For a time I lived in an apartment with no furniture. After paying rent, there was just enough money for food and some basics. For a few months I slept in a sleeping bag and did not have a chair to sit on. Had I owned a chair, there was no table to sit at. So I drew several sketches and elevations of tables, settling on the simplest form. I drafted and redrafted my drawings until the method of assembly and harmony of dimensions satisfied me. With tools borrowed from my Dad, I made a beautifully proportioned Parsons table from scratch. I veneered the surface with woven grass because it was inexpensive, natural, and because the texture was beautiful. Later, I purchased a sheet of bevelled glass for the top surface. For seating, I rescued four authentic but damaged Marcel Breuer Cesca cantilevered armchairs from a dumpster behind the old Dylex warehouse on Carlaw Avenue, in Toronto. I repaired and cleaned them, then had them re-caned. The dining set I ended up with was iconic Bauhaus. It came with me when I moved west.
Early on, the Bauhaus idea that all art and craft is one inter-woven discipline, greatly appealed to me. About the time my bed was a sleeping bag, I stumbled upon a Milton Glaser print promoting the School of Visual Arts in New York. It featured a watercolour of a juggler and the headline, “Our Times Call For Multiple Careers”. I understood that would be me. I still have that print and continue to work across interconnected disciplines, designing products, sourcing natural materials, creating marketing campaigns, tackling projects that instinctively feel right, consulting to businesses, pulling teams together, volunteering in my community, engaging in environmental issues, ever curious to discover more.
When I’m seriously engaged in a challenging project I draw, big time; objects, concepts, processes, perspectives, charts, doodles, slogans, Venn diagrams, mission statements, elevations…I get myself a big fat roll of wide paper, a fistful of pencils, pens and markers, start at one end of the roll and scroll away. I can go for metres, imagining solutions this way and that, inventing, creating, engineering, discarding, revising, simplifying, before bringing the object of my passion to life. It may be furniture, art, an advertising strategy, a layout, an event, a full blown marketing concept, a house, a factory, or as in this case, an entire business. Whatever it is, it starts with large format paper and pencils.
Lately, I’ve been drawing a lot. Plotting the details of a new product, and a new venture that is now coming to life. You are invited to join in as we create and launch a new kind of bed and a new kind of sleeping system designed to respond to the unique and troubling circumstances of this century.
Author’s Note: All facts and information referenced in the Why Now? series, including facts and information about chemicals and their impacts on human health and environment, have been drawn from previously published sources in the European Union, United States of America, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Denmark, Sweden, Germany and India. Sources include national and state government documents, government funded agencies, national and international corporations, peer reviewed research from universities, the industrial safety industry, material data safety sheets, worker’s compensation board records, articles published in major newspapers, articles published by national and international news reporting services, published authors respected in their fields, and reports and studies published by reputable nonprofits and environmental organizations. Len Laycock