Bold designs incorporating naturalist themes adorn the books, cards, posters and wall-hangings at Binth, 7507 Madison St. It’s a new a new gift store in Forest Park’s commercial hub that’s geared toward improved design and craft; and it combines modern family decor with practical functionality.
“Everything has to have a purpose,” said Suzanna Bierwirth, creative director and part owner of the new store. “That’s the German side of it.”
Originally from Altena, Germany, Bierwirth came to Los Angeles at 22 with a photography scholarship. Over the years, her work led her to advertising, and brought her corporate clientele, but Binth allowed her to return to her creative side. Ê
“At a certain age, you come back to your roots,” Bierwirth said. “I wanted to go back to collaborative work with people I love. That’s basically what we’re doing now.”
The new establishment will be part-gallery, part-design studio, and part-retail: the front of the store will display an ever-changing array of Binth’s designs and products, showcasing the work of various designers, while the rear will serve as a workshop dedicated to custom framing done on-site.
“Everything we sell, I know where it’s made and who makes it,” Bierwirth said. “There’s a personal relationship with the designers.”
All of Binth’s products, from commemorative baby books to intricate light fixtures, are made in collaboration with handpicked artists, artisans and designers from the United States and Europe. Bierwirth describes them as “crazy artists from all walks of life.”
Each product carries with it information about its design, including where it was made and who made it.
The designs are simple, yet striking, and rely heavily on nature for inspiration.
“I grew up in a town of 15,000 people, with woods, rivers and valleys,” Bierwirth said. “I spent my childhood out in the woods.”
Though Binth has been in business since 2005, the company has sold its products online or to retailers, such as Land of Nod, Crate and Barrel’s children’s collection.
Binth’s opening on Madison Street is the company’s first brick-and-mortar venture, though, co-owner Brad Simpson pointed out.
“It’s great for people to see it in person,” Bierwirth said. “We were looking to get a bigger space, and we said ‘let’s just open the store to the public.'”
“We are a pretty big mix of children’s design and grown-ups design,” she added, describing the merchandise. “I don’t like to separate the two.”
According to Simpson, though, Binth’s baby book is the business’ “flagship item.”
Situated in a former Masonic temple, it seems to fit that, at Binth’s core, is an almost fraternal collaboration of designers.
“I’m the creative director, but it’s a collective,” said Bierwirth. “I don’t like making decisions alone. Everybody brings what they’re best at to the table.”
Bierwirth, who lives in Oak Park, is excited to open a shop in Forest Park.
“I moved to Oak Park three years ago, but I really fell in love with Forest Park,” she said. “I come from a very small town in Germany, and this is like home.”
Binth will hold its opening party on Thursday, Dec 1, from 4-10 p.m. The store will open to the public on Friday, Dec.2, and will remain open seven days a week through the month of December.
Nick Moroni contributed to this article.