CRAFT AND FOLK ART MUSEUM, LOS ANGELES
(May 29-September 4, 2016)
Demonstrating ongoing support for environmental responsibility, the Craft and Folk Art Museum exhibit Windfall By Box Collective, is a collection of work embodying the standards of green design. The 15 pieces of furniture, sculpture and domestic objects on display were fashioned from some of the thousands of trees that fell between November 30th and December 1, 2011 during the San Gabriel Valley windstorm. Most of the works are made out of wood from fallen trees collected at the Los Angeles Arboretum & Botanic Gardens.
Ten members of Box Collective are represented: Robert Apodaca, Casey Dzierlenga, Harold Greene, David Johnson, RH Lee & JD Sassaman, Samuel Moyer, Andrew Riiska, Stephan Roggenbuck, Cliff Spencer and William Stranger. The Los Angeles-based group of furniture makers is committed to sustainable design and production. Their mission is to emulate the era when value was placed on fine craftsmanship, long-lasting materials and sound design. Employing reclaimed materials that would otherwise be discarded, they dumpster-dive and upcycle wood, scrap, glass, metal or paper products.
The pieces in the Windfall exhibition are stripped of extraneous detail and express their composite materials. The most sculptural piece in the show is Riiska’s window installation, Marshmallow Box Garden, made from a single piece of bark-covered Aspen log that’s been cut into segments. The segments are pierced by dozens of thin, peeled branches, each crowned with a wooden cube. Its playfulness stands out against the backdrop of functional objects. Stranger’s darkly hovering I-Table is made from a slab of Paulownia cantilevered over a steel I-beam. Inscribed in the end-grain is a quote from the Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami: “the wind knows everything inside you.”
Box Collective designs do not inhabit the consumerist culture of mass-produced, throwaway objects. Their aesthetic antecedents are found in the Bauhaus, Danish-Modern design and the furniture of Sam Maloof and George Nakashima. The furniture in Windfall illustrates a principle Box Collaborative refers to as ‘emotional design’ — design that produces a strong, enduring relationship between people and products. The smooth, matte surfaces are seductive; the objects invite use but are also meant to be treasured and preserved.