x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Newport table

Rhode Island-based Studio Dunn presents clean, raw beauty in its simplest form.


I count myself lucky to have started trawling the halls at New York's ICFF a couple of weeks ago in the "wrong" order, for I might otherwise have missed the small and unprepossessing stand of Rhode Island-based Studio Dunn, tucked away on the far side of the exhibition. In the busy-busy visual onslaught that's a given at any furniture fair, the pure lines and exquisitely balanced proportions of Dunn's Newport table (and the Barrington chair that complements it so well) leapt out at me.

Its clean, raw beauty brings to mind the timeless simplicity of Shaker design and the dynamic modernism of mid-century Danish, transforming it into something wholly fresh. This table is all that honest, well-considered design should be. Asher Dunn, the design studio's principal (a graduate of Rhode Island School of Design), has done all the right local-and-sustainable things, too - not out of political correctness or the commercially expedient cynicism of green-washing but because, as a conversation with him quickly reveals, honest and considered is who he is (oh, and a very talented designer).

The table is made from American hardwoods, supplied by yards in or near Rhode Island that source timber only from sustainably managed forests. Its manufacture combines modern factory techniques (to make the veneers - albeit with good old-fashioned low-chemical glue compounds) with traditional hand-craft techniques such as mortise and tenon joints, hand-sanding, and a hand-applied oil finish to create a semi-matte surface that allows the beauty of the wood grain to shine through. By employing woodworkers based within 50 miles of the studio, Dunn is helping to preserve and encourage local manufacturing. All told, it's an important social contribution.

Happily, the judges of ICFF's Editors' Awards, also didn't miss Dunn's stand - and named the studio Best New Designer. Let us wish this young business commercial success to match the critical acclaim (hey, let's just buy the table ? and a set of Barrington chairs to go with it). Newport table available in walnut, maple or cherry wood, $US1,250 (Dh4,591) plus shipping, from www.studiodunn.com