Joe Kinzelman’s e13 Workshop Builds OTR

Rhinegeist Brewery and other local restaurants and bars wouldn’t look the same without Joe Kinzelman’s contemporary designs.
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Photograph by Jeremy Kramer

What do Rhinegeist Brewery’s rooftop bar, Sartre’s tables, Revolution Rotisserie & Bar’s patio fence, The Birch’s wine shelving, and Cheapside Café’s interior have in common? Joe Kinzelman helped design and build them. The 32-year-old is the brains behind e13 Workshop, a local design-build firm focused on clean, contemporary designs made from quality materials.

Photograph by Jeremy Kramer

Kinzelman says e13 happened organically. In 2011, a year after he earned an architecture degree from UC, he and his college buddies/roommates, Travis Hope and Ryan Ball, got into sewing. “We were going around junkyards and pulling out old airbags from cars and making bags,” Kinzelman says. They called it the Air Bag. “We’d wake up in the morning and sew bags in the living room. We weren’t pricing things appropriately, so we didn’t make any money.” They were also a “pain in the ass to make,” he says. In 2012, the trio moved business operations from their living room on East 13th Street (hence e13) to a shared warehouse space in Lower Price Hill on West Eighth Street, where they worked alongside DPMT 7, a collective of architects, including Kinzelman’s mentor and UC professor, Vincent Sansalone. Eventually, e13 began taking on bigger, architectural projects, like building dining room tables. In 2014, Hope and Ball left e13. (Both now work at architecture firms in New York; Ball also teaches architecture at Syracuse University.)

That’s when Kinzelman met Bryant Goulding, Rhinegeist’s cofounder and vice president. Goulding initially asked Kinzelman to help build a few benches for the brewery’s taproom, but as Rhinegeist grew, so did Kinzelman’s involvement. He helped design and build the taproom’s tables and bars, the event space bars, the rooftop bar, conference tables, and the GeistHut—the brewery’s booth for the Great American Beer Festival.

In March 2017, Rhinegeist hired Kinzelman full-time, which has provided e13 more stability, he says. He’s currently working with Rhinegeist’s graphic design and sales teams on a permanent retail display for grocery and liquor stores.

Since 2014, Kinzelman, who’s mostly self-taught and now occupies his own space in the West Eighth warehouse, has built various features at local restaurants and bars, while continuing client projects like tables and bed frames. He and his long-time girlfriend are buying a house, too, and there are a “lot of plans” to fix it up.

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