We'd like to use this space to explain a little of the intentions behind the use of the materials and techniques that we have used in/on our products. This page isn't attached to the actual products because we think that over time our materials will change; separating the two gives us the flexibility to discuss the two without confusion.
From sketch to Rhino 3d modeling to the templates used to cut out from the plywood to the tools we use to cut, we call the entire process design. We tune the product and hone each part as we extract the designed form out of the material. You can only see so much in a 3d model, once fabrication begins you can actually see if it can be improved aesthetically not just engineered.
We subscribe to the theory that the rigor of design is removing the unnecessary, the act of rendering senseless the intentions of wanting to give too much. Our intention is to make a sensual form fastened to an industrial component. That play will always be part of our aesthetic design. We think that humanity has this thing with sweet and sour, pain and pleasure, a little complementary contraction adds spice to life!
We use software-based stress testing of parts and components. Essentially it allows us to non-destructively figure out if we need to add (or can remove) more material on a connection without actually spending any resources to do it. We then prototype all those calculations into a shape, next we physically test that shape. Software allows us to virtually add weight to any piece taking it to the edge of its capabilities and past to certain destruction. The trick is to find that edge and then pull back from it into a comfortable margin of safety.
Rhinoceros is our modeling software, no surprise there. We model every part 100% nothing is left out, even the nuts and bolts. The resulting indispensable model is used for further parametric template making, software based stress testing, and for rendering purposes on other software packages.
We DO NOT use products with added Urea-Formaldehyde
We use plywood made with Soy-Based Adhesives meeting the most stringent CARB Phase 2 regulations and Zero added formaldehyde
We use FSC certified plywood
We incorporate reclaimed woods in our line
We DO NOT use MDF or Particle boards
We DO NOT laminate
We exclusively use water-based Very Low VOC clear gloss finishes
We exclusively use water-based Zero VOC wood stains
We use natural, non-toxic bees wax on our soy stained finishes
We use non toxic Zero petroleum soaps and polishes
On metal we use a water-based urethane/resin sealant with a gloss finish to encase the metal: Zero VOC, no odor, and is non-hazardous
We recycle all of our wood scrap locally
We build our pieces to be solid, strong, and worthy of handing down a generation or two. We think these qualities are missing in the "thesis" of contemporary furniture. How do we address this? We suggest that each connection requires a targeted scrutiny and what we get from that is a balance of wood to metal. Wood must match and counteract the unique forces found at a specific point, the thickness of that wood must make enough room to do two things: 1. Allow forces to move through the fibers to find another assisting member (or through itself) 2. Provide enough fibers to give bite to the metal fasteners selected. This is a key concept: its easy to make something mono-material and then just neuter the hopes of seeing how forces are acting on each individual connection or throughout a plane! We go through exhaustive measures just to fulfill that statement.
Precise fabrication is critical, and meeting tolerances across multiple elements is one of our strong points. Sharp tools, correct horsepower, and exact RPMs yield some great results.
We have taken great care in selecting our material suppliers. From the wood to the steel, to the stains and clears we have taken great care to find a combination that are available domestically and at the high quality standards we've set up. We are only as good as the products we choose to use, and we try to consume 100% Made in the USA. Although in the USA we have many choices some products just aren't made here any more and for that reason we disclose that our intention is to keep as much as possible domestic and never will we compromise just to make a buck.
We live and create here in Miami, a city surrounded by copious amounts of raw nature. The Everglades National Wildlife Park to the West and the Atlantic ocean to the East, the flora, fauna and wildlife are so rich in colors it is incredible. Within walking distance of our shop we have a canal filled with Peacock bass with amazingly bright orange bellies, American Bald Eagles even make it this far South and we see them swoop down into local lakes to grab a meal. Their feathers are just incredibly stunning in contrast to the green of the palm trees and grass. Flocks of Ibis birds can be seen flying during sunsets, and the juxtaposition of their bright white feathers to the red and orange hues in the sky is stunning. Iguanas, lizards and toe biter bugs provide the most amazing greens and black palettes! But what really takes the cake is the weather, and the ocean. Although flat in all directions, South Florida has these two amazing performers. Together they play a huge role in supplying some of the most amazing cloud structures and lighting shows on earth. More palettes to draw inspiration from!
The rainy season is that time when you get good at reading clouds, whether they are ripe for a shower or a pour! The Sunsets and sunrises are explosive with color! Biscayne bay with its shallow waters is on the foreground of every recognizable image of the Miami Skyline just like the Hudson is of the Manhattan skyline. As you view further into the horizon, those blues grow darker and darker, in between a choice of teals that would make pantone jealous.
All this rain water feeds the plants and fruit trees of the region. Mango, orange, lemon, avocado, banana trees all grows in common backyards. No wonder our Architecture in South Beach and through out the greater metropolitan area has such rich palettes! Born out of inspiration of these rich palettes of colors, we made our own! In order to preserve all of that nature we were inspired to use water-based nontoxic zero VOC wood stains which we spray on in up to 7 layers to hit every crevice in the wood grain but coat the wood even and smooth. We want to preserve the grains of the tree, and never goop on paint to cover that up!
Color plays such an important role in communicating feeling and emotion; we have selected a group of colors that we are very proud to say does our region proud and accentuates the boldness of our pieces.
Bees wax finishes include a small canister of wax for a re-application once a year. Use one cloth to apply and another to remove and polish. Before the reapplication of wax, the surface must be free of dust, which can be accomplished by a thorough vacuuming with a brush attachment. Do this gently so as to not scratch the wood surface. Dusting your pieces often and keeping a comfortable humidity level should extend the need to reapply any wax as often.
Our cleared finishes only need to be wiped clean, and the occasional dusting. If you spill anything on a cleared surface we suggest dishwashing soap and water only with nothing abrasive. Do not use harsh chemicals on any of our finishes.
We make two finishes types: Bees wax and Polyureseal Gloss or Matte clear. Bees wax is completely applied by hand, it provides a matte lusterless finish that brings out the richness of the wood grain. If we polish it after we apply it we can knock down some of the grain and bring a little dull luster out. It looks very nice, on structural elements that don’t get much touching (by staying evenly matte with no oils). It does not protect from slight impact, scratches or lots of constant use.
Our cleared products use Polyureseal gloss, which we apply by spray gun. This product will continue to harden even after we’ve shipped it to you. It is more resistant to constant use, better suited for table surfaces, and it seals in the wood for years of use. We wet sand by hand with non-toxic petroleum free soap and then polish it with non-toxic petroleum free polish solution and a buffer to bring out a high gloss.
We have taken great care to design our pieces to expose only wood to the skin; we’ve intentionally placed metal parts in places where the use of the piece will not interact. Where it does the metal is chosen in the metal will most certainly be stainless steel or 100% encased in a non-toxic clear.
We think that taking the time to put our pieces together with great care and show how cleanly steel can sit next to stained and cleared wood separated by a cork washer is an incredible detail. Sometimes there is no need to do any sort of extra work but to just be neat and tidy about it all. The end result of such restraint can be immensely powerful.
Careful execution of the designed form on to the intended material can yield another dimension of what details can be. We encourage the careful analysis as to “how we did this or that” its part of the eternal enjoyment something “different” gives us. Every time you use it, you discover a new detail…
Details can also be found in the process that one takes to make, or in preparing the materials for the meticulous steps that need to be taken before one can reach the finishing stage. For those who like to think deeply, we put something there for you too…
Wood is one of the most difficult and unpredictable materials to work with. By nature a tree and the wood cut from it is imperfect in comparison to metal or glass. Although any sheet of plywood is considered to be a composite material an engineered product meant to surpass and over come any uncertain flaw, all plywood has a little genie in them. At this time sketch to form, inc. relies on manufacturers to supply the best plywood they can make. We make great efforts to select from the best grades of domestic Eco-plywood. What does that mean? It means selecting A-1 plywood sheets, selecting the best quality reclaimed woods, and solid wood planks. We then accept and work with each sheet’s unique personality.
We patiently select the most well behaved sheets and exploit their best grain patterns based on visibility and orientation of the surface being created. We then skillfully design the template placement to carve out the sweet spots. Each piece of wood is unique; each veneer sheet is unique so no two pieces will ever look the same. Unpredictability is head locked into a positive.