Roberto Gil was born in Buenos Aires, has a Masters degree in Architecture from Harvard University, and is the proprietor and founder of Casa Kids, a children’s furniture company. Gil’s modern, modular designs mean that the furniture can adapt to the children’s needs as they grow older, and Casa Kids does in-home consultations to ensure that the furniture works with the space.
Gil founded Casa Kids in 1992, operating out of the Tribeca neighborhood in Manhattan. As the business grew, he moved first to DUMBO in 1995 and then to the O’Connell Organization’s 106 Ferris Street building on the Red Hook waterfront in 2001. Mr. Gil recently invited us inside for a peek at his shop and showroom.
The abundant industrial space is what brought Casa Kids to Red Hook. Gil maintains a fully functioning furniture factory here, with multiple work stations, sanding stations, drill presses, table saws, and storage areas for his specially selected plywood. The Ferris Street location allows his staff to spread out, a rare commodity for NYC.
In addition to the mechanical equipment, nearly everywhere you look are the tools of the trade, neatly organized.
Mr. Gil’s office overlooks Valentino Pier and offers an incredible view of New York Harbor’s Buttermilk Channel and the Statue of Liberty.
Casa Kids furniture is made in Brooklyn by a small team of woodworkers. Often, the same hands that cut and shape the furniture finish the process when installing a piece of furniture in a customer’s home.
Traditional woodworking skills are required, of course, but Casa Kids also employs modern techniques. When we visited, a technician was working on a CNC router, a type of computer-controlled cutting machine.
Gil, like generations of carpenters and craftsmen before him, believes seriously in apprenticeship and passing his skills on to the next generation. The young man in the above picture, who found his way to Casa Kids via the Red Hook Initiative, was being schooled on how to properly operate a power sander.
It took a couple of tries before his apprentice began to produce what Gil was looking for.
Each one of the component pieces are gathered, finished, and assembled. The assembled piece is then transported and installed in customer homes.
One of the flagship products for Casa Kids is this space saver bed, which folds up flat into a space no larger than a book case — a real plus for parents living in a crowded NYC apartment. Gil offers several base models that he customizes based on the specific lifestyle, space constraints, and needs of his clients.
Roberto Gil’s trademark clean lines and modular approach to kid’s furniture make for a unique product. Check out “Grace and Rose’s Room” for a look at his custom designs.
106 Ferris Street is a part of the O’Connell Organziation’s Red Hook Waterfront family of properties, a pre–Civil War building once known as the German American Warehouse which was used to store cotton. You can learn more about the history of Red Hook and its buildings at MaggieBlanck.com.