A Westside Experiment’s Magic Formula

I.D. Lab mixes artist commune with showroom

Photograph by Christina Wedge

In the living room of last month’s Atlanta Symphony Associates Decorators’ Show House, did you notice a pair of vintage French-style bookcases with a soft, lustrous finish the color of honeyed cream? Or last time you dined at No. 246, did you admire the rows of zinc-topped tables? Where do style-setters like designer Stan Topol and chef Ford Fry find such gems? Both turn to custom furniture designer Chris Hagen, who now sells his wares through a Westside retail space, I.D. Lab.

The project—more of an artist commune than a showroom—is the brainchild of Hagen and his partner, Adam Stewart. “It’s hard to describe, there are so many hyphens,” admits Hagen. “But we’re all creative types working to make the world a prettier place.” The former Army railroad depot functions as a store, an event space, an art gallery (with rotating exhibits by artists such as David Roper and Cynthia Knapp), a design studio, and even a hair salon.

In addition to Hagen’s designs, refurbished vintage furniture and accessories are top draws. For example, a midcentury chrome rocker exchanged cracked pink vinyl for taupe linen. Seventies-era school chairs got new seats of tiger maple. And touristy black bear desk accessories took an ironic twist in high-gloss Hermès orange.

Clever refurbs aside, Hagen says, “I don’t like pinpointing myself into that reclaimed, urban, industrial look.” He studied in London and admires Nina Campbell and Sister Parish. His aesthetic is perhaps best reflected in Stewart’s rustic hair salon. “We talk about that mountain house in Blue Ridge so much that everyone thinks we actually have one,” says Hagen, with a wistful grin. 996 Huff Road, 404-997-3586, inherentdesignlab.com

This article originally appeared in our June 2012 issue.