Monday, July 12, 2010

New Directions

I've discussed Palo Samko before, and as always, I continue to be fascinated with the evolution of his work. He displayed at two of the trade shows this year.

What immediately caught my eye was his "Compass Table." Unfortunately, this is a one-of-a-kind piece and it's already been sold. But I really liked it, and it shows Samko's cleverness:

On the table there you can see his "Dali's Clock." The arms drip down over the bulbous cylinder inside the glass case.

These were the only photos they took of it. You can click those, but what may not be obvious is that there's a working compass embedded in the center of the table, and at the outside edge, at the four compass points, are letters inlaid into the wood: N, E, S, W, each one about two-inches or so tall. I do happen to own a compass. I'm not sure exactly why, to be honest. Probably I was working on some architectural project. But I'm going to assume most people don't own one, unless they're avid hikers. So how would you orient this table, unless it had a compass built into it? Problem solved.

Once you've got it positioned exactly right by the compass points--and no one at dinner even needs to ask if it is, all they have to do is look at the compass needle--the table begins its dialogue with the dining room. I imagine all but very few rooms in very, very few houses are oriented on a perfect north-south axis. One's attention is then drawn to how the presumably right-angled room is canted off that axis in a way I'd imagine would seem mostly arbitrary in most cases.

Then it calls attention to the house or building as a whole, considering that most structures are designed with their various rooms all aligned to the same axis. Next, its dialogue extends at least to the street the building faces, and if in a city like mine, where there's a street grid, to the surrounding neighborhood, as well, if not the whole city. Beyond that, the table refers to the magnetic field of our entire planet, and to the angle of the sun as it streams in through our windows. From a simple dining room table to...the solar system.

Over the years, Samko's booths have been a lot of fun because there are surprises in the booths as well as in the furniture. You open a drawer, and there's a bunch of tiny cows inside. Open another, and there's a tiny man riding a bicycle. Or the man riding the bicycle on the table is pulling a blimp floating above the table like a chandelier. It's all so delightful. Well, I was happy to discover that he's been pursuing his whimsical sculptures with even more enthusiasm. In fact, he's begun selling them, as well.

This is called "Ark/ Whatever I Could Steal from My Kids," and "what he could steal" obviously included the blimp:

Click that.
I think the sculptures are very fun, but the Ark is also quite beautiful in its own way. When you see the sculptures displayed along with his furniture, they make so much sense, visually. I'm going to assume that he waits until his kids are done with those things before he takes them.

This is "Time Machine":

Looking at it more closely now, I think it may be missing a flux capacitor.

©2010, Ryan Witte

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