forms at the intersection between art and production.”
 
After 25 years in business, Steel says the biggest impact has come, not surprisingly, from the computer-science industry. “Computers make it easier to produce complicated things,” Steel says. “They push harder at mimicking the craft of hand finishing.” He might be speaking of the 25-foot-wide-by-eight-foot-tall paint-by-numbers mural Tangram produced for Converse. The firm was recently featured in an issue of Event Design in the “Best Practices” section; and at a trade event last spring, their work for Nike took a “Best in Show.” This past summer, an installation for Havaianas sandals appeared in Bendel’s tony Fifth Avenue window.
 
Having produced environments displayed around the world, Tangram is just as proud of its efforts close to home, such as the children’s learning center created for the Katonah Museum of Art. “We designed and built it 15 years ago and it still looks great,” Tricia says. “The museum does an amazing job of maintaining it.” The Swifts also produce environments for Ripp, handling the school’s biannual auction as well as internal events. “At some point, all of our four children have gone there,” Tricia says of her brood, two of whom are now in college; two more enrolled in the Bedford Central Schools. 
 
So can what happens at Tangram technically be called art? “I call it flexibility within a framework,” Steel says. “Origami with a purpose.”  

Add your comment:

Connect With Us

             

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Content

Hawley Cow

Fashion-forward Mary Ann Hawley loves her cowboy boots and Texan hats, but she never thought of herself as a cowgirl until she took up cattle farming in Bedford.

Profiles

Your Guides to Leading Local Professionals

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

December 2018

Join us to see work by local photographer Curtis Ryan Lew.

Cost: no charge

Where:
Martin House Workspace
69 Westchester Avenue
Pound Ridge, NY  10576
View map »


Sponsor: Martin House Workspace
Telephone: 914-764-3128
Contact Name: Erin Trostle

More information

Jolly Saint Nick comes to Caramoor to fill the Rosen House with holiday cheer. The little ones will be in for an adventure with I Spy a Santa or Two in the Music Room followed by a 30-minute...

Cost: Children $10, Adults $15

Where:
Rosen House Music Room
Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts
149 Girdle Ridge Rd
Katonah, NY  10536
View map »


Sponsor: Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts
Telephone: 914-232-1252
Website »

More information

Buddy (Will Ferrell) is different from all of Santa’s other elves. For one thing, he’s “a cotton-headed ninny muggins” when it comes to making toys. For another, he’s...

Cost: 12.00

Where:
Bedford Playhouse
633 OLD POST RD
BEDFORD, CT  10506
View map »


Website »

More information

Jolly Saint Nick comes to Caramoor to fill the Rosen House with holiday cheer. The little ones will be in for an adventure with I Spy a Santa or Two in the Music Room followed by a 30-minute...

Cost: Children $10, Adults $15

Where:
Rosen House Music Room
Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts
149 Girdle Ridge Rd
Katonah, NY  10536
View map »


Sponsor: Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts
Telephone: 914-232-1252
Website »

More information

The ghosts of Mozart, Schubert, Brahms, klezmer, ragtime, Peruvian folk music, and Hindustani singers hover over the music of Pulitzer Prize-winner JOHN HARBISON, WILLIAM...

Cost: $25, $10 (Students)

Where:
Copland House at Merestead
455 Byram Lake Road
Mount Kisco, NY  10549
View map »


Sponsor: Copland House
Telephone: 914-788-4659
Website »

More information

On November 3rd, Heather Gaudio Fine Artis set to open “Room for Play,” a group exhibition featuring works by Ellen Carey, Deborah Kass, Robert...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

The Sanctuary Series celebrates the Holiday Season on Sunday afternoon, December 16, with "Bach for the Holidays" featuring keyboardist Anthony Newman performing selected works on piano and organ...

Cost: $15 to $50

Where:
South Salem Presbyterian Church
111 Spring Street
South Salem, NY  10590
View map »


Sponsor: The Sanctuary Series
Telephone: 203-550-5992
Contact Name: Mary Jane Newman
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

On November 3rd, Heather Gaudio Fine Artis set to open “Room for Play,” a group exhibition featuring works by Ellen Carey, Deborah Kass, Robert...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Making a stamp from a potato is a fun and inexpensive way of turning plain paper into something special. Why not try personalizing your next gift with potato stamp gift wrap? You will have the...

Cost: No Cost

Where:
Mount Kisco Public Library
100 East Main Street
Mount Kisco, NY  10549
View map »


Telephone: 914-666-8041

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Join us as we make SLIME take home with you using glue, baking soda, and other safe ingredients!Ages: 6-12Registration required - please call 914-864-0130Location of event - downstairs in the kids...

Cost: No Cost

Where:
Mount Kisco Public Library
100 East Main Street
Mount Kisco, NY  10549
View map »


Telephone: 914-666-8041

More information

Vanessa Williams, the multi-platinum recording artist and actress from Chappaqua will headline a holiday benefit concert for San Miguel Academy of Newburgh (SMAN) on December 18 at 7:00 p.m. at...

Cost: $100

Where:
Chappaqua Performing Arts Center
480 Bedford Road
Chappaqua, NY  10514
View map »


Sponsor: Orange Bank & Trust Company

More information

On November 3rd, Heather Gaudio Fine Artis set to open “Room for Play,” a group exhibition featuring works by Ellen Carey, Deborah Kass, Robert...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

December 19th at 4:00 PM. Open to all ages. Decorate holiday cookies with icing, candies, and other treats! This event is free and no registration is required. Co-sponsored with the NS Recreation...

Cost: Free

Where:
Keeler Library
276 Titicus Road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-669-5161
Contact Name: Carolyn Reznick
Website »

More information

On November 3rd, Heather Gaudio Fine Artis set to open “Room for Play,” a group exhibition featuring works by Ellen Carey, Deborah Kass, Robert...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Facilitated by Nina Bertolino This program will meet every other Wednesday from 10:30 - 12:30 on the following dates: September 12th & 26th, October 10th & 24th, November 7th & 21st, December 5th...

Cost: Free

Where:
Ruth Keeler Memorial Library
276 Titicus Road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-669-5161
Contact Name: Carolyn Reznick
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

On November 3rd, Heather Gaudio Fine Artis set to open “Room for Play,” a group exhibition featuring works by Ellen Carey, Deborah Kass, Robert...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

On November 3rd, Heather Gaudio Fine Artis set to open “Room for Play,” a group exhibition featuring works by Ellen Carey, Deborah Kass, Robert...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

On November 3rd, Heather Gaudio Fine Artis set to open “Room for Play,” a group exhibition featuring works by Ellen Carey, Deborah Kass, Robert...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

December 22nd at 1:00 PM. Open to all ages. Create ornaments out of popsicle sticks such as popsicle snowflakes and more! Free and no registration required. For questions, you can email the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Keeler Library
276 Titicus Road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-669-5161
Contact Name: Carolyn Reznick
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags