Years. That’s how long it’s taken to find “my design style”. It’s a tougher concept to come up with than you might think. It’s not to say I only build in a certain style and that’s it, but when it comes to designing and building a product that’s the way a lean. I build all different styles because I have a variety of customers and they don’t always want the exact design aspects in which I personally like. However, when I finish a job I always stand back and notice hints, albeit subtle sometimes, of my style.
I call it Modern Industrial. It’s become more of a trend now than I felt like it was when I started making things in this particular genre and I find that sometimes people have a tendency not to do quality work when it comes to the industrial side of this genre, but I digress. I have always loved two things: history and clean lines. The industrial side allows me to make pieces that incorporate different patinas that aren’t always a glass like paint or poly finish. Along with being able to use different materials other than wood and utilizing products that have their own history to create a whole new story for them. I look at old industrial buildings that are made from so many different surfaces to make up one total overall piece that works together in harmony. Metals, woods, fabrics, pipe, brick, all kinds of elements to generate a building that is beautiful while being functional at the same time.
The other side is modern. I can’t think modern without thinking about clean sleek lines and simplicity. I picture a concept car that you see in magazines like car and driver. They are always so sleek and the lines of the car are prominent from front to back. A lot of times you’ll see sketches of a car and you may notice that they have designed this entire car from one simple line. A curved line that was so pleasing to the eye that a car was designed around it. I try to incorporate these sleek simple lines into my work as well. Crisp corners and hints of detail to enhance the overall piece not over power the item or function of it. I always try to keep a less is more mentality when I design.
I try to combine these two styles and instead of creating a piece that is smooth and somewhat modern while using materials that are older and normally rough. I try to marry new and old whether it be with tools, hardware, materials, joinery, whatever it takes to make the piece a one off and have my fingerprint of design on it.
Like I said, I never want to limit myself on what I can do but that doesn’t mean that I can’t have a design style that I prefer. I encourage you to find out what you like when it comes to design. Whether you’re a woodworker, in fashion, artist, or just a homeowner looking to change the look of a room. Don’t be limited by what the trend is or society thinks is acceptable for wall color. Step out, you may just find that you’re the next trend setter. Tope is still a color just like red, blue, or purple and not that there is a problem with it but you don’t have to stick with it just because a magazine said you should. It’s your space and you have to live in it, make it your own. As for woodworkers, if you haven’t been able to hone in on a style, try something new. If you normally do really ornate pieces try something sleek and vice versa. Try new materials (metal, tile, fabric, etc.) mix it up a bit and see if you find a style you didn’t even know you were interested in. Always be open to new things but never be afraid of putting your touch on something. Afterall, that’s why the customer picked you to build their piece for them.