You may recognize Terry Crews as the oh-so-hilarious Sergeant Terry Jeffords of the amusing TV series Brooklyn Nine-Nine, or the chiseled bootcamp instructor in the hit flick Bridesmaids, but did you know that this man can draw? Before Crews’s acting career took off, he planned to go into the animation industry and even had a portfolio submitted to Disney’s illustrious studio. Luckily, Hollywood called first and now we all get to enjoy watching him exercise his comedic muscles (not to be confused with his real muscles which are also quite impressive) on the regular. But Crews never let go of his passion for the arts and upon a chance encounter with Bernhardt Design’s president and creative director, Jerry Helling, a plan was set in motion for the actor to design his own furniture collection for the high-end furnishings label.
The four-piece line debuted this week at ICFF (International Contemporary Furniture Fair) all we can say is that it’s much more elegant than we had anticipated. The Ibis sofa, Aire Benches, and Float coffee and end tables are a minimalist’s dream, while the unusual seat and table combination, called the Lilypad, also has an expected twist—literally. The seat rotates 360 degrees.
So what inspired this lovely collection? We’ll let the actor tell you himself. Read on as pick the actor’s brain below.
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Terry Crews: This is the Terry Crews Collection. I am so pumped!
InStyle: I’m not going to lie, I’m a little surprised.
TC: Thank you - I want honesty!
IS: It’s very soft and lovely.
TC: It’s how I feel on the inside. When people heard “Terry Crews Collection” they expected weights and big muscular furniture. Or a big black couch. A big black couch is what every athlete buys as their first piece of furniture. But I’m an illustrator. I paint and draw--they even added it to my character on Brooklyn Nine-Nine--and I need a story.
IS: Can you elaborate?
TC: When i got the opportunity to do this, I was like, everybody uses Europe as their aesthetic, and I said I need a new story. Then I started fantasizing and thought, what if Ancient Egypt was the dominant [design] culture today and it wasn’t about Europe. It was about egypt. And then the story started happening. So I got books on hieroglyphics and this is how the sofa came because. It’s based on a sacred Ibis. I kept seeing this image of a bird with these wings stretched and I was like that would be a cool sofa.
IS: How about this coffee table and chair situation?
TC: I did the same thing with the lily pad. Imagine you’re on the Nile River and there are lily pads and frogs and insects are jumping up from pad to pad. I looked at hieroglyphics and there is an Egyptian sky god named Horace and he is always depicted as sitting on a blue water lily. And I went holy cow, that would be perfect for people. So subconsciously you become a god when you sit on the lily pad.
IS: What was surprising about the whole process?
TC: There’s a psychological aspect of furniture. When you look at the lily, at first we had the legs go straight down but psychologically it didn’t feel steady. So you would sit on it and you’d be careful and like,I don’t want it to tip over. And I thought oh my god we gotta change this. So we bowed the legs out to give you a psychological effect of sturdiness.
IS: And is this what your home looks like?
My house is kid friendly. I have 5 kids. Five. And a grand baby. You gotta learn not to love that vase so much. If it were too nice I’d go crazy. So I would say my house is good enough that you can have a pizza on it. But I have my office which is all high end, downtown on the 30th floor and it’s swanky. Italian chandeliers and everything that’s super nice. And I keep every book. I literally have a whole library on art, furniture, movies, design, animation, all that stuff. That’s my getaway.
If you're itchin to get a Crews-approved furniture piece for yourself, you can place an order at bernhardtdesign.com