2014 Architectural Digest Home Design Show Finds
PART II - MADE: WONDERS IN WOOD
The delight for me in attending shows like ICFF, Wanted, and the MADE section at the Architectural Digest Home Design Show is seeing the artisanship of studio furniture makers. What they do with wood is astounding. I have a latent desire to learn carpentry: I love power tools and I love making things, and wood working is an area that I haven't tapped . . . Yet. (I'll let you in on a little secret: someday I want to take the carpentry program at the North Benet Street School in Boston and then continue on to its Cabinet and Furniture Making program). In the meantime, I'll just continue to marvel at the wooden wonders that others create.
At the MADE section of last month's AD Home Design Show -- the section that showcases the work of artists and designers of limited editions and one-of-a-kind creations -- wood furnishings were without question the show stoppers. I'm highlighting my favorites, and as you'll see, the variety of technique and design was enough to satisfy many tastes and styles.
The work of Paul J. Draine of PJD Woodworks made me think: Eames molded plywood chairs on steroids. The Eames revolutionized furniture by developing technology to create molded plywood seating. Watch the slideshow on PJD Woodworks' website of how Paul creates his 3-1/2 Leg Chair and you'll see a twist on that technology. Paul's work pays homage to wood's organic shapes and character. It's remarkable that he has been a furniture maker for just a few short years and is completely self-taught.
At left, PJD Woodworks 3-1/2 Leg Chair.
At right, Barstool in cherry.
Similarly organic in technique was the work of Daniel Oates of Daniel Oates Furniture and dbO Home. Daniel, a classically trained artist and sculptor, began designing furniture as props to showcase his wife's ceramics. Taking cues from wood's character and his sculptural sensibilities, Daniel's designs evolve organically. This live-edge sideboard of Ambrosia maple was a standout.
When I saw the work of Virginia Blanchard at the show, I thought I was looking at antiques. Her work has such classical references to Art Nouveau and Art Deco that I thought surely they were reproductions, if not downright antiques. This screen, displayed at the show, incorporates the sinuous curves and elemental forms emblematic of Art Nouveau furnishings.
Photo courtesy of Virginia Blanchard
I loved this Art Deco-style stool Virginia displayed. How perfect in a master bedroom at the foot of the bed.
Completely opposite in style but as finely crafted was the work of Ethan Abramson. Committed to environmentally-conscious production, Ethan crafts his pieces of eco-forested woods and applies hand-rubbed all natural finishes. What Ethan's pieces lack in pizzazz, they make up in functionality. His Plateau Table, below, reminded me of telephone tables of the 1940s -- designed for function but equally suited for decoration. I actually couldn't photograph Ethan's table at the show because a neighboring vendor was using it to display printed materials.
Photo courtesy of Ethan Abramson