Studio Wise Uses Expertise in Specials to Create New Lines


The Business of Furniture | February 17, 2016

The Grand Rapids company has created two new furniture lines that build no its success creating bespoke products for the likes of the USTA National Tennis Center, San Diego International Airport and Hyatt Hotels.

By Rob Kirkbride

Troy Bosworth is like the chef at a five-star restaurant whose menu changes every day. But instead of serving up first-class cuisine, Bosworth and his team at Studio Wise create delicious custom furniture that can be found in some of the most exclusive offices and hospitality sites in the U.S.

Yet Studio Wise has a taste for something more. The Grand Rapids company has created two new furniture lines that build o its success creating bespoke products for the likes of the USTA National Tennis Center, San Diego International Airport and Hyatt Hotels.

Studio Wise is not going from haute cuisine to fast-food fare, but the company believes the research and design going into some of its most successful, one-o products can be used to create furniture that will appeal to other customers as well. Studio Wise is working to get its Fuse and Pop lines to clients across the country by adding to its sales organization and proving to designers it can not only supply specials, but also standard products by the truckload.

It is a bold move for the small firm with a base on the gritty edge of downtown Grand Rapids, but one that Bosworth believes will pay o . He founded the company eight years ago, and it has steadily grown in large part because of his ability to engineer and build special products for the hospitality and office furniture industry. Bosworth and his team have the ability to take an idea and turn it into real, functional, beautiful products. “So many projects have concept designs,” he said. “By building great relationships with our customers, I know how to build what they want and need.”

Fuse is the company’s first national prod- uct. It is a simple butcher block table line that comes in 20 seriously unique finishes Studio Wise believes fills a gap in the market. Designers can chose from a variety of bases, which gives the Fuse product dramatically different looks depending on the finish and base frame. The product comes in solid wood and a new wood veneer option.

Pop is a line of furniture introduced to the market last month. It’s a powder-coated wood furniture line that can be manufactured in just about any color of the rainbow. John VanZee, an industry veteran who along with Eric Lanning and Bosworth make up the core leadership team at Studio Wise, said Pop has the performance of a laminate at competitive price point. It has no edge banding, but can survive the rigors of an office or hospitality space.

Because designers can specify or match any color, Pop truly creates pop in an office or hospitality space. Since Studio Wise focuses “on the things that are often the most difficult,” it is using the knowledge it has collected to strengthen its two core product lines. “This is our research,” Bosworth said. “The design portion of the business becomes our incubator. It helps us understand what the market is looking for.”

Though Fuse and Pop are “standard” lines, 

they are anything but standard. If a designer understands a circle, rectangle or square, the size and shape of the product doesn’t matter to Studio Wise. They can make them any size or shape the customer desires. With its many choices of color, iStudio Wise is blurring the line between a special and a standard product by using its design knowledge to create customizable standards.

Studio Wise makes its customs in a small, but very capable shop below its office. The company works with partners that are part of West Michigan’s huge supplier base to tackle larger projects. Over the last year, the company has built on its reputation to provide products on time and complete as it rolls out standard products.

Bosworth understands sales organizations and designers have tried new manufacturers and been burned. So it has been important for Studio Wise to build on its reputation to get product to its customers on time and complete. The industry is taking note. Studio Wise has doubled its sales representation in the last year.

“We want to step outside West Michigan and tell people what we are doing. Studio Wise is

not just a tabletop company. As people learn more about us and trust us, the more we can give them,” Bosworth said.

Lanning said Studio Wise wants to be known as a go-to designer and manufacturer of “really cool stuff .” Once people visit Studio Wise and understand its capabilities, they grab hold of “what’s possible” and run with it, he said. “I believe this is going to be a national progression,” he said.

VanZee said the company is strong enough to choose projects that interest them. Where the brand goes in the future will be deter- mined by its customers. Studio Wise is filled with creatives, but they don’t act like a bunch of artists. Instead they create beauty that is practical and functional. It uses a systematic approach to helping customers figure out what is needed in a project. Studio Wise takes its customers through a process where together they study, translate, create and craft. It is a step-by-step process that makes sure the customer gets what it wants and needs. No matter how large Studio Wise grows, it will continue to use the process to help its clients. 

There's a Donkey in East Hills selling tacos!

There's a Donkey in East Hills selling tacos!

Well, at least there will be in November when Donkey, a new kind of taqueria, opens in what used to be a neighborhood gas station on the corner of Henry St. SE and Wealthy St. SE (665 Wealthy St. SE).

Donkey kicks up its heels just a stone's throw from The Winchester restaurant, owned by Paul Lee and his family, the main investors and idea-generators behind Donkey's concept.

"It's a taco shop, and we'll add a little bar element to it," Lee says. "It's going to be tacos, salsas, margaritas, and we'll have Spanish beers on tap. The taqueria is something that we don't really have in Grand Rapids, not like this. We want to put something in place that's very different than The Winchester and something unique for the city. We're taking a building that was existing and there wasn't much use for it anymore, and we're finding a new use for it."

While Lee doesn't open up much about what customers can expect when they walk in the door -- he wants them to have their own experience of the place -- he did divulge that the interior woodwork is crafted from reclaimed wood that came from four houses demolished a while ago in Detroit. The bar, created by Troy Bosworth of Studio Wise Design, will be one-of-a-kind and custom to the space.

Prior to the start of construction last December, environmental soil testing came back clean, despite years of having gas tanks sunk in the ground. The tanks were removed about 20 years ago. The soil wasn't conducive to compaction, so much of it was removed and replaced before work began, says Lee.

There's no onsite parking because the original gas station didn't need it, but there will be space for some 30 bicycles and seven new on-street automobile spaces.

Construction: McGraw Construction


Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor

Casual dining restaurant and bar opening soon on Muskegon's waterfront

By land or by lake, no matter how patrons arrive at a new waterfront restaurant in Muskegon, they'll find a bar and eatery with lakeside dining and fabulous views of Muskegon Lake sunsets. 

So says Jon Rooks of Parkland Properties, developer of The Lake House Waterfront Grille, 730 Terrace Point Blvd., the latest piece of a multi-million dollar renovation of The Shoreline Inn & Suites and Terrace Point Marina complex. The restaurant, formerly called Rafferty's, retained only its original structure. 

"Everything is brand new," Rooks says. "We added a herringbone maple floor and have 160 feet of windows facing the water. There's also a 160-foot-long deck out over the water that faces west for watching the sunsets."

Most of a custom walnut and granite curved bar created by Troy Bosworth from Studio Wise is indoors; the rest, which is shaped like the aft of a boat, is outdoors. Patrons can enjoy their drinks on the deck, or on a patio under the Locust trees the grow through the floor. 

The Lake House opens July 28, offering a full drink menu, as well as dining creations by Chefs Dustin Schultz and Charlie Forrester. The menu ranges from appetizers like Lake House fish tacos and Tuscan bean and goat cheese dip, to sandwiches, burgers, pasta, steaks and seafood.

Rooks says the complex takes up only five acres of the 20-plus-acre property. 

"I want to attract other developers to what I think is the best opportunity in Michigan right now, and that's the Muskegon shoreline," he says. 

"Muskegon has a host of amazing events occurring all year round," he adds. "People recognize that it's a great place to be in the summer. We want to use the hotel and restaurant to attract people and events in the nine months of the off-season. If the owners of the waterfront properties can work together, we can accomplish the synergy that's possible."

Source: Jon Rooks, Parkland Properties

Deborah Johnson Wood is development news editor for Rapid Growth Media. She can be contacted at Development News tips can be sent to