My Shed Chair concept was inspired by fences built by local frugal farmers
I’ve been paying particularly close attention to the vernacular forms of Sonoma County’s family scale agriculture- the fences, coops, crates and outbuildings associated with our region’s numerous orchards, ranches and vineyards. My friend Cindy Daniel is in the process of realizing an innovative, hybrid retail/cafe/event space in Healdsburg called Shed, for which she has commissioned me to design furnishings.
I’m truly inspired by her vision for an energy efficient, two-story, seasonally open-air building sited along Foss Creek, housing a ground floor garden center, deli, community ‘larder’, cafe, and upstairs restaurant and space for events and performance. Shed will be a modern interpretation of the time-honored General Store or Grange, featuring the artisanal foods, goods and services of local purveyors. The building, an ultra efficient pre-engineered metal structure is designed by Mark Jensen of Jensen Architects in San Francisco. I’m honored to be working closely with such a visionary team, and have been enjoying developing a language for the furnishings that resonates with Cindy’s sophisticated take on Sonoma County living, and bridges the high modernist utilitarianism of Jensen’s building.
1/4 scale model of a dining chair and table concept I’m developing for Shed.
The major challenge of designing furnishings that range from retail display to dining has been in inventing a structure system that allows for low cost flexibility, durability and variability, while telling a story and making a memorable, unique experience. The furnishings need to reinforce the Shed ‘brand’. As I research ready-made systems to appropriate for retail display, I’ve begun to experiment with chair and table concepts, knowing that it will be easier to have these inform, rather than be informed by, the look/feel of the ready-mades. The dining furniture is sure to evolve, but I like the basic idea of a chair that stacks into a sculptural column when stored in the space, and a table that transforms into a low, Japanese style version, using the chair’s cushions for seating.
The upper portion of the Shed Table concept converts to a low version, using the chair’s cushions for a more ‘Eastern’ dining experience.