Concrete Bench was designed and built for a concrete mix design course in 2002. The hankerchief vault design was borrowed from atiquity to minimize material weight and tensile forces, and to take advantafe of simple, available, and familiar casting methods using sonotubes, pfc pipe, and plywood. The two exposed pieces of rebar not only decrease the overall weight of the bench, but they lighten the otherwise heavy form, making the back appear to levitate above the base. The rebar also flexes comfortably, mitigating the tensile stresses at the joint between the seat and back. I designed the mix for the bench using fly ash and masonry red pigment. The mix ratio of gravel to sand varies along the length of the bench. The bench was cast on end. Too much gravel in the bottom of the form, where pressure is highest, began to explode the form when vibrated. Thus, the mix was adjusted so that much more gravel was added to the top portion of the mix than the bottom.
The XOX chair was a practice in employing woodworking skills that I learned at the College of the Redwoods Fine Furniture Program. The barrel seat is coopered together out of 20 white oak staves. The staves were cut out of a single plank at varying angles to maintain color, pattern, albedo, and to produce a radiating grain pattern when seen in profile. This grain pattern allows the seat to expand and contract without creating internal tensile stresses at the glue joints. The legs and backrest were bent in an enormous steel and wood form seconds after being steamed at 212 degrees for 2.5 hours. When bent, the boards for the legs had the same cross-sectional dimensions as a standard 2x4 and were bent 90 degrees over their 3-foot length. White oak dowels pin the half -lapped leg sections to the seat and backrest and are held in place with hide glue.
Sool-Footstool was designed for living spaces where square footage is at a premium. It is binary furniture. It can easily be paired with a chair to comfortably elevate the feet, or flipped on end to create additional seating. Its binary functionality is echoed by its binary esthetic. The sharp non-planer lines are modern and create the illusion of the form twisting in space.
The isosceles trapezoidal faces that create this illusion are directly derived from its old-world dovetail construction, which gives the piece an unmistakably soft and rustic feel.
Mantis Table is part of a larger commission for a dining set that is still in process. The table top is made of sister planks from an unchecked eastern walnut crotch, producing the conspicuous flame patterns. The two planks are joined using mortise and tenons along an S-curve joint. The halflapped stretchers are live-tenoned to the legs, which are live-doweled to the table top. Three battens prevent bowing of the surface along its width.
Cantilever Desk was designed for a small apartment in Manhattan, which has been recognized by the NYtimes and apartmenttherapy.com for its custom furniture. The client wanted a desk with a glass top so that the contents of the drawers could be seen but he wanted a special pocket into which electrical cords could be dropped and hidden. I decided to give the desk a further visual lightness from above by minimizing opaque surfaces. The drawers and cord pocket possess the only horizontal panels, so tthat the desk appears as a series of perpendicular lines suspended in space when the drawers are extended outward
Vcanto lamp was designed for Vcanto restaurant in Fort Bragg, CA. The owner had been using tea candles and wanted something that had the same feel but was a â€œstep upâ€?. The foot of the lamp, in white oak, is used to give the light warmth and softness without reflecting light direclty upward from the table surface to avoid strongly under lighting the dinersâ€™ faces. The shade is made of a fiberglass clothe which allows a rich dispersed glow and is stain resistant.
Hypercube is a reaction to the materials and the properties that are not at first apparent. Square basswood dowels seem to prescribe a necessary form consisting of lines and planes. The inner and outer spheres represent a more fluid and organic alternative that exist within the material as a possibility, and as such within the naturally intuitive grid. (approx dim 23” x 23” x 23”) The basswood dowels were soaked in a bathtub under a brick for days before being gently bent and fit into one of three jigs. After they dried the strips were notched at the nodes of intersection to form a half-lap and then were woven together counter-clockwise. Very little glue was necessary to hold the structure together. As displayed in the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign office of the School of Art and Design.
I built this box for a local art show at the famous Triangle Tattoo Museum in Fort Bragg, CA. Each artist was given as many rat traps as they wanted and were asked to decorate them. I built mine into a dovetailed box that could be set to go off if someone attempts to close it. (approx dim 3.5” x 3.5” x 4”)
These models are of a proposed addition to the town hall in Topsfield, MA. The model of the existing town hall is built of matte board, while the proposed addition is made of basswood and Mylar. The window louvers of the large window at extreme left vary in degree from a vertical orientation at top to horizontal at bottom. The models are separable to expose interior details and to allow for alterations. In the second view the stairs, ramps, and elevator shaft are visible. All interior corridors, office doors, and windows are present in the addition. The rear entrance with handicap accessibility ramp is shown inset. (approx Dimensions: 16”w, 12”d, 12”h)
This is a model of a proposed addition to the Ashby library in Ashby, MA. The addition to the existing building (the modern cantilevered portion) can be removed and exchanged for alternative versions. Materials are basswood and Plexiglas dowels. The base is topographically accurate, measuring approximately 2’ x 3.5’. (approx Dimensions: 30”w, 10”d, 10”h).
Boston Back Bay Oriel Restoration The existing oriel was so decayed that the boards and even the window sills could be removed with a firm tug. Since the oriel was an exterior feature of a building existant within the historical district, all proposed changes had to be cleared by the city’s historical commission. In order to establish the original design of the oriel, which had changed somewhat since its construction in the late 1800’s, I located and documented the 1881 design drawings. Molding contours were meticulously recorded and equivalents were created from spliced and combined Anderson & McQuaid stock moldings. Several meetings were required to negotiate compromises between economic feasibility and historic fidelity of the composite moldings.
Boston Back Bay Condominium Renovation The condominium attached to the Oriel, a bilevel 1-bedroom 1bath was transformed into a capacious 2-bedroom 2-bath unit. The spiral staircase was removed and replaced with a full stair and after some research and several visits to Boston’s Building Inspectional Services office I discovered that the downstairs door into the condo’s lobby could be removed without egress code compliancy issues. Built-in cabinetry work, a Murphy bed, a second downstairs bathroom were added and a full staircase replaced the spiral stair. The floor was reframed and refloored. The entire project coincided with the separate oriel project.
Uncle Vanya – “ACT I. A country house on a terrace.” Anton Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya staged in the middle of a botanical gardens in a giant tent, at night, in the middle of winter. That much had been decided by Rock The Ground Theatre Company when I was brought in on the project. My job was to turn the tent’s interior into a 19th century crumbling Russian estate house. We used a lot of pallets.
The staging is unconventional, rather than theatre in the round it can be described as theatre in the long. The audience lines both sides of the stage and the action parades up and down the stage in the middle. The difficulty is that the audience is facing itself directly across the stage at eye level, that is, the audience becomes the backdrop for much of the action. If any theatrical set permutation is likely to breakdown the audience’s suspension of disbelief, theatre in the long is it. And so the audience, the chairs they sit in, the risers the sit on, and the stage in between must all fit seamlessly together into something the audience can recognize as “the set”.
The set had to be enveloping, historically evocative enough not to clash with the exquisite period costumes shipped from the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and very cheap to meet budgetary constraints. Something modular, plentiful, and cheap was needed and I immediately thought of broken and discarded pallets. Luckily broken pallets were abundant and free. Each pallet was checked for integrity and then slats were fittend and cut from 2x8 doug fir boards to fill in the gaps. Almost the entire set was made from recycled materials. More than a hundred pallets were used, including those used to build the stair unit/pulpit. The risers, set furniture, and background draping were chosen to reflect a dark bygone imperial age. Finally an event design company was contracted to provide 60 miscellanea chairs for audience seating. Gas heaters cemented the esthetic while simultaneously provided much needed heat.
Midsummer Nights Dream – “What angel awakes me from my flower bed?” Shakespear outdoors, on a two story collapsible stage, complete with a pool and a slide. Understandably there were structural concerns related to a modular two story outdoor stage. All modules were built to exceed residential construction code with 5/8 acx plywood and 2x4 studs 16” on center. Copious lateral bracing and 3/8“Carriage Bolt joints addressed any lateral live or dead loads.
The overriding design cue for the set was taken from the Titania’s line “What angel awakes me from my flower bed?” I wanted the line not to mean a bed of flowers but a bed within a flower, thereby describing a dramatic transformation of scale and setting when moving between the human and fairy worlds within the play. The set was designed to move between a palace/town in 13th century Athens, a forest/grotto, and an enormous rose. This is accomplished with two facades and a prop piece. The flower petals appear as four deep-red velour curtains are drawn together over an interlocking, self-supporting, appeture assembly of steel pipe; which also describes the gable roof and curtained windows of the palace/town set arrangement.