Last week was spent with two designers from Douglas Durkin Design, Greg Elich and Andrew Horn. They were in Bali to work on a collection of extraordinary custom furniture for a residence in Hawaii.
For those of you who might imagine that creating high-end custom furniture is pure glamour, just have a look “backstage” at the process of design refinement. We spent hours and hours each day in the workshop, a fascinating place, but very dusty, and very, very hot and humid. And lo! Wonder of wonders! A furniture workshop normally has almost no furniture suited to comfortable sitting, so we perched and paced and mopped the sweat from our brows, all the while utterly absorbed with the work at hand.
The creative process is a circle of joined hands: the designers, myself (as facilitator, translator, consultant), the artist who founded the workshop, and the artisans whose hands will cut and carve and sand and polish every piece. Every idea, every problem, every inspiration and solution goes around and around the circle, and back again, until all are satisfied that the best design and production solutions have been reached. I believe the client who will own and use this furniture will also be most satisfied. How often does such care go into making a chair? And a desk, and sofas, and beds, and tables and nightstands and towel racks and more?
And one of the most satisfying aspects of this project is that all of the furniture is being made from reclaimed teak, salvaged from old structures around Indonesia. Not a tree will fall for this furniture, and that makes the perspiration of the process feel all the more worthwhile!