I did not sleep my last semester of undergrad. Like at all. I was eager enough of student to take 18 credits, most of that being my senior studio class, a photography independent study, some computer courses and finally Green Tech. All of these classes very quickly stole any social life and normal sleep cycle that I may have had that semester. I was excited for Green Tech though, the class explored the possibilities and opportunities of sustainable construction and the reuse of materials. I was thrilled to be in the class and have the opportunity to design and construct a beautiful object. Rules:
- Create a functional object larger than a lamp but smaller than a car
- You must find or reuse every material
- No to little money
- Must be designed and beautiful
I learned that it was easy to find smaller fragments of material for free rather than larger pieces. Along with driving by every back alley and parking lot to snag pallets, Resource became the largest donator to my stash of random crap. I stopped by their free pile every few days to grab lumber. As I was collecting, I started thinking how could I create a whole out of many parts. My first few designs involved gluing together hundreds of small members of lumber together vertically, having a smooth top and uneven bottom. All design-erish words aside, I quickly realized this was a dumb idea and scrapped this concept and worked though my design to create what you see in the photos. At about the same time I scored some free steel gas pipe that someone had dug up in Estes Park. My next drawing iterations started to look like this. Horizontally placed members of wood with the legs extensions of the table top, creating one surface and material. I figured I could use the pipe to support the wood members and as a detail, and use a washer or bolt at the end to compress all the pieces together, which would allow me to use little to no glue. It was an exciting process to take old and gray fence posts that had been abandoned in a back alley and after sending the board through a plainer, the exterior layer of wood would give way to a new beautiful color. And so my job became cleaning, sorting and sizing each board I found. I made a template to size each wood member. Work went fast and soon it started to look like a table top, or at least something pretty. Finally I had a table top, I started to make the legs. My first design of the legs were beautiful marbled 4×4’s, I even hand carved out a space on the bottom side of the table to notch the leg in. After putting all four of these legs on it was clear that this was not the answer. It looked weak and unfinished. Back to the sketching. Back to thinking. Finally it was decided that extending the table top out and down was the language that should formulate the legs: instead of one 4×4, a leg should be several 2x4s just like the table top. Some fun details like welding washers to the steel pipe as well as the joint between the table legs and the table top are what really make this project for me. The table has a clean and minimal look from one elevation to a very playful and eye-catching look from the other elevation. Next on my list is to design and create bar stools that will match the table, I have left-over pipe and lumber so that the stools will match the table. I have more information on some of my presentation boards for the class. More information about this project can be seen in my portfolio section.
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