2 Questions for Laurie Beckerman
by sabine7 / August 23, 2007

Laurie Beckerman garnered rave reviews at this year’s ICFF with her Tête-à-Tête Rocker, a very modern take on the old-fashioned kissing chair. Rockers rock in tandem on two comma-shaped bases that make us think of easy conversation. Soon Beckerman will be partnered with Corian to issue the rocker, making it extremely adaptable for outdoor use. Beckerman’s background is in anthropology and architecture and has gone from designing low-income housing to stone carving and now furniture design.

You've devoted so much of your time to carving, yet your latest furniture designs are very sleek and smooth, not the intricate or ornate offerings one might come to expect from a stone carver inspired by Saint John the Divine. Has this development been a gradual evolution or was an abrupt decision involved?
Actually I worked at St. John the Divine shortly after graduating from architecture school and was hired to work in the setting-out shop located in the basement of the church. It was our job to draw up the templates that the stonecarvers used to carve their stones. I was the only one in the shop that didn't mind the cold and the dust and learned to work with stone during my lunch breaks. I always enjoyed working with my hands and this was very interesting to me at the time. Just because I'm drawn to things modern doesn't mean that I can't appreciate stone carving. It was more the process of doing it than the subject matter. Even more than carving I enjoyed just doing masonry, that is, leveling stone out. There is something very meditative about hitting the stone - the sound of the stone when it is chipped away and the rhythm of it that I was enamored with. However, that said, the very first creative piece that I did was a modern little stone table. It was that piece that got me thinking that I could make furniture. When I no longer had a place to cut stone, it occurred to me that I could make furniture from other materials.

Tangerine Table.

The world is already full of 'stuff' – as a designer, why do you choose to create more?
Why do I want to create more....that's a very good question. I actually went through many phases in my life that I didn't make anything at all because I couldn't find a good reason to. But now, later in life, I'm getting to know myself better and having gone through some traumatic life changes, all of a sudden I felt compelled to create. Maybe this sounds cliche but it's as if something bigger is living in me now and is forcing me to do this. It's a feeling that I don't want to leave this earth without saying what I came here to say. What I want to express in my art is something simple and strong and playful and beautiful and just give pleasure to anyone who uses or looks at it.

I also believe that everyone has something to say and that there is room for everyone to make "stuff" because there is always going to be someone else in this world that's going to respond to it. Art is so subjective anyway -- one person may get it and others may not.

Luminous Table.


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