Most everybody wants to do the right thing if they can. This includes professionals in the built environment – developers, builders, interior designers, and architects. But it’s not always easy to know where to go or how to do it.
That’s where the genius of Monmade comes in. Originally a nonprofit program of the Creative Business Accelerator of Bridgeway Capital, Monmade founder Adam Kenney had a vision to create a regional marketplace that activated a network of local Western Pennsylvania craft businesses and artisans that could add unique value to new developments. Since its inception in 2017, Monmade has grown through a keen sense of emerging trends in real estate development, workforce development, revenue-generating potential of modern manufacturing, increased consumer desire for transparency in production, and now sustainability.
Monmade connects and supports creative, environmentally responsible Western Pennsylvania small business artisans and designers with local architects, builders, interior designers, and developers to transform ideas into beautiful, healthy, and sustainable products for the built environment.
“Our greatest challenge, which is also our greatest opportunity,” says Monmade Director Katie Schaible, “is to find those unicorns who want to create something artisanal, interesting, local, and sustainable right from the inception of a project.”
Monmade makes it a priority to support local Western Pennsylvania “producers” (which is how they refer to their artisans, makers, manufacturers, and craftspeople) with an emphasis on inclusivity of women and minority-owned small businesses. Their mission is to promote economic opportunity and environmental sustainability by serving as an impact-driven intermediary between design and development professionals and regional makers and manufacturers.
Just this year, Monmade brought on Sustainability Consultant Shayna Bodi, with accreditations including LEED, Certified Green Building Professional, and Green Point Rater. Shayna helped develop the sustainablyMonmade initiative with Julia Reynolds, Monmade’s Product Development Specialist. SustainablyMonmade increases and nurtures sustainable production practices for Monmade’s network of producers to have a positive impact on the region’s economy, environment, and social well-being.
Through sustainablyMonmade’s Dimensions of Sustainability program, producers are educated and assessed on six dimensions: environment, social equity, climate, circular economy, human health, and eco-labs. Producers achieve a dimension when they meet one or more of a dimension’s defined criteria. Based on this assessment, Monmade will be sharing the dimensions of sustainability met by the producers and products featured in their catalog in the coming months. Corresponding icons, along with useful specific information, will appear on product pages for potential clients to view.
Monmade is putting millions of dollars back into the pockets of local small and minority-owned businesses through connection, marketing, and project management assistance on exciting projects like the current renovation of the historic Roundhouse at Hazelwood Green.
Originally built by the Monongahela Connecting Railroad circa 1887 and formerly owned by Jones & Laughlin Steel and later LTV Steel Company, the 10-bay Roundhouse and turntable was used to stabilize train engines for servicing and to redirect the materials they carried through the processes of production and on to final distribution. In 2017, Pittsburgh architectural firm GBBN was chosen to design and renovate Roundhouse for future occupant OneValley (fka GSVlabs), whose mission is to support entrepreneurs and foster innovation around the world.
Through sustainablyMonmade’s pilot program at Roundhouse, four local producers were interviewed, assessed, and chosen to contribute their products to this project:
- Limelight Tile & Ceramics – bathroom tile
- Roost Design Build – wood and plastic wayfinding
- Spacapan – pendant lights
- Technique Architectural Products – powder coated metal work
Monmade’s Katie Schaible now manages ten local producers making 20 different products on this project as an intermediary between the architect, interior designer, and the producers. She has been meeting at least weekly for the past year with the GBBN architect to make sure specs and designs are approved and the project is progressing. Roundhouse will employ energy efficiency systems for heating and cooling and will seek LEED GOLD certification upon completion.
One Green Product Design Competition
Just last week, Monmade announced the winners of their first ever One Green Product Design Competition. Producers were challenged to create a new, standout product for the built environment that combined design, innovation, sustainability, and local impact.
Congratulations to the following three winners!
- John Pena Art – Core Sample Bollard & Text Bollard
- Transit Forge – TRANSITION Bike Racks
- Clark Morelia – Modular Light
Each winner will receive a $1,500 grant to further develop and standardize their product concept, and Monmade will help launch the winners’ products through their catalog.
Green Building Alliance is proud to partner with great organizations like Monmade who support sustainable and beautiful buildings in our region. If you are a developer, architect, builder, or interior designer looking to create beautiful, healthy, sustainable spaces while supporting local small businesses, be sure to check out Monmade!