May 18, 2015
Three brothers are turning their family’s 19th-century Yonkers warehouse that traditionally has sold sculptures for commercial projects into an arts and furniture mecca.
Randolph Rose Collection was founded in 1972 by their father, Randolph, to make bronze sculptures for shopping centers, libraries and lobbies. Originally located in Manhattan, Rose rented warehouse space in Yonkers before buying the building in the 1980s.
Now sons Jordan, Austin and Harlan Rose are expanding the offerings to include floors of Asian furniture, fixtures and ceramics they personally source overseas under the FEA Home moniker — and they’re also leasing studios, galleries and work spaces to artists.
Austin Rose, of Randolph Rose, with some of his family’s lost wax casting creations.Photo: Lois Weiss
The top fourth floor of the 170,000-square-foot warehouse has 20,000 square feet available for artists at rents of $13 to $15 per foot, Harlan said.
During the recent Yonkers Arts Weekend, the family also opened both their warehouse and the artists’ galleries to visitors. Children squealed with delight at the large bronze library frogs displayed on the sidewalk and were intrigued by the life-sized sculptures of children sitting on benches and swinging baseball bats.
In-stock sculptures include creatures such as frogs, puppies, shore birds, dolphins, horses, elks, deer herds, elephants and a bear.
There are also sculptures of ballplayers in various poses, fairies and even determined kids on crutches and in wheelchairs with basketballs and footballs.
The Roses also design and produce custom orders. A prim waitress balancing a tray that was originally designed for a Las Vegas casino now graces other bars and restaurants across the country. Many people also supply photos of their children or pets.
Prices for sculptures range from around $1,500 to upwards of $150,000, the brothers said, for some custom orders, depending on their size and shape.
The brothers are also exploring the possible future uses of the rooftop. While just five flights up, it provides a sweeping view of the surrounding communities and the wooded park across Nepperhan Ave. “We want to turn this building into something special,” Harlan said.
To show off their offerings and sculptural abilities, the family will be in Las Vegas for this week’s International Council of Shopping Centers’s ReCon trade show, where 1,000 exhibitors will ply their wares, retail tenants and spaces to 34,000 attendees.
The Rose family’s warehouse was built in 1881 as the area’s first carpet mill, and in its heyday employed 7,000 people.
The Rose sculptures are created using “lost wax casting.” In this process, an artist creates a sculpture out of wax or clay, which is then coated with rubber and Fiberglas. Two half-molds are bound together and wax is poured in to make an exact copy.
During “gating,” tubes and funnels are installed and then the form is dipped in a liquid ceramic silica to coat it both inside and out. Once dried, an autoclave melts the wax which is reclaimed to be used again — hence the name “lost wax.”
The ceramic shells are kiln-cured and then liquid-bronzed from ingots that have been melted to 2,000 degrees. The casting is sandblasted, then polished. Colors, patterns and textures are added during the patina process before being sealed with lacquer and waxes.