February 16th, 2010 by admin

I will be representing Grove at AIGA Portland’s SHIFT: A Green Salon event.  Ten presenters from various industries have been chosen to speak about their ideas on sustainable design and we have been chosen!   I will give a brief presentation titled “A journey in sustainable product and packaging design”.  

The event is Thursday, February 18th at ZIBA design (810 NW Marshall) at 7pm.  This will in a way be the first public unveiling of our new product.  Very exciting!  This is my Steve Jobs moment…

Advertised free beer if you bring your own mug!

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!


January 26th, 2010 by admin

For the past 4 months or so I have been working on starting up a new business with my friend Joe Mansfield of Engrave.   He runs a laser engraving company specializing in doing all things cool.  Check out his flickr here.  While we have been neighbors and friends for years, it recently dawned on us that our skills compliment each other well and we shared the same passion and devotion for creative exploration.

While we will continue to operate our own companies we will collaborate on products for the new company named “grove”. Grove will focus on environmentally friendly laser customizable products made of bamboo.  We are using FSC certified bamboo and making the process as local and green as we reasonably can.  Finishes are all natural and packaging design will focus on reusing and recycling.

Ive purchased a CNC milling machine to use for TomitaDesigns and also Grove.  The new 4axis Haas VF2 is accurate to 1/25th of the width of a human hair.

I will design/build the products along with Joe and he will add the customization ability of his laser similar to his engraveyourbook series.  Combined with Joe’s large format Trotec Laser we can make just about anything!

We will be launching in about a month at the underconstruction website   Stay tuned.

Deer Chaboo Living in Style

January 20th, 2010 by admin

Amy Ruppel’s deer chaboo has found a home in Venice Beach, California.  Yes, there are deer in Southern California… well… now there are.

1 block from the beach!  Not bad

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.