Less than a month after opening Cocoon on Fifth Avenue South, Mitchell Siegel had to close the store for five days. “We had sold out of nearly everything,” he says. Neopolitans immediately gravitated to the earthy, exotic quality of the handmade tables, vases, wall art and sculptures that fill the stylish shop.
Siegel knows clients seek authenticity and originality when outfitting their homes. “People are sick of the same things,” he says. That’s why every piece he sells passes through his hands—a privilege resulting from decades spent cultivating relationships with artisans and wood suppliers in Southeast Asia and Brazil.
The artist founded Cocoon, a furniture and home decor line, nearly 20 years ago when he was working with an apparel company in the Philippines. He started the brand in Greenwich, Connecticut, and debuted a Naples locale in January. In the coming months, you can expect to hear of another location on the east coast of Florida.
Working with the artists, Siegel turns out an ever-changing inventory of one-off productions, made with natural materials, like exotic woods, geodes, vines and rocks. A twisted tamarind fruit tree might be bleached and turned into a sculpture. Petrified wood can take shape as a side table, pieces of dry lotus leaves may end in a frame, and chunks of geode can result in a stunning tabletop.
Siegel is obsessed with wood and tracks down exotic species, like narra wood, known for its prominent knots. He’s especially fond of acacia, which he uses for tables, made in his Greenwich-based woodshop. The live-edge tables are top sellers for the brand. Each is carved by artisans who produce between 100 to 150 tables a year. Though Cocoon has floor samples that can be purchased on-the-spot, often, someone from the team goes to the buyer’s home to get precise specs for custom tables. “The pieces are so unique, they need to be placed in a certain spot and are quite often the focal point of the home,” he says.
In the end, clients are left with artful pieces from nature that are uniquely their own. “I can take pieces of the earth and make them sustainable to go inside your home and have longevity, and I can give you that one piece that is one-of-a-kind and unique,” Siegel says.