What happens when a couple wants to create a dream getaway out of their Tuscan style home and then realizes they aren’t so enamored with the old world Italianate interiors? No problem says Penny Drue Baird of Dessins LLC., a friend and colleague of mine. Penny has a reputation for her architectural detailing and for finding rare objects of art. And because of this talent, has developed a devoted international clientele. And if she can’t find it, she often seeks out talented crafts people to create the things she desires. Kind of like the three part dining table shown in this article which I was asked to build.
The inspiration for my mosaic tile cabinet came while sitting in slow traffic on the Queensboro Bridge heading into Manhattan. I had a chance to study the elegance of the United Nations building and noticed it’s white exterior “framing” the stacks and stacks of mottled green windows. As someone who’s intrigued by structure, I often wonder if the design elements of a building, like the UN tower, could be scaled down and re-imagined on a piece of furniture. What would it look like and would it be pleasing to the eye? Continue reading →
2017 was a very creative year for me as I began to explore new areas of furniture making. It was during this year that I was given a book on the history of the perfume industry and was inspired to create my White Perfume Bottle Lamp.Within this encyclopedic source, I found so many outrageous examples of creativity and say more about it in my Gold Leaf and Mahogany Barpost.
So, with this new source in mind, I sought to create something polished and refined. A lamp in my parents’ home came to mind and featured this large glossy white porcelain egg held in place with a gold metal cap and base. Unfortunately, these aren’t materials I work with, so I did the next best thing. Improvise.
Shortly after I was accepted into the Architectural Digest Design Show Addesignshow.com for the spring of 2018, I found myself in conversation with my friend and fellow artist, Janine Lambers http://janinelambers.com. She wanted to share this beautiful book on perfume bottle collections with me. Masterpieces of the Perfume Industry, was written by an acquaintance of hers, Christie Mayer Lefkowith, and it highlights the origins of perfume, it’s history, and it’s unique role in French culture. It also shared how the industry blossomed into a burgeoning creative force and how Paris became the epicenter for all things fashionable.
As the two of us slowly wandered through the pages, we were stunned by the intricacy, and attention to detail that each fragrance container received, as well as its packaging. Those who came up with these insanely gorgeous designs knew that presentation was nine tenths of the game. One bottle in particular stood out, and became the inspiration for my Gold Leaf and Mahogany Bar because of it’s outrageous gold and black exterior. I must confess, the doors for my piece are quite similar, so the original idea belongs to someone else. None the less, Janine’s talents and expertise brought my gold leaf and Mahogany bar to life!
So, the Architectural Digest Design Show Addesignshow.com has come and gone. It’s hard to believe that I spent so many months preparing and now it’s just a memory. A nice one though.
To back track a little, it almost didn’t happen for me. When I began the application process in November, thinking I was well ahead of schedule, I didn’t realize that every space was already taken. Applications for the 2018 show began rolling in as soon as the previous show wrapped up in March 2017. Yet, it was through a bit of persistence on my part and the diligence of the AD Design co-ordinator, that I eventually found out in early December that my work would be shown for the very first time at the 2018 Architectural Digest Design Show. Not only was I in, but was blessed with receiving a prime location where hundreds would pass by my space each day.
Well, now I’ve gone and done it. At the end of March, I’ll be participating in the Architectural Digest Design Show Addesignshow.com in New York City. I’ll be joining a slew of other producing artists at Pier 94, along with a lot of big manufacturers. Sounds exciting, eh? I have to say, it’s been very revealing.
Preparing for the Show
I liken the process to my daughter June’s insistence last summer that I try out Cowabunga Falls at Splashdown Beach. All my efforts to prepare are like the slow climb to the top of this monster four story waterslide. And of course, I am responsible for carrying my own “vehicle of death,” a slippery, well used mat. As I marched up the hundred or so steps, I recall that this little voice in my head began chirping, “Why are you doing this? You know you don’t have to.”
Challenging this monster was one of those things I kinda did for June. It gave her something to brag about. And doing the show is something for me.
Sometimes I just get bored and want to bust things up. Nothing like a splash of color to catch people off guard and rock the house. The idea for this piece just popped into my head. I call it my buffed-up school bus!
Combining bright colors and beautiful woods has always been attractive to me. The design was simple enough, but the piece actually took quite a bit of time to make. The base and the drawer interiors are black walnut and the exterior is almost a dozen layers of clear and yellow lacquer. The fun part was bringing this baby up to a glossy finish with the car buffer.
Two years ago I had the pleasure of working with a new homeowner through my colleague, Penny Drue Baird http://PennyDrueBaird.com. This gentleman was setting up his modern living in West Chelsea just off of Seventh Avenue, and being that he is in real estate, he knew what he was doing when he picked this sun drenched location. The entire south side is all windows!
I was asked to build three pieces: An entertainment piece, a desk and a built-in credenza for the bedroom.
As I thought about what to write for this piece, I came to the conclusion that in this day and age, we have established all the different types of furniture pieces that we will probably ever need: Dressers for clothes, chairs for sitting and tables for dining. Sure there are other common items that I haven’t mentioned, but my black walnut and koto credenza fits in with all the other credenzas of the world. It’s a pretty standard piece.
What sets it apart, however, is the decorative work on the face. The black walnut body simply “frames” the lighter dyed koto doors and focuses the eye on the fun stuff; The cherry, the grape, the bling. I wanted to do something different and thought, “how many furniture people play with round shapes and two different grain directions? Not to mention installing metal strips. Maybe some consider it, but not too many do it.”
In terms of the dyed koto veneer, it’s pretty cool stuff. This is the second batch I’ve played with. The first batch was a beautiful nickel/oatmeal color with a lot of intricate grain patterns. When finished, it shimmered and “moved” like mahogany when viewed from different angles. Please see the Silver Leaf Commissioned Armoire https://markluedeman.com/commissioned-silver-leaf-armoire/.