In the spring of 2018 I was introduced to Karen Davidov of HMA2 architects in NYC. She had been interested in my discussions with another colleague related to theories of making and the hand / brain connection which craftsmanship provides. I was repeating the idea that tools, in the hands of skilled makers become extensions of the hand. Thus also an extension of the brain / imagination. Karen approached me and proceeded to discuss her grandfathers scissors–he was a tailor–and how that tool to her was a representation of the man, his life, and his skill. Ultimately she was relaying the inspiration she felt which the tool embodied. From there we then discussed everything from choreography to jewelry. I immediately knew I was lucky to meet this woman. I had before this time been feeling a bit down on the design community in NYC I had (or did not have). I had yet to meet people I found deep connection with and who challenged me.
At the end of our meandering conversation she asked, “so you’re a woodworker?” I agreed that I was, and she suggested I meet a client which the firm was completing a home for in Sands Point, NY. This led to one of the most enjoyable collaborations with a client and firm I’ve have had to date.
The client was very clear to begin; her family was going to “really use,” the proposed table. She was communicating what I too value: objects must be used and enjoyed, objects are woven into the fabric of our daily routines and therefore become imbued with memories. This life, history and memory is shown in dings, wine rings, shoe marks on the base, wear and patination on the surface. The table is one of the best pieces in the home at projecting the history and use of the place. It is a multi use piece available to all members of the household equally.
I was overjoyed to be able to work with a client who shared my own ideals and values. A client who trusted me and allowed me to dictate what would fit their beautiful new home.
I chose two book matched slabs of black walnut from Pennsylvania for the top. These were two of the best slabs I had seen in sometime and they were perfect for the home and family. I made the base from flat sawn white oak to give the table some contrast. From talking with the client they wanted this table to last generations and live in the house for as long as it stands. So, I made the table feel heavy. As if it was just as much a part of the house as the brick.
I also specified the chairs. Wishbones were considered but we needed something new yet with a tie to historical precedents. The splinter chair by Nendo was agreed upon. I liked them so much I even have one at my home!
While not everyone can afford to have a table such as this designed specifically for them anyone can form memories around a piece of furniture. It only takes care, focus and love. To more dinners with those you care for.