Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Matthias Pliessnig - Boat building techniques in furniture design

Using techniques from boat building, Matthias Pliessnig is building sculptural curved seating by steam bending wood. This is technique highly used in building wooden boats, but rarely seen in furniture construction. (Thonet and the Windsor chair are notable exceptions.)

In 2006 Pliessnig built a skiff for a project. Learning from this, he applied the boat building and lofting techniques to his furniture. Using Rhino to visualize his ideas, he's become an advocate for the software and amorphous geometry.

For woodworkers interested in the process, the May/June 2016 Fine Woodworking Magazine has an article, but it is accessible only to subscribers. For the rest of us, we can read the Smithsonian collection notes with a process description.

Also, in 2011 Pliessnig was in a 4-artist exhibition in the Renwick Gallery, of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. A round table discussion, Everything Old is New Again, was part of this exhibit. And there is also a YouTube of a presentation at Renwick by Pliessnig. Warning, both these videos are about an hour long.

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