Re-Creating the Past
About a year ago, a designer friend of mine, sent me some photos of a pair of antique shagreen and walnut side tables. They were for sale by a reputable dealer, but the shagreen was stained and the wood was worn. The question was, “Could they be rehabilitated, and would it be cost effective?” Based on the asking price, apparently, not. So I was asked to create a duplicate pair of art deco tables. Continue reading
A New Direction, Silver and Palladium Leaf Lamps
In the spring of 2016, I was flipping through an interior design book and came across a silver table lamp crowned with a red silk shade. It’s beauty captivated me, and I began to think about the possibilities which soon led me astray. So, for the next few weeks, I satisfied my creative needs by producing lamps like the silver and palladium leaf ones shown above.
Though deeply inspired, I wanted to transcend the simplicity of what I had seen. Both my lamp and theirs conveyed a sense of “stability” with flared bases, only mine was to be a bit more elaborate. I also felt the need to embellish the top with a “cap” to properly “finish it off.” So I put my rough ideas down on paper and then quickly jumped to creating scale drawings, which confirmed I was right on track. Continue reading
It wasn’t long after I turned 50 that I realized 70 was coming up fast. “It’s time to get busy, and express your creativity,” I thought. This small harlequin cabinet is the result of my efforts.
It all started with a desire to play with bold patterns of veneer, otherwise known as parquetry. So I picked up my pen and drew a few shapes. I love playing with curves and thought it would be stunning if I married the pale blond veneer of english sycamore to the dark richness of black walnut in matching squares or rectangles….. And then doing it over and over again. Continue reading
I have to admit, I have a lot of fortune in my life. In the spring of 2016, I was asked by a designer to create a Macassar ebony dining table for her Park Avenue client in New York City. In reality, it was really two tables that could be joined by adding two center leaves making one large table for family and friends.
For the first few months, the designer and I worked to create a plan that would “bring her vision to life:” Two square tables sitting on pedestal bases.
At the beginning, the client requested a starburst veneer pattern for the tops, but after presenting several options, I encouraged her to go with a more traditional “frame within a frame” pattern using Macassar ebony. I thought it would be the best solution and wouldn’t fall out of favor in the years to come.
As one would imagine, working with designers often means, “Here, build this, but change the color and shape to fit the client’s needs.” In late 2015, this little kitchen banquette project came my way and I was asked to copy something I had done several years ago. But the more the designer and I looked at the previous project, the more we realized it needed some changes. And so that’s what we did.
I’ve been toiling away for 30 years now and it’s kinda fun to think that my creations are all over New York City. They’re uptown and downtown. Eastside and West. A few months ago, this curved desk landed on the 43rd floor of a glass tower overlooking Times Square. Guess this is the “loftiest” piece I have in town! Ha! What a view!
In the spring of 2016, my client, Dessins, LLC asked me to design and build this piece. We knew early on that it would be made of rift white oak, but weren’t sure what the finish would look like. After a summer of working on my own projects in Beacon, it was time to bring this piece to life. I presented a variety of drawings, showing the desk in relationship to the space, but they could only convey so much. So it was necessary to create a life-size cardboard mock-up and deliver it to the space. I wanted the person actually using it to see how it fit in his office. Within a day or two, I was asked to trim a couple of inches from the length and width. Then get busy. Continue reading
Some Thoughts About Frames
“What is the roll of a frame?” To me, a frame is supposed to focus the eye on the art within. But I ask,”Can a frame be just as interesting as the artwork and not create a contentious relationship? We’ve all seen great paintings hanging in museums with spectacular frames, and I often find myself asking, “Does that frame help, or hurt the piece that it surrounds?” Most of the time the two are well paired, but, on rare occasions the two form a relationship that exceeds expectations. In my opinion, a great piece of art can withstand the challenge of a great frame, so long as the relationship of the two has been well negotiated. Continue reading
Art Deco is the Theme
Transformation of the Space
Within the very first issue of Galerie Magazine, we find this article and my piece of furniture in the front hall.
My colleague, Penny Drue Baird of Dessins http://PennyDrueBaird.com was asked to transform a six bedroom Park Avenue apartment in association with the architectural firm Ferguson & Shamamian. Together, they took on the challenge of converting this space originally designed by Sicilian-Amercian architect Rosario Candela in 1931. As Baird says in the article, the building’s exterior remained the same, but the interior was “ripped back to the steel” and all original materials were replaced by 21st century concoctions such as elaborate moldings, reclaimed wood floors and gold leafing on the living room ceiling. As she says, none of this would have existed in Candela’s original plans. Working with the architects, as Baird describes, the entrance gallery received a patterned marble floor, “a modernist take on a classic design,” wall niches received tufted fabrics and miles of linear trim. She didn’t just add the decorative touches, she actively participated in the design of this 6000 square foot space. Continue reading
Designing the Display Case
In 2010, my wife and I had the great fortune to travel to China to adopt our beautiful daughter. While we got to know her, our guide took us to this amazing museum called the Chen Clan Temple in Guangzhou. A hundred years ago, it was a school for the children of the Chen clan, but today it had been turned into a museum with some beautiful wares for sale.
As we wondered through the various rooms, each specializing in different art forms, we came across a dimly lit space that housed silk tapestries. I was instantly drawn to the brightly colored orange kapok flowers glowing and shimmering in the light. They were electric. I continued moving around the room and saw others of equal beauty.
Being that we weren’t going to be back anytime soon, I suggested we bring one home. “But they’re all so beautiful,” I thought. “How does one choose?” So we considered our options and then decided on this little song bird. Continue reading