Interview with an independent furniture designer

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Strange closets” has recently conducted an interview with independent furniture designer Michael Dreeben. He is the winner of Design Within Reach’s M+D+F show. It’s a really interesting interview that covers Dreeben’s influences, design process, challenges and his advice for young designers. Here is a snippet:

What is the technical process for designing furniture? What goes into it? What are the steps that occur before we can actually see a piece?

It varies. In general the wooden pieces start life as full-size prototypes, with at most a rudimentary sketch. Usually with these, we’ll build them three or four times to work out design kinks. Both the Billet Chair and Chaise started at plywood patterns, which were later translated in CAD models and produced on a CNC mill. The seats for both of these began as hand-sculpted positives.

Increasingly, I’ve designed directly in CAD (with the help of my friend and colleague Ray Doeksen) ¬†which has advantages and disadvantages: we’ve found, for examples, it is extraordinarily difficult to model complex, compounding curving shapes. On the other hand, CAD is excellent for generating wire frame constructions that would be virtually impossible to prototype by hand.

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