12 Jan Illuminations: Ones to watch
Bruce Schuettinger, owner of Mosart Furniture, sees his work as a sustainable practice that promotes fine craftsmanship and creativity in design. Using a variety of wood as his color palette, Schuettinger creates pieces that are a cross between painting and utilitarian furniture.
“Coming from an artist’s perspective, it is easier and freer to [design] without restriction,” Schuettinger says. “I know that there are needs for dining tables, coffee tables, occasional tables and desks, whether for use in a corporate atmosphere or for the home. Those forms are popular, and we know people use them. If we can create forms that individuals want and impart the decoration that we want, we can create individual works of art.”
Schuettinger selects the wood specifically for the grain pattern, the colors or the way it refracts light. “I studied art and art history in school,” he says. “What I wanted to do was paint with wood. I’m using the natural color grain patterns in our decoration. Trying to bring forth the concept of how varied and beautiful the woods are and how we should be looking at them a little differently. Nature created this wonderful material, and I’d like to bring that forth.”
The intricate and expert workmanship is a nod to the way that, historically, furniture was considered an art that’s executed for both function and décor.
“In the 16th century, it was a highly respected craft,” he says. “Currently, it’s not viewed by the public in that way. I believe I’m bringing this back to the forefront — let this furniture be a work of art, functional, well crafted, but let it be a work of art.”
For example, his dining-room table, titled A Coming Together, includes 54 different species and figures of wood from more than 20 countries, from American Cherry to Andiroba Crabwood. Schuettinger feels that when someone sits down at such a piece, they can’t help but appreciate the natural beauty.
“When nature creates a tree, it’s important,” Schuettinger says, explaining that in Western culture the best part of the tree is used and the defects are cut out. “I want to show all the parts of the tree. For instance, I’m designing a table right now, using mainly old stock, especially some of the exotic woods that aren’t available anymore. It promotes sustainability. I let the tree dictate what I do.”
Even his studio space supports sustainability. Mosart upcycles materials, and Schuettinger’s studio runs on solar power.