Friday, January 9, 2009

Owl Father and the Flying Buttress


There are mixed inspirations and mixed associations for this writing desk and seat pair.

First, the name of the two are, yet again, bad (very bad) puns.
The writing desk is named "Owl Father" as in "Owl Father who art made of hardwood and hollowed be inside....".

The seat is called the Flying Buttress - there is a silent "T" added to the end.

The writing desk was inspired by my wanting to make even more sculptural wing shapes than on some of my earlier pieces. I really wanted to capture the up swept wing tip of a soaring bird. I wanted to portray the balancing on air and the minute control that birds have that allow them to remain in the air without flapping for hours.

The wings were glued up from thick staves of ash and then milled and carved to shape.

It was only as I was shaping the "body" of the bird that I realized I had created the look of an owl. In the long hours of shaping and smoothing my mind had far too much time to come up with the name.

The body of the desk has a small storage space - large enough for a pad of paper and some pens on top. The flap is held in place by embedded rare earth magnets.

The designfor the seat was inspired by a visit to Copenhagen in 2005. While I was there I visited the Danish Design Centre. One of the exhibits showed innovative street furniture. There were two things that really stuck me. The first was a series of large "braille" castings that are embedded in the sidewalk to warn blind people using a stick of impending hazards and kerbs.

The other was a shaped rail that acts as seats at bus stops. The rail is designed to fit just under the sit bones and allow you to take some of the weight off your feet but keeps your back straight. The Flying Buttress steals and uses that idea - but it must be said that you need to have pretty long legs to sit comfortably (33-34" inseam)

The paired desk and seat leave feeling like you're riding on the back of a bird (a red tailed hawk in this case). It also hints at characters from the novels of JK Rowling and Terry Pratchett. I've thought of this as the "Buggy Swires Desk" for some time.

I'll update the posting with dimensions.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think this set may be the most beautiful piece of furniture I have ever seen. I've had a life-long fixation on wings, and I am glad to see someone else with such talent does as well. Great work!