After 5 Years, Forage Modern Design Evolves with More Gifts and Art

The modern home store expands with more gifts and original art—including an exhibition opening this weekend

When it was founded five years ago by contractors Michael Smith and James Brown, who have created and restored various residential and commercial properties in the Twin Cities, Forage Modern Workshop quickly become a favorite for those whose personal mantra is “shop local.” At the beginning, the Lake Street storefront was stocked with hand-made products from Minnesota makers and vintage finds, but as time went on, it began stocking modern furniture by major names such as Gus* Modern and Loll Designs. On the eve of its fifth anniversary, the store has evolved to focus on stocking unique, functional home decor and gifts by makers and design studios from around the globe—and less on name-brand furnishings.

(Image courtesy Forage Modern Workshop)

“There are so many more places you can buy beautiful, modern furniture today than there were five years ago,” explains Rebekah Cook, the store’s director of operations. Instead, she says the store is selling a rotating selection of restored, mid-century modern furniture from Minnesota-based workshop, Golden Age Design, and home goods that marry form and function, such as braided rope baskets by Brooklyn-based artist Doug Johnston and monochromatic toothbrushes by Danish furniture design company HAY. The store also is hosting regular art exhibitions featuring local and national artists, and selling one-of-a-kind ceramics and jewelry by indie makers. “We want to continue to bring in pieces that people haven’t seen in the Twin Cities and create an atmosphere that celebrates beautiful things,” says Cook. “We’re always trying to stay inspired, and push the boundaries of what Minnesotans think of as ‘modern design.’”

The shop’s next featured art exhibition, I’m 729 Days Late by Ouecha, opens this Saturday, November 4 with a reception from 4 to 7 p.m., and will be on view through December 31. “Ouecha” is a made up word that was created by artist couple, Frank Lyon and Christy Carr. “It’s an idea that they have formed and has evolved over the years to describe a way of life, an attitude, a way of being in the world,” explains Cook. Follow Lyon at @ouecha and Carr at @ouechapohs to see more of their work. Also mark your calendars for the Holiday Bazaar at Paikka event space on November 13 from noon to 5 p.m., at which Forage will be bringing a selection of its liftable merchandise, and the Goldstein Museum of Design’s second annual Cocktails by Design event on November 16 from 6 to 9 p.m., hosted at Forage with cocktails from Eat Street Social. (Get tickets at

Forage Modern Workshop is located @ 4023 E. Lake St., Minneapolis, 612-886-3603,

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