In Praise of MCM What really excites me about mid-century modern furniture is that at the time, this furniture was cutting edge. Materials such as fibreglass and plywood were relatively new and had primarily been only used for military applications. This was an exciting, forward looking time in history, and the furniture shows it. The colours were bright and bold. The forms had clean lines with a simplistic feel. Looking at furniture by Eames for example, every piece of material has a specific function and is essential to the successful execution of the piece. The calculated choices in form give the furniture an uncluttered design without looking utilitarian. These forms have impacted modern design to this day making them, in many ways, timeless.
Work In Progress I could not live in the house without projects to do. I really like that we haven't furnished the whole house yet. There's still a nursery and wine room that we want to furnish. I think the possibility that both those rooms give me creativitly is very inspiring. Once those rooms are done, I'll probably continue working on something else. Having a home is a never-ending process. You may have to settle for certain furniture or finishes when moving in, but having a plan to upgrade in the future is inspiring and exciting.
Function Before Form If a table can't function as a table, it's an art piece or garbage. If you can't use something for its intended purpose, it is not design. It is art. I try to make sure that when I design, I have aesthetics in my mind, but the focus is on the end user and how they'll interact and use the piece.
For The Love of Wood My favourite piece in the home is the wooden side table I have in my bedroom. The table was a project from a class at university and it was an intense learning experience. Before that table, I had only done minimal amounts of woodwork. The table was cut and shaped with a CNC machine and then refined and finished by hand. The week before the table was due, I worked nearly 50 hours straight on shaping, sanding, and lacquering. What little sleep I did have was usually short breaks in the shop. It was an intense period. But through it all, there was an immense feeling of pride and joy; I never regretted the process. It was through that table that my mindset on design changed; design was something that I could really channel my energy into.
An Authentic Presence To Design I've been focusing on natural patterns for my pieces lately. For instance, the grouping of walnut hexagon tables in the living room are based off of patterns found in basalt columns. The Gull Wing Table in the bedroom is based off of a bird in flight. The J5 concrete table takes inspiration from bubbles forming. But I think my background in construction has a lot of influence as well that I really don't acknowledge enough. Some people can find it limiting to try to work out how to build something at an early stage in the design process. But for me, I'm focused on construction almost immediately. I try to use materials to the best of their ability while honouring their heritage. The J5 table uses concrete in a traditional way, but I was really trying to push what concrete could be in terms of form.The Furniture Designer It's an honour to have my designs in other people's homes. People can choose any piece of furniture by any designer at any time; and when they choose me, it's really cool. It's a very humbling process to have someone seek you out because they like what you do. On one hand, you question yourself, and wonder if you can live up to their expectations. But on the other hand, this desire to serve comes from within and you wonder how you can exceed their expectations. It's something to get you out of bed in the morning, knowing that you're going to make something that is going to be very special for someone today; the actions you take will have a lasting effect on someone you've never met. And they'll even pay you - It's fantastic! When you can survive on design and the fruits of your labour, it's really cool and really humbling. It makes me want to design more and solve more problems for people.
Shop Ryspot on The Consortium.
Photos by Ryan Spotowski and Cooper & O'Hara