Whisky and smoke time….

So at the end of most of my projects, there is a  moment when it becomes obvious that we have reached a crucial point; it is time for smoking a small cigar and paying close and undivided attention to one of the Islay whisky’s while savouring the lingering flavour of all the small details that make up  one of these installation jobs.

Our most recent client has reminded us with an easy grace and dignity what a pleasure it can be to make useful things in gorgeous woods for good people.

The layout and proportions of this simple bookcase have been derived from the re-used industrial steel frame windows that run along the kitchen and let in a flood of light, and taking these proportions we wrangled the numbers around to give us enough shelving to house the books while at the same time throwing in a few subtle visual details to engage and interest the eye.

This is not a piece that yells at you for attention and if you were in a hurry you might not notice it all the first time round, but if you open the front door and wander down the hallway to the kitchen, the edges of the shelves that project a smidgeon just catch the eye enough to raise the question…

Taking a few steps closer and to the right, you see the dark timbers glowing in the raking light flooding in from the garden.

Looking closer, there is a relationship between radius and corner, curve and straight and an element of visible interlocking joinery that tells you how he is made.

The lower shelves project from the carcase, and swing into a gentle radius to save any soft body parts from a rude awakening on impact; the shelves meet at the centre where they are cut away to create a crisp slotted detail that counters the softening at the edges.

This interplay of opposites is one of the fundamental building blocks in the visual languaging of design. It is so prevalent in nature that we easily forget how much of our world is structured using this dynamic polarity.

Again we are indebted to one of the great timbers; Juglans Nigra – the black walnut, and its gracious, forgiving grain. The finish is laid on and then rubbed almost all the way back leaving the wax really flat to the grain taking the fingers right to the wood which is like satin – and it should be after the amount of planing, sanding, rubbing, polishing, and buffing that it has been through.

Worth every minute I say.

– John

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