In addition to proportions, functionality, wood selection,
grain direction, joinery selection and finish, there's another
unmeasurable, unquantifiable "dimension" that can enter
into the design considerations - chatoyancy.
You know - that thing that stones like tiger eye and star
saphires have - a built in dynamism that changes as the
stone moves or as you move around and over it. In wood,
you think of tiger, flame and quilted maple - nature's
holograms. A nice flat board appears to be the surface of
slow boiling maple syrup or wavy like sand dunes. Dark
areas turn light as you move around the board while light
areas turn dark.
And Mother Nature didn't limit this chatoyancy
thing to just maple - it turns up in all kinds of wood.
But sometimes the effect only works when viewed a
certain way And that's where things can get tricky.
Orient the wood the wrong way or place it too high
or too low and only very tall or very short people
will notice. While it's laying flat on the bench,
with a light diresctly overhead, a board may look
amazing Get it oriented the way it'll be in the actual
piece and at the height it will ultimately be at and
that really interesting piece of wood ...
Case in point - the visible sides of the side by side
LP albums cabinet my son and I are working on
(third image on this page)
Intersting yes? Put them vertical on the floor and
all that interest just about disappears. I'm suggesting
he get some bean bag chairs so seated guests will
notice the wonders of this stuff. After all, Studio
Furniture sometimes requires that the viewer be
controlled by The Piece : ).
This could explain why James Krenov puts his
wonderful little cabinets up on tall spindly legs.
Now if I can talk Chas into putting legs on these things
and forget his original design objectives ...
Just another thing to think about when working
with active wood.