My name is Christopher Stuart and I'm an American designer. I split my time between design work for clients (branding, product, interior) and self-initiated product and furniture. Somewhere in there I author the occasional book.
DIY Furniture is kind of a hybrid book. It's a bit of a gallery style book in that it shows large images of designers' work alongside descriptive text. The works featured are by prominent working designers and rising stars. For those people like myself who love boutique furniture, but can't just walk into a New York or London shop and take home a Peter Marigold or Rich, Brilliant, Willing original; the book is also a guide for DIY. After each designers' images and text is a set of instructions, complete with a material list and step by step illustrations. There is a variety of innovative furniture for the home that utilize off-the-shelf materials from the hardware store.
I was looking at off-the-shelf parts as a way to self-produce some of my designs, or at least use the readily available parts to work out prototypes. I realized that other designers were doing the same thing, so I thought the idea was deserving enough to put some of these designs all in one place. Originally I was thinking of curating a gallery show, but thought a book would have a wider reach.
Every time I look through the book, I have a different favorite.
I wrote the book out of my home studio (4.5 x 3.5m), also where I do my design work. It's a modest room that is usually messy and loaded with little goodies I've picked up here and there. The hardest part about working from home is that the refrigerator is very close. I also had access to my school shop to build my furniture over the last couple years, but have now finished my degree :[ I'm now looking at some industrial space where I can put my own shop and studio.
As long as I can remember.
I remember building massive scale tents that spanned from room to room. I would use every chair and table in the house, and connect them with sheets from all the beds and closet. I filled them with pillows and blankets. I'm not sure how old I was then. I also remember constructing a robot out of cardboard and aluminum foil and attaching it to my remote controlled car, so I could have my own butler (that didn't work well because I had to go where it went anyway to place things on the tray).
The father of minimalism and conceptualism and in regards to his wall drawings somewhat of DIYer himself, Sol LeWitt. Duchamp for making the use of readymades cool, and Enzo Mari for his inspiring book from 1974 (the year I was born) on DIY furniture, Autoprogettazione.
I frequent blogs like notcot.org, but the best inspiration comes when you're not looking. My ideas usually come when my body is active, but my mind is idle, like when I'm on the treadmill at the gym.
I'm working on the new book, DIY Furniture 2, setting up the new studio, designing some new furniture pieces, and am close to launching some home accessories.
Featuring 30 designs by leading designer-makers from around the world DIY Furniture shows you how to use simple techniques to make stunning designer furniture from scratch. All the projects can be easily assembled using the step-by-step guides from common materials which can be found at the local hardware store. Along with designs for seating and storage, the book also features projects for making your own bed, wardrobe, lighting and garden furniture. Each project features hand-drawn diagrams with short, easy-to-follow instructions on how to build the piece. Whether building from scratch or customising existing designs, DIY Furniture allows you to create unique designer pieces at a fraction of the normal cost. Brief biographies of all the featured designers are included at the end of the book.