Desks, Chairs, and Shelves

by | Oct 30, 2015

Much like large table projects, these pieces are largely commissioned works.

I have built a large number of desks in a number of configurations. Some have been reception desks, while others were for home or office use. When designing a reception desk, the primary concern is complimenting the architecture of the building and the design of its public spaces. It needs to be identifiable yet not stand out as the only noticeable element in the room. Because of the unique requirements of each business, and the varied design of the buildings that they are located in, these projects are a lot of fun to work on. The resulting desks have a very wide range of designs.

I have built a couple of individual desk a as speculative pieces as part of museum or gallery shows, in one case with a matching chair. These are pure design projects and share a couple of detail elements despite the variations in their individual design. I often use a dual layer top, patterned after traditional Japanese writing desks. The lower level gives room for papers and I usually provide a couple of trays for pencils, pens and miscellaneous items. Unless requested otherwise,  I usually replace drawers with open shelves. As someone whose filing system is comprised of stacks, the openness puts these in the open and (in theory) encourages me to sort through stuff more often.

I don’t often build chairs. I find that they are very involved projects. I need to mock up a test piece in order to make sure of their comfort before I build the finished chair. Since these are usually custom pieces, the amount of custom tweaking can be considerable. It’s hard to amortize this cost into the price of a unique piece. The rocking chair was a limited to four pieces, and the only chair that I showed in gallery or museum shows. I built one other speculative chair as a part of a desk design. These pieces were built and sold as a set.

Usually shelves are built into a room, something I rarely do. I did build a freestanding shelf as part of a museum  sculpture show, and this gave me a chance to do a free form design. The structure consisted of a tapered closed section which, along with an angled brace supported a top rail. The shelves were supported by hangers fastened to this rail rather than being held up by the sides similar to  a typical bookshelf. This gave the unit a very open look, architectural in its form. Other shelves have been designed as horizontal stacked units, rather than as vertical sections. The greatest design potential for unique design is in building freestanding shelves.