Thursday, May 29, 2008

Yes, You Wood


I got a chance to hang out with Eric Manigian again (subject of the first post ever, here on the blog).  I had quite a nice time chatting about architecture and design and all sorts of stuff.

When I walked up, a visitor to his booth was remarking about the reddish color of one of the woods in the table on view, how interesting it was that it was stained red.  "That's the natural color of the wood," he told her.  It's called Purple Heart, and it's pretty astonishing, actually.

Another new piece that I'm liking a lot, though it wasn't at the show, is this "Continuous Bench":

The surface is made out of one full length of walnut, but cut into pieces so it can be used as a full bench or as individual stools.  The cushions are uphostered in an incredible silvery cowhide with the hair intact.  I think the almost metallic looking upholstery is the perfect complement to the natural wood.  This is really smart, too, because it would look so unimposing on the side wall, but would provide additional seating in emergencies.

He had the "Ruskin Chairs" at the booth:

I was sitting in one for a while and I can assure you, they're unbelievably comfortable.  As I said to Manigian, the backrest hit my back in just exactly the right height for lumbar support.  You can see the backrests reveal the natural edge of the wood.  They're amazing in profile, too:
The lines are just perfect.  For someone who is so conscientious about harvesting only fallen or diseased trees in his work, I was kind of surprised he'd used cowhide, so I asked him about it.  He said he eats meat, so he feels it's better to use all the products from the animal rather than letting them go to waste.  As a determined carnivore, I can't help but agree with this.  In the end, it's still about paying respect to the sources of the materials, which is why he's left the hair on it.  That way there's no pretense about where this material came from.

Eric Manigian

©2008, Ryan Witte

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