The Architect’s Wife has always been focused internally on showcasing our showroom space and the artists, creators, or makers within it. But given the current circumstances, we’re learning to shift our focus and connect with people in new ways. More importantly, we want to shine a light on craftspeople and the creativity they contribute to our community. In this series which we’ve dubbed “Stoop Stories”, The Architect’s Wife visits friends and makers to share how they’re staying in/spired.
Let us introduce you to Pete Costanti – the founder of MFGR who whole heartedly believes in providing a space that encourages employees to explore their creative pursuits while collectively giving a voice to modern mountain design. MFGR is not bound to the traditional rules of design, but operate in a world where art, architecture, furniture and fabrication intersect. The MFGR team works under the north-star of a phrase “LEGOs. Not EGOs” – a multi faceted reminder to let go of that ridged state of wanting control and remembering you are part of a larger system bigger than yourself. Focus on how best to make a contribution and continue building up. Their distinct style can be found all over the Bozeman, MT from public park bridges, music venues, and likely the chairs where you park it to enjoy your favorite cup of coffee or baked good.
Below we visit with Pete from the stoop of his airtstream [just one installment from his backyard pandemic project]. One can see the diverse representation of Pete’s work from his backyard alone. Thank you Pete for greeting us with a warm “yoohoo” and giving us a tour of the grounds.
Tell us what you do. How did you fall into your craft?
Furniture and architectural design. I used to landscape in the summers so I could ski all winter. While working on this beautiful house I had a lightning bolt moment that I wanted to design houses and everything related to them. I went down to MSU the following day and signed up and was in school just weeks later.
What was your first ever job?
Picking strawberries for a farm in Washington. I think I made about $12 in two months and ate a lot of strawberries. Lot’s of strawberry fights too. Now I have my own little strawberry field growing for myself.
What have you been up to during quarantine?M
[At home] Projects around the house. Building a chicken coop “Mar del Pollo”. We have a lot of chickens – Pecker1, Pecker2, Gaga, Bradley, Lucy – named after Abby’s [The Architect’s Wife pup] Lucy. We’ve also been building our garden and fences.
[At work] Trying to take care of my employees. Solidify work. Design a few things. Helped finish a super cool house with Korean architect Byoungsoo Cho.
What’s something you’ve been working on your excited about?
Dickerson House with Byoung [stairwell pictured above]. I’m starting to do more building and general contracting and really loving it. Some really cool projects coming up from MFGR.
Did the pandemic change the way MFGR operates?
We closed early – about two weeks before the mandated closure and everyone just worked from home. Last week was our first week back and we’re doing our best to be responsible.
It’s a unique situation because it’s a very collaborative form of work. The whole model of the business from the very beginning is that we work together – when the designers need to talk to the designers – we’re a door away. It was complicated for a bit and it still is because it’s a bumping shoulders type of work. We’re wiping everything down and keeping our distance. But what I think more than anything and I keep reminding everyone is that it’s not what we do in here, it’s what we do outside of here. If you’re not going to be responsible outside [of your workspace], you’re going to screw it up for all of us. Just be careful and be thoughtful.
What’s something one might not know about you?
This big guy just turned into a runner. I decided I needed the challenge and I signed up for the Bozeman Marathon. Who knows what’s going to happen, but I’ve stuck to it. I’ve been running ~40 miles/month. I ran a 7.08 minute split this morning which was crazy. I could barely breathe. I almost died I think. But I made it and now I’m going to figure out how to run a marathon.
Tell us about your little family
Leo is amazing. He’s made me really proud in the last week because he started laughing at his own farts. That makes me really happy. He’s been the dose of perspective I could ever have – he loves to laugh and loves to be around everyone. He’s showing me what life’s all about.
Kait is my force-to-be-wreckin’-with wife who is my ally, my sounding board, my partner, and my everything. She’s amazing because we’re both very diverse in what we do – she’s a wedding planner, very exceptional in the fashion world, understands home goods and interior design.
Favorite Mexican in Bozeman?
It’s a two-way tie: Fiesta Mexicana and Los Jarochos truck.
Anything else you’d like to share?
The Architect’s Wife is focused on sharing togetherness, inspired spaces, and warmth in any capacity we can generate it. Here we shine a light on craftspeople and the creativity they contribute to our community.