The return of honest (and beautiful) wooden furniture

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CURVE APPEL Exploring the parameters of what wood can do has led designer Aaron Poritz of Brooklyn-based Poritz & Studio to play with traditional techniques such as the drum, a favorite of French and Danish artisans. To make it modern, it exposes the maple veneer slats as they turn the corners. “Drum is a way to show what nature has created,” says Poritz. “Nature produces the most beautiful patterns, colors and textures. “


Photo:


Audrey Corregan for the WSJ. Magazine, Styling by Noemi Bonazzi

DUAL FEATURE The flames and scrolls of Baltic birch plywood provide all the surface decoration needed for this double cylinder chair from Shin Okuda, the founder of the Japanese-born Los Angeles-based studio Waka Waka. Material of choice for Alvar Aalto, Marcel Breuer and other modernist masters, birch plywood is distinguished by its resistance and flexibility, qualities essential to Okuda’s experiments. “Once you havehttp://wakawaka.world/With a functional design, you can create iterations and stories from there, ”says the designer, who has dabbled in rocking and cantilever versions of the chair.

Double cylinder chair, by Waka Waka, $ 1,600, wakawaka.world


Photo:


Audrey Corregan for the WSJ. Magazine, Styling by Noemi Bonazzi

CLEAR CUT What is a drawer, really, other than a pull-out box? Such questions arise in the elementary furniture of Sarah Thompson and Stephen McCombe. Based in the declining agricultural country of Long Island, they draw inspiration from the local landscape – “its simplicity and reluctance,” says Thompson – and minimalist art. She edits their ideas on paper while McCombe goes to the workshop to produce prototypes and possibly finished parts, including a removable box / drawer for the table shown.

Console table and drawer with cherry wood frame, by McCombe Thompson, price upon request, mccombethompson.com


Photo:


Audrey Corregan for the WSJ. Magazine, Styling by Noemi Bonazzi

RETURN Jeff Guga is an architectural staple in the LA art world, building homes, studios, restaurants, and sometimes furniture for members of the local creative community. This Douglas fir stool, designed for sculptor Thomas Houseago, was hand carved, planed and sanded until it was “almost perfect, but full of imperfections,” Guga explains. He chose not to end it. “It’s quite beautiful when you let it age on its own,” he says. “I often take this risk. Leave it alone when you eat pizza and you will be fine.

Live Oak Stool, by Jeff Guga, $ 3,000, guga.la


Photo:


Audrey Corregan for the WSJ. Magazine, Styling by Noemi Bonazzi

ALL ANGLES In 2011, after finding a knotless pine board in a woodworking shop, Ben Bloomstein decided to build a chair using only the wood from this room for the Brooklyn art studio he shared with his friend Aaron Aujla. Its rudimentary grace paved the way for their ongoing work as the Green River Project, the design practice they started in 2017. Aujla says, “We don’t use computer programs to imagine a shape, we let’s draw by hand, then make a first version. and go from there. He notes that their decision to make the piece out of mahogany was less practical than metaphorical: “We wanted to find a wood that looked like Ben’s rolling tobacco.

A Chairman of the African Mahogany Board of Directors, by Green River Project, $ 5,000, greenriverprojectllc.com


Photo:


Audrey Corregan for the WSJ. Magazine, Styling by Noemi Bonazzi

HOME STRETCH “Humans love wood – a lot of our work tries to bring out that feeling,” says designer Johannes Pauwen, “trying to keep the design out of the way to showcase the materials. Pauwen, of German origin, and his wife Michaele Simmering, partners of Kalon, based in Los Angeles, exploit the natural variations of domestic hardwoods like walnut, ash, maple and oak in search of universal shapes , often multifunctional. To make this gracefully angled-legged bench, the couple turned to a Pennsylvania factory with Mennonite carpentry traditions stretching back centuries.

Isometric Bench in White Oak, by Kalon, starting at $ 725, kalonstudios.com

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