Sunday, January 25, 2009

Fine Woodworking's Furniture: 102 Contemporary Designs

It's been on the newstand for a while now, but I'd be remiss if I didn't comment on Fine Woodworking's Furniture: 102 Contemporary Designs. The editor Scott Gibson's introduction acknowledges Taunton's Design Book series and its defunct magazine Home Furniture as inspirations for this edition. I loved Home Furniture. You'd have to pull my collection of them out of my cold, dead hands.  I wonder if, with magazines like Dwell and ReadyMade seemingly doing well, it would have a fighting chance today... Home Furniture, on some level, was one of the inspirations for Furnitude.

I like a lot of the furniture they've selected for this edition.  With a few notable exceptions, the designs are interesting, forward- and backward-looking and beautifully executed. I will say that pieces incorporating MDF and plywood don't, in my opinion, belong here. For me, they take the "fine" out of fine furniture even though the work is certainly fine. (They certainly wouldn't pass the Frank Klausz test.) That's just my own opinion and not an argument I want to start (gulp).

I'm delighted to see that several makers I've featured in Furnitude appear in the collection, including Timothy Coleman (three pieces), Tyler Chartier, Jeff Miller, Curtis Buchanan, Jennifer Anderson (two pieces) and Pat Morrow. Represent!

I write Furnitude to promote handmade furniture, so I'm not really interested in criticizing -- only looking critically at furniture. That said, the only thing I can say about the chicken table is: No. (One of the good things about writing a blog is that you can openly contradict yourself!) The pieces I love from this issue (aside from those by folks already featured on Furnitude) are Tony Kenway's rocking chair, Kathy's Chair by Scott King, the Walton NE chair by Peter Thompson, Ross Table by Bob Kopf, Core Sample 10 by Matt Hutton and Jason Schneider's Tall Chest. Believe me, I'll be contacting these folks and others in the edition about featuring their work on Furnitude. (Please note that I've included the web links instead of photos because I don't have the rights or permissions.)

There are many other inspired pieces, so I highly recommend Furniture: 102 Contemporary Designs and look forward to next year's edition.


Michael and Naomi said...

I bought a copy of this when it came out but can't find it for the life of me. I am looking for one of the pieces listed under seating, it was a bench made entirely of a sheet of plywood cut into strips and face glued with aluminum rods holding the outside legs on. can anyone tell me who made this bench? I'd hate to have to order another copy just for this as it isn't on the magazine racks any longer around here.

Anonymous said...

How about the contents? Does it have the detailed drawings of the pieces, or just descriptions? I see it on sale now for 12.99.

Furnitude said...

The issue doesn't have detailed drawings but it does have good descriptions and lots of photos.