Art and design projects. With stories about the people, places and experiences that have shaped my

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Maquettes for Furniture Designs

A model (maquette) for a dining table.
Making small-scale models of objects is a good way to explore scale and form. Revisions to a full-scale design can take days or weeks and be very costly. It's better to make changes on the maquette that only took a day or two to create. And there is nothing like being able to hold the model in your hand!

Actual size and scale is shown here.
The first photo at the beginning of this story fools us into thinking that we are seeing a real dining table. In fact, this maquette is just 2 7/16 inches (62mm) tall.

Side view.
The wood top is made out of 'bird's-eye' maple. The legs were cut from silver-solder brazing rods. They were given a brushed texture finish and then several coats of spray lacquer.

Leg and 'coved' apron detail.

.This table leg detail photo shows how the 'apron' under the table is curved on all four sides.

 A biomorphic table maquette:
A continuously curved-edge 'biomorphic' shaped table top.
When we see contemporary designers using biomorphic curves, it is fashionable these days to say that the inspiration came surely from the modernist European sculptors Brancusi, Moore or Arp. Personally, I have always preferred British sculptor Barbara Hepworth in this department. She was often more bold with her shapes than the men. And certainly elegant.

Dame Barbara Hepworth (1903-1975) carving a stone sculpture.

L - R: George Beylerian, John Scofield with a painted oak bench Maquette.
Photo: B. Johnstone.
 Here I am, on the right, presenting a maquette for a bench to design-world icon George Beylerian in 2013. He is probably the foremost collector of modern miniature furniture designs in the USA. Naturally, I am very honored to be included in his collection. 

Here are some other maquettes I have made over the years:

'Reclining Woman Bench' maquette.
The full scale 'Reclining Woman Bench,' in carved cherry.

Bench with multicolored back and metal legs.

Two maquettes for the 'Equestrian Bench.'

The full scale 'Equestrian Bench' in carved and painted mahogany.

Maquette for 'Night Sky Table in painted pear wood.

The full-scale 'Night Sky Table' in painted cherry and forged iron.

Top view of full-scale 'Night Sky Table' depicting the Milky Way with thousands of painted white dots.

The furniture and sculpture maquette display at my Port Chester, NY studio in the 1980s
Additional pieces in this photo along the bottom:
On lower left a black Steinway piano chair. My Folding Music Stand with a copy of Threads magazine on it. The cover shot is Martha Yazzie weaving a Navajo Burntwater-style rug near the Canyon de Chelly, AZ. A geometric steel and granite table with flowers. A sculpture titled 'The Savage and the Tender,' after the Robert Burns poem 'Song Composed in August.' A settee designed by Jack Lenor Larsen. Jack was a juror in the first exhibition of my work - The Brockton, MA Art Center show 'Things,' 1972.

Fir wood top, painted legs. Photographed on a galvanized table surface.

Side view shows tapered and coved apron dining table; Hepworth inspired table.

Gloss sprayed lacquer is rubbed with a fine abrasive for a less reflective satin finish.
Note in the photo above that each of the eight legs is a different color. Also, the color palette for each table has a different emotional tenor. The Navajo weavers would say that the one on the left is 'brightened,' while the little table on the right is 'saddened.'


  1. Nice post. These are so beautiful. I really like these furniture. Thanks for sharing. hospitality furniture manufacturers

    1. Thanks James. I am working on a group for another manufacturer now. But am always interested in other projects.

  2. yet another good posting.. thanks for your great works