Beauty + Integrity
My furniture uses time-tested joints such as mortise-and-tenon and dovetails, as well as more complex variations such as hidden, wedged dovetails or the keyed scarf-joint in the C-Chair’s curved back. Beauty and integrity meld together when joints are crisp, well-fitted and suited to the piece. As in the C-Chair, the scarf or splice joint functions as both a strong construction and a design element–a subtle reward to the attentive eye, yet one that doesn’t compete with the sinuous, sculpted form.
Process + Discovery
Since wood itself is a natural material, full of beautiful variations in grain, color and tone — it’s best that the maker be open to wood’s qualities throughout the design and building process. For example, sometimes a plank has such lovely, meandering grain that it nudges the maker to allow for its full expression in the design, adjusting dimensions or scale accordingly. And so the designer/builder develops a process of work that allows for such discoveries as the wood has to offer.
My informal study of Japanese design and craft led to an internship with a chairmaker in Nagano prefecture in the early 1990’s. Such experiences continue to influence my sense of design, particularly through architectural proportions, exquisite simplicity and the refined use of space ( or “negative space” as designers call it). As one shoji-screen maker once said, “Wood is a beautiful and precious material: it’s best not to do too much to it.”
It’s as if Japan’s had a love affair with natural materials, be they wood, fiber, clay, stone or bamboo.