In February of 2008 we took part in the Gladstone Hotel's 5th annual alternative design event Come Up To My Room. Curated and coordinated with considerable panache by Pamila Matharu and Christina Zeidler, the installations engulfing the entire second floor of the hotel embodied the talent, eccentricity and diversity of the local art and design scene. The turnout was tremendous and the response overwhelmingly positive. In keeping with the imperative of the show the Brothers Dressler room featured new work produced specifically for the event. Focusing on the re-purposing of found materials and waste streams generated from our woodshop, we sought to create an atmosphere that brought the history and feeling behind the original objects into a new context of rebirth and renewal, a balance of natural and industrial.
Vestiges of a bygone era, wooden lasts approximating the form of an individual human foot were created by skilled craftsmen known as cobblers, moldmakers or cordwainers. Almost all shoes are made on lasts, of which there are many different types reflecting the variety of footwear and the feet they are designed for. Though lasts were traditionally made of wood, they are now typically made from blocks of expensive plastic and lathe-cut using CNC machines, rendering the unique skills of cobblers relics of the past.
Rescued from a Northern Ontario fishing camp where they were dumped with a sign reading “firewood for cottagers”, we were captivated by their raw beauty and thought they deserved one last hurrah. So with respect for the craftsmanship with which they were created, we’ve experimented with a selection of lasts to create a limited series of objects that pay tribute to the extinct artistry of the cobbler.
A FINE BALANCE
We’ve used sash weights found in old windows to create adjustable shelving that can be adapted to its surroundings. Designed to hold a herb garden and plants in windows these shelves can be strategically placed to diffuse the sun or obscure unsightly street signage.
Douglas fir, window pullies and sash weights, cotton rope, walnut and plexi-glass boxes and various herbs & plants
Inspired by the classic chaise longue designed by Le Corbusier and Charlotte Perriand, this is a machine designed for relaxation and comfort. The bent laminated curves provide structure, comfort and organic elegance and the rotating adjustment hardware was salvaged from an old drafting board found near a dumpster. FSC white oak, wool felt fabric, drafting board hinge
The mesh system is our answer to the bounty of scrap solid wood left over from the custom jobs that move through the woodworking co-op. Composed of walnut, maple, pine, poplar, cherry, mahogany, cedar and elm, a variety of shapes and forms can be created by linking these individual elements together including lamps, screens and mats.
Creating custom furniture naturally generates waste material. We work to minimize that waste by repurposing off-cuts and extra wood, the slab cube shelf uses that material to create a modular shelving system based on interchangeable components and simple assembly.
This system consists of variously sized plywood boxes which sit upon solid wood slabs of different species and dimensions. The slabs are solid hemlock from Urban Tree Salvage recovered from the 1910 ferry terminal wharf in Toronto Harbour and FSC white oak. The cubes are made from what we found in the shop, including walnut, white oak, cherry and mock teak.
With the use of pullies and counter-weights the walnut peepshow box is adjustable to the different heights of the viewer creating an intimate audio visual experience.