Behind the Design With Ernesto Santalla
In last week’s post I called out furniture pieces – a credenza-bench and cocktail table – in the room designed by Ernesto Santalla for the CharityWorks GreenHouse, designer show house in McLean Virginia. Seems as though some of you are intrigued by these pieces so I asked Ernesto to tell me more about them.
Q: Had you ever worked with the materials -compressed particle wood, recycled paper and corrugated cardboard - as furniture before?
ES: I am fascinated with the concept of designing furniture with products we have traditionally thought of as junk like corrugated cardboard and made some sketches using the material. As part of my research I found "Conversation Table" by Leo Kempf, a perfect fit for my show house room.
Q: Was there a bit of trial and error before getting the materials to do what you wanted them to do?
ES: I designed MDF furniture in the early 90’s and it did not perform well as a horizontal surface - it absorbs moisture - so I went back to using it as a substrate and in fully engineered products like doors. These days I specify MDF with no added urea formaldehyde. The credenza in the show house is the first piece I’ve designed using Kirei and PaperStone. Kirei has one of the most beautiful textures I’ve seen and PaperStone makes it structurally sound.
Many permutations of what ultimately became a credenza-bench filled my sketchbook. It came together when I challenged myself to exercise economy of means, to do the most with the least. The products perform perfectly.
Q: Are you going to design additional furniture using these materials?
ES: These materials, as well as others which are indefinitely recyclable, are integral to our research and use of materials in current and future projects.