Video: Evolution of a Cabinet with Mike Pekovich
When I’m designing furniture, nothing appears out of whole cloth. Both of these cabinets resulted from the dozens of pieces that came before them. If I were drawing out the design of a cabinet, I wouldn’t have said, “Oh, it’s gonna have these slats, a kumiko panel, rustic hardware, tenons that stick out–and I think I’m gonna make it out of quartersawn white oak.” All of those decisions influenced the final feel, but I wouldn’t have applied those details had I not experimented on and worked with them in past pieces.
Design is a slow evolutionary process, and I have to build a lot of pieces that might look like I’m staying in the same place. Someone might say, “Well, that kind of looks like your last piece,” but in fact one part is different from the last piece. And that’s an important thing because I’m working with a known quantity. Changing a variable spins the piece in a different direction, so I have a sense of how that’s going to work.
So when this cabinet came about, I had a sense of how all the elements were going to work together because I have tried them before. Then of course, you get it done, and you look at it, and it works or it doesn’t work, but you catalogue those ideas. A particular hardware might give it a feel that I wasn’t really after, but that could be something I might be interested in later on. I’ve done a lot of work with metal hardware and I’ve done a lot of work with turned pulls, so changing one out for the other wasn’t a complete mystery. I had a sense of what it might do. Even still, I was excited to try the change because you never quite know. A little thing, like changing the pulls, creates just a little different flavor.
On the newest version I put paper behind the kumiko, and I think it gives a little bit more finished feeling. So I might start lining the kumiko panels on my doors now. Design is an ongoing process, and the next cabinet I make will be different from this.