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Furniture | Tomita Designs

Acrylic/Walnut Combo

February 10th, 2010 by admin

Ive been working on these pieces for Myhre Group Architects.   1.75″ thick solid walnut with mitre construction. Mitres are trickier to execute than the good ‘ol butt joint- thats why most stuff is not built like this.  I like the lack of end grain and how clean it keeps the design and maintains the flow so its worth the trouble for me.

1/4″ acrylic serves as a structural spine and a nice color accent.  Both red and yellow look killer with the walnut. The grain pops so nice with my hand rubbed natural finish.  It really helps to work with nice material and take the time to do good finish work.

With my new machine I engraved the logo of the building these are going in and backfilled it with white paint.  Of course, the process was way more complicated than I expected but the end result = excellent!

GLO apartments- Los Angeles part2

December 7th, 2009 by admin

Continuation from part1…

Recap: Installed teak cabanas and bar at the Glo Apartments in downtown LA for Myhre Group Architects in August.

Part2 involved this solid teak bar with Corian top and accompanying jumbo cabana.

This cabana was HUGE.  9ft tall!  It was nerve wracking assembling it on site and erecting the thing because it is so heavy and tall.  I had a system using 2×4s to create temporary bracing which allowed me to slide the parts closer to each other with ratchet straps in unison moving very slooooowly.  Any racking and the teak could break.

I actually had not mocked up the fabric with any of the cabana structures before I had left for LA.  Stupid yes, but I had no choice.  The fabric arrived late from Italy setting off a chain reaction of stress which led to the finished fabric elements arriving as the freight truck was arriving, leaving no time to even open the package. I flew down knowing I would have to wing it on site- nothing new there!

The first problem I encountered was that the pitch of the tensile roof was not adequate to keep water from pooling.  If you ever estimate the minimum pitch for a fabric roof- double it!  On the spot we devised an elegant solution:  pull the center up reminiscent of the Olympic Stadium in Munich!

On site we made yet more design decisions on how to thread the cable through the grommets around the corner areas.  The details on these jobs are fun to figure out and refine.  How materials come together, fasten, secure and relate to one another has to be built to built to be truly optimized.  Cant do that sitting at a computer.  Often, I feel that its these little things that are super subtle that no one would seemingly ever notice MAKE good design.

I put an arch in the backside to add the lone non rectilinear element to the entire job.  Adds a touch of elegance and sophistication.

Bamboo Dining Table Design

October 26th, 2009 by admin

Here are few early designs I did for a new client.  She likes my gingko table and wants a dining table with the opposing leg design and through tenons on top.

Ive always wanted to scale the gingko up in size.  The main issue is the lower opposing leg will get in the way of feet, knees, chairs if its at a diagonal.  My solution is to align the legs in a cross so the legs interfere with sitting but right where there would be a division anyway.

Id like to use 1.5″ bamboo for the top but it only comes in 30″ wide.  There will have to be a deliberate seam that will also be a design feature.  It looks nice to have the seam follow the construction of the legs.

Another solution is to scrap the opposing legs altogether.  I played around with running the grain the opposite direction on the top here.

GLO apartments- Los Angeles part1

September 8th, 2009 by admin

Glo baby Glo!  Just finished installing these cabanas and bar at the Glo Apartments in downtown LA for Myhre Group Architects. Interior Designers Kayce Joyce and Heather McGrath came up with the overall concept for spicing up the pool area.  They specified new colorful daybed covers, pillows, tables, chairs, and approached me with their concept for the cabanas and bar area.  I come in to execute their concept by designing how it would be built, figuring out the details, and actually building it and getting it down there.

The beams and columns are hollow 6×6 teak box beams glued up out of 3/4″ material which fit over burly 24″ galvanized steel brackets I had fabricated by Kari Merkl. I built everything in Portland, took it apart, and trucked it down to LA and reassembled it on site.  At $18.50 a board foot (1″ x 12″ x 12″) teak is extremely expensive and scary to work with.  Its stunningly beautiful though and is unparalleled for outdoor durability.  It was a pleasure to work with such premium material!

The red curtains I had a fabricated by a company in Milwaukee called Twelve500 (strange name, good people).  They are hung across 3/16″ stainless steel cable stretched between the columns.  I installed stainless steel carabiners so people could harness the curtains, if they wish.

The fasteners are all 316 grade stainless steel.  I’m pleased with how they work with the design and show how the structure is put together.  It was actually quite complicated figuring out how the different beams and columns would come together and not reveal the metal brackets underneath.

The cabanas really transformed the pool area by defining space and creating an alternating rhythm with the odd number of divisions.  The bold colors worked well to create a fun feel and lighten up the pool area.  It was a pleasure working with Heather and Kayce on this project.  We have a good relationship of trust and flexibility- 2 crucial ingredients for work and life.

The install proved to be quite an adventure with missing boxes and damaged freight.  I had to scramble to re-purchase hardware and even rebuild some teak parts at my friend Fred Shriver’s shop in Santa Barbara. At the end of the day, excuses and obstacles dont really matter.  Bottom line= I got it done.  I enjoyed the challenge of working on such a difficult and risky project. Bring it on!

*photos by Ryan Purkey and Ken Tomita

Jumbo Chaboo

July 26th, 2009 by admin

A few weeks ago I shipped out my largest order for chaboos yet.  Wasteland Clothing is opening a new location in Burbank, CA and ordered ten chaboos with minor customization and one custom jumbo chaboo.

Here is the whole family of chaboos.  To the left is the original- 12.5h x 14″d x 32″w.  Middle is medium chaboo 15 x 18 x 36.  JUMBO chaboo is 18 x 24 x 48!!! For scale is my brother.  He is actually 7ft 2″ tall, 325 lbs- thatll give you an idea of size!

I had to change the design to accomidate the extra length.  With 3/4″ I wouldnt go past a 36″ span without a beam supporting it.  The half moon cutout creates the handhold in the top like in the original.  Clever clever.

This order came in through a random google hit to my website searching for bamboo benches.  They had never heard of Project Chaboo or seen the website.  AFTER ALL THAT my only online sale had nothing to do with Project Chaboo.  Funnnnny