INTERIORS 2014: Bespoke furniture with a global narrative

This story appears in Ottawa Magazine’s Interiors 2014 issue, on newsstands now. Click here to subscribe to the print or digital versions.

This beautiful walnut chair incorporates techniques developed around the world (Photo: Marc Fowler/Metropolis Studio)

When one wood artist commissions a piece from another, it’s high praise, indeed.

Working with richly grained walnut, Daniel Marciano designed the original version of this chair five years ago as a signature piece for an exhibition. As soon as he saw it, wood turner Malcolm Zander commissioned two more for his home. Although at first glance these pieces have a modern Danish sensibility, Marciano notes that a global narrative runs through them.

Look closely, and you can just spot the artistry of the four joints connecting the five pieces that make up the armrests, a technique developed in China and known as a keyed scarf joint. The backrests are also inspired by China. “I chose pieces with a strong grain that reminded me of a Chinese landscape painting,” Marciano says.

The gorgeous planes and finish he credits to Japan, where he spent three months apprenticing in 1993 and took his hand-planing skills to the next level with sculpting tools specific to chair making. Bringing it all back full circle, Marciano notes that Scandinavian designers were heavily influenced by furniture designed during the Ming dynasty in China.