The beginning—rather, my newest beginning seemed to make for the most logical subject of my first installment. I was seven when I started carving. To this day, I love the act. Little else calms me as easily as shaping a platter or a cutting board. But that first instance set in motion an insatiable curiosity that, looking back now, drove—and continues to drive—my rather unconventional evolution as a furniture designer. The latest phase of which has been unfolding over the last several months, a time I’ve come to describe as The Year of Reinvention.
I crafted my Trophy Series specifically for exhibition at the 2016 International Contemporary Furniture Fair in New York City. Devoted myself to it for the better part of two years. After the fair, I suddenly lost my purpose, my way. I’m not sure what I expected to happen. In my wildest imagination, I may have let myself believe that that collection would be the springboard to the rest of my career. That’s maybe the only return that would have felt proportionate to the investment. But I couldn’t build on the buzz from the fair, not on the scale that my ambition indulged while I was making it.
There’s no denying that that exhibition, the fruition of that collection, was a milestone for me. But, a year later, and after a lot of soul searching, I have a hard time identifying with the furniture designer who conceived it. I’ll always stand by those pieces, but, in order to keep growing, I needed to move on from them. When I first started making furniture about a decade ago, the goal I worked toward was building a name through spec pieces. That felt like the purest way to go about this. But I’ve come to think it was a naive way of thinking. As much as I want to be one of the guys at the forefront of modern design, I have to have an end user in mind. Everybody does. The masters did. I lost sight of that.
So, now, my workshop’s filled with solutions to particular needs rather than expressions of abstract concepts. Furniture, after all, is meant, foremost, to serve a function. And because it does doesn’t mean it can’t be considered art, too.