In this instalment of “My journey” I would like to discuss the next frontier that is looming in the distance. As most of you probably know by now, I have spent almost all my shop time over the past 4 years building shop structures, building jigs, building tools and restoring vintage tools. It is starting to dawn on me that I need to move on to building furniture as the lion’s share of the setting up phase should be completed by the end of the year.
Last week I found a link to an excellent document that a reader posted in a comment on the Lost Art Press blog. It seems to be an inventory for an antiques auction that took place in March of this year. It consists of page after page of some of the most beautiful and timeless pieces of furniture I have ever seen. There are more than a few examples of pieces designed by heavyweights such as Klaare Klint, Arne Jacobson, and Peder Moos.
It got me thinking that I should probably start building lose interpretations of these, while continuing to grapple with the ancient guidelines on preindustrial design as documented in the seminal work By Hand & Eye. This is a book by George R. Walker and Jim Tolpin. It is available from Lost Art Press. I thought this could be a hands-on way to develop a feel for shape and proportion. Once I feel comfortable with building such interpretations, it should be a natural progression towards more personal designs.
If one decides to be influenced/inspired by a particular style it should probably be one you really like. The same goes for designers, it is probably best to follow the lead of a legend who’s work has stood the test of time. I really like the timeless (to me anyway) look of early to mid-century Nordic furniture. It therefore makes sense to build some of these before launching into the full-blown je ne sais quoi (in other words my own) phase of design.
It is of course also true that very few people come up with truly unique designs, we are all influenced (whether consciously or subconsciously) by stuff we observe. We are all standing on the shoulders of those who have gone before. That gives us an opportunity to see where we can go next. Our designs are therefore literally grounded in history whether we like it or not.
Thus, my idea is to consciously ground myself in a style I admire, before trying to envision the next frontier.
PS – Please feel free to point me towards similar documents or websites that deals with the same style. It will be much appreciated.