Sunday, June 1, 2008

Film Star, Design Team, and Cubes

Even though I haven't been posting recently, it has not been from lack of content. Let's start with the Cubes.

I got to be a part of the idea, and implementation of the Cubes. 13 1/2" 4-sided cubes, that could be modular. Get 2 and put them side by side and they can function as a coffee table. Need the floor space, separate them and use them as end tables. Get a few more, and stack them against the wall and you have a bookcase.

I did a bit of research (mostly just happening across similar items online and collating them), the idea was well received, and given the green light. I then happened across an article for Scrapile. A Brooklyn based company that was creating high-end furniture out of scraps from New York's woodworking industry. I thought that would be perfect for a Cube.

Unfortunately, my skills were deemed to valuable in Cube production, so they were handed off to one of our up and coming craftsman. I did get to make the scrap panels for the solitary scrap Cube prototype, in which I learned that its harder than it seems like it would be.

Now that the Cubes have been put together I'll have to get some photos, so you have that to look forward to.

In the mean time you can all try to picture me as a Film Star. 2 weeks ago I was asked to participate as a background figure while some customers were interviewed and filmed for an info-mentary. It turns out that there wasn't really room in the shot for background figures, so mostly I helped with the prop and set work (moving furniture and lights around wherever they wanted for filming). But then they wanted some interviews for employees, so reluctantly I was put on film talking about actually making this stuff.

I am told I did well, that I have 'a presence', and that I know what I'm talking about and that I am passionate about it, so that it comes through well. All I know is that I was nervous, and still don't think I like being the focus of a camera.

So that leaves, the Design Team. I've been moved over to the newly created Design Team, in which we are going to develop some new products, filling out at least one of our product lines, and maybe redoing some of our current products. I am, at the moment, the only member of the Design Team. I will be getting to work with a 2nd craftsman when he finishes his current projects.

As my first task for Design Team, I was to make some promotional pencil cups. Being not very difficult, I was able to over two half-days. The second, and much more difficult task, was to design a Mid-Century Classic Sofa. We had some photos of a Scandinavian designed couch, a desk bookcase and filedrawer already in that line to match it too, and a couple of discussions of elements we'd like to see in the sofa.

I started designing and drawing on the computer, to get ideas down and concrete. At some point it was decided that the concept phase needed to be in realspace, so we could tweak the comfort of the couch and actually sit on it, then develop the aesthetics to tie it into the Mid-Century Classic style.

So I've been making a plywood sofa back to be padded and upholstered. Not very easy. There were a few false starts, a couple of good ideas, and then the impracticality of those ideas when I actually got to trying to bend 1/4 luan around some not-so-gentle curves.

So I have a back that I'm not so sure of, that happens to be 2" too long, as I neglected to resolve the armrest overhang problem satisfactorily before I actually began the back construction.

This just reiterates what I already knew, which is that designing is tricky business. Made trickier by that fact that I am not the final authority on this project. When doing my own designs I am beholden only to my own ideas and ideals, which I can change to suit whatever obstacle I encounter.

On this project I am on the front lines, and while I do have input, I have at the very least 2 people, and probably more like 8 people, who are the authority.

Photos of all this to come. Maybe tomorrow.

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