New Kid on the Block: Allied Maker

After studying design and technology at Parsons, where he made sound sculptures, Allied Maker‘s Ryden Rizzo spent a summer working with luthier in Vermont. “We built a guitar from start to finish,” he says. “I caught the bug—not to make guitars, but for the lifestyle of being in a wood shop, creating physical things rather than digital.” When he returned to his family’s home on Long Island, he set up a workshop in the garage, where he made various objects—cutting boards, a table—and got involved with the maker community online.

And then Rizzo created his first light. “It was called the Mini Lamp, rosewood with a brass socket and dimmer, and it was seriously underpriced at $50. I emailed a bunch of blogs about it, and Gear Patrol mentioned it. This was right when Sandy hit—I remember, because I wasn’t able to check the orders as they came in. Next thing I knew, I had seventy!” He enlisted a few friends and they took over more of his parents’ house, including his childhood bedroom and the basement. “The line expanded, and I guess word got out, because Dorothee Meilichzon, an interior designer in Paris, ordered 70 sconces and 100 pendants for a hotel. That’s sort of the repeating story of Allied Maker.”

This is where the woman who is now his wife and creative director comes in. “I was living across the street,” says Lanette Rizzo. “I fell in love with what Allied Maker was doing, and I fell in love with Ryden.” With a background in commercial production, she was able to bring workflow expertise to the production process—an important step toward scaling the business into what it is now.

In the five years since it started, Allied Maker has grown 40 percent every year; it has a staff of 30, and the Rizzos are looking at moving to a much larger production facility. And then there’s the reason we’re talking about the company here and now: Allied Maker’s first showroom has opened on Franklin Street, in what was previously a dentist’s office.

The Rizzos were drawn to the area because of the many other design companies around here, and they’ve been represented at the Colony co-op on Canal Street since it opened in 2014. (“We’ll continue to show there,” says Ryden. “Mainly pieces that aren’t here.”) Previously, most customers had bought lighting based on photos they saw online; now they can experience much of the Allied Maker line in person. As you might expect from a company that’s all about making stuff, the 2,000-square-foot space received meticulous attention, down to the custom-made door pull, the logo embedded in the terrazzo floor, and the staircase, which Allied Maker built in collaboration with architect Marshall Shuster and stair specialist Ethan Kramer. “We’d like to do more of that kind of thing,” says Ryden.

But the Rizzos aren’t ready to move beyond lighting just yet. When the company first started, it was actually called Allied Makers, and the idea was to sell other makers’ wares. Over time, that shifted, and instead Allied Maker relies on top fabricators from all over the U.S. to blow glass, throw ceramics, spin metal, and more, before the fixtures get hand-assembled on Long Island. “Every component is made by us or a maker we love,” says Ryden. “I feel comfortable saying that every fixture is handmade with love. The pride that people take in their work is what makes an excellent product.”

Allied Maker is at 81 Franklin (between Broadway and Church); 212-334-7333;

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