Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Come and visit me at Fabrikken, Lillehammer

I have now a new showroom at "Fabrikken", an old factory in Lillehammer occupied now by many designers, artists and craftsmen. I am very happy to have this facility, as it gives my creations some exposition of course, but also because it is great to work among such a creative ambiance. I am also using it as an office, where I can sketch and draw new projects, and meet customers.
But of course I spend most of my time in the workshop, nor far away. My new workshop is almost ready as well, more on this soon.

Fabrikken, Løkkegata 9, Lilelhammer.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

The WOW... and the BOF effect

The last time I was in France, I had the opportunity to see two exhibitions, which made very different effects on me.
I had not heard about the first one before, it was about contemporary marquetry, and marquetry being a part of my work, I was just curious. Beside of that, I was there anyway, and I had nothing else to do. And... WOW! I discovered the work of Anne Mussche, an artist from Paris who uses not-so-traditionnal techniques to create art pictures. To say it quickly, she superimposes colored veneers, and this gives depth and life to the pictures. To know more about her work, see the link under, there is a very interesting video about how she works.
Two days later I was in Paris and went to see the Monumenta 2011 exhibition, the Leviathan from Anish Kapoor. This time I had read some articles about the artwork, I had seen a few pictures, and I was very curious to see it in real. I was expecting some kind of magic, at least some feelings, being inside this big red monster. And... Bof... Nothing to be excited about. I think that the mega-zillions pixels cameras photographers use are much more sensible than the average human eye, because once I was inside it was difficult to see anything. I allowed some minutes for my eyes to accommodate, but it was still as dark. And from the outside, there wasn't any strong impression either, just the thought that it must have been a technical challenge to build that. But, hey, I came to see an artwork, not an engineer work.
So the word of the history is: Be curious, visit any art exhibition wherever you are, not only what big media write or talk about, and the few good surprises will be worth many times the time lost to see unexpressive works.

("Bof" is a small french word with more or less the same meaning than the internationally better known "comme-ci comme ça", something that you don't really like or dislike)


Monday, 16 May 2011

Tiiimmber!!! The Glocal Furniture Company

Here are the first ideas about the concept of Tiiimmber!!!, the new furniture company I am lauching beside my more artistic activities. Feedbacks are welcome!

Highly finished furniture with contemporary design, manufactured locally and made to last.
The starting point of our company is a reflection on sustainability, and how we respond to this question, with respect to the (small!) field of furniture production:
How to reconcile economic sustainability and environmental protection and preservation of natural resources? How to produce more environmentally friendly furniture that retain their sensuality and their quality?
Which material? Which type of products? Which method of manufacture?
What’s more lasting than something that you don’t change? To do this, you need a durable material, manufacturing quality, and a timeless design.
The choice of wood as main material for our furniture was quickly established. Wood is a renewable, inexhaustible material if exploited properly. Encourage more timber production contributes to the uptake of CO2, and thus the fight against climate change.
The wood is durable, well made wooden furniture last for centuries. Moreover, it is easily repairable should an accident occur to your furniture.
We decided to focus on quality for durability, using  carpenters' workshops. We choose them for their skills of course, but also for their situation close to the buyers, to reduce pollution related to transport and to support local economic activity, guaranteeing sustainability of society.
Far from any idea of going backward in time, we want to make Tiiimmber! a “glocal” company, to use this new trendy neologism, both global and local. Our vision is to promote the circulation of ideas, a source of innovation, involving designers with different backgrounds, while reducing the flow of goods where it is unnecessary and polluting.
Far from any romantic flashback, entrust the manufacturing workshops rather than factories represents to us the most durable and most respectful of human beings way of manufacturing. In addition to a guarantee of quality and the support of the local economic activity, the work required is much more respectful of the human being that mass production in huge factories. These workshops are themselves looking to the future, using both traditional techniques and the latest technology, adding the personality of the handwork to the productivity and the precision of machinery.
We see our future both more and more global, working with new designers, and increasingly local in developing our network of manufacturers. Thinking on sustainability and future of our societies never stops, and it will inspire our evolution.

Monday, 2 May 2011

Solveig's song

No philosophic speech about the future of handmade furniture today (!), I want to post the first pictures of the new desk I have just finished. This one was made to order, the brief was quite simple, it was about the size of the table, and it should include 2 shelves.
It is made of maple and wenge, I like the contrast between the light and the dark wood. I realize, writing this post, that if I know of course what was the starting point (the brief in this case), I remember nothing about the design process, and how I was led to this final design. And this is the same with all my creations, strangely enough.

But the main thing is that I like it, and I already think about an evolution as a dresser, with the same shape but a sleeker design. So guys, wanna find the perfect gift for your significant other? Just contact me...

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

The meaning of bespoke

As a designer, I keep myself informed about what's going on in the design world. I follow different design blogs, I receive some newsletters, and it means that I discover maybe 20 new designs of furniture every day. In a way this is good to see all this creativity, but I must say this is way too much... It reminds me an article in the International Herald Tribune last year (probably at the same period last year, during the Milan furniture fair), called "Does the world need another chair?". And the answer might be, well, I'm not too sure...

I follow it by personal interest, absolutely not to get inspiration, more to avoid to do something similar to something already existing, without even knowing it.
If most of these designs are good, very few create a big emotion for me. I mean, it is beautiful, more or less functional, but is it really different from the 1000's of other new designs? Isn't it just a new version of something we saw 2, 10 or 60 years ago?
So I can imagine how a potential customer can get lost when starting a research on the internet for a piece of original furniture. If you are lucky, you will find something that directly appeals to you, but most likely you will see too many products, without understanding why this one costs 800 euros, while this other one, looking similar, costs 5000...
This oversupply convinced me about the meaning of bespoke furniture, about its reason to be for a potential customer. I used to think that the main thing was to own something unique, but after all, if you don't buy from a big chain store, it is very unlikely that you will find your furniture at someone else's home, even if it is produced in thousands or millions. But these furnitures are anonymous, and they will look like that in your eyes very soon, as beautiful as they can be.
It is there that the difference stands with bespoke furniture. Dealing with a designer-maker, participating in the creative process, seeing the furniture taking form, will give a personality to your furniture, and thus to your home or your office. Furniture with a meaning, or, in David Savage words, furniture with a soul...

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Steven Withycombe

Steven Withycombe is a furniture designer-maker from Seattle, USA. He sees furniture as interactive art, and as he says, the most enjoyable part of the process of creating furniture is the reaction of the people to its presence. He likes to incorporate found and discarded material in his work, and his designs blend different styles, often adding a touch of humour as in the "Queen of Spades" bench.

Friday, 25 March 2011

John Cederquist

I want to share these 2 videos from John Cederquist. He is a californian furniture artist whose work is highly recognizable. By combining 2D images with 3D objects, he creates visual illusions, where the reality is not what you see. It often looks like there is some object on the furniture, though it is all flat wood and you can actually use the furniture.
The first video shows him explaining his work during an exhibition, and the second one shows the Kosode serie, which are some of his last works. I found it particularly interesting to see how he uses the different wood species to get the colours and aspects he wants. I like his way to "go crazy" with the wood, too often designers don't really care about the wood, and woodworkers don't dare to go off the track. John Cederquist is very personal and innovative in his designs, but shows a great respect for the material at the same time.
The best would be to see the artworks in real but it is not easy on this side of the atlantic, so have a look at the pictures on his website: johncederquist.com.