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.

Amy Ruppel Deer painting for my office

October 12th, 2009 by admin

One of my favorite artists and certainly the sweetest, Amy Ruppel has created a unique custom painting for my office.  I still had the 1/4″ MDF template that we used to make her deer chaboo (shown below) and I had her paint it.  Its hard to believe but its her first time painting on an irregular, non-rectangular canvas.

In this painting she combined digital printouts with hand etching and covered the whole surface in white wax.  I love the delicacy of the deer form and her composition is of course, uncanny.

Check out her website here to see her other work. She does a lot of digital design work but can also work by hand.   She has done work for big companies such as Burton snowboards and Target as well as for us little people ;)  Shes one of my favorite artists because she has a spirit and attitude of fun and warmth.  Thanks for a great painting Amy!

Santa in my Shop

October 5th, 2009 by admin

Check out this picture of Santa Claus in his workshop at the North Pole…. NOT!  Its actually taken in my workshop by brilliant photographer Quavondo.

I built this set for him out of random stuff laying around the shop- windows, wine barrel, wood paneling, red fabric, workbench.  I borrowed a bunch of old hand tools from my friend Matty Sears.  Check out the huge 2 person saw in the background.

Crazy huh?  Quavondo is a photographer primarily focusing on celebrity and fashion photography.  While mostly working for clients, he shoots for stock photography on the side.  He had an idea to do vintage Santa pictures and contacted me out of the blue if he could use my work shop.

Pretty amazing work if you ask me.  Clearly he is a man of vision and inspired ideas.  Click on the images to go to his website.

Ya, Santa Claus and fashion have very little to do with furniture design…. or so it seems.  However, a common interest to create just because we want to brought us together.  Another fun day at TomitaDesigns!