As a celebration of its one hundredth year of creating fine hand-made furniture in North Carolina; Hickory Chair Furniture Company launched a Centennial Design Challenge. San Francisco furniture and interior designer Samuel Fleming Lewis of INSTUDIO submitted a table design inspired by an Asian influenced Frank Lloyd Wright designed candlestick. Lewis’s Octagon Table won the professional designer category of the challenge.
Hickory Chair Furniture Company realized the Octagon Table as his prize and invited Lewis to their workshops to select a finish and see the table to completion. As Samuel toured the workshops it was quite a surprise when he came upon the actual table base and top. He was introduced to the furniture finishers and selected the “Soleil” finish to enhance the finely matched ash veneer of the table top and base.
To achieve the rich depth of the “Soleil” finish a yellow colored stain was applied to every surface of the table followed by an orange colored stain. Beautiful golden brown tones were achieved that made the wood glow. A deep brown pigment was then applied, buffed and burnished deep within the wood grain which brought it to life. Clear coats were applied by teams of finishers who polished and inspected every inch of the table. Each finish specialist did inspections and touch-ups required until the finish reached the level of perfection of their high standards.
Samuel was allowed to walk around the workroom floor to experience the art of fine furniture making and furniture finishing first hand. Selecting quality furniture from showrooms can never prepare a designer for the level of care, attention to detail, skilled hands and thoughtful eyes of the people behind the furniture who create it by hand.
The table finish dried overnight. The following morning the Octagon table was moved to another floor for final polishing. The clear coat finish was cleaned and buffed. A final dark wax was applied and the table took on a luxurious glow. Much to Samuel’s horror one of the finishers took out his keys as if to scratch the beautiful finish. He was only teasing; wanting to demonstrate how the glass like finish allowed his keys to glide across the final polish without a scratch; Samuel’s horror turned to laughter. After a few casual photographs the table was placed in crates and transported to San Francisco.
A viewing of the Octagon table is in the works for 2013 as part of a refreshed design of The Henredon Interior Design Showroom located at The San Francisco Design Center, Showplace, 2 Henry Adams Street, San Francisco, CA. Visit INSTUDIO at instudio-sf.com for information about the future display of the handsome East meets West design.
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