2011 Design Inside the Box: Untitled Table
One of five finalists in Avenue’s second annual design competition.
Photography by Curtis Comeau
Chet Domanski’s table, inspired by the simplicity of Okanagan wine barrels and apple baskets, required more work than its minimal design suggests. Despite having made many pieces of furniture – including a bench exhibited at the 2006 Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, D.C. – the processes involved in making the table required him to learn new techniques.
Domanski, manager of design for Cameron Development Corporation, a commercial real estate developer, designed and constructed his piece during his spare time. During the days, he might review the exterior architecture of a shopping centre; at night, when his children were asleep, his own project took shape.
“I went to the shop every night for a couple of weeks. And since I was also trying to be a good dad, I’d work from about 9 p.m. to midnight [on the table].”
Domanski has 10 years of experience in design. He co-founded Boulevard, a furniture design company, which operated until 2007. He also worked for Kasian Architecture Interior Design and Planning, assisting with architectural and interior design. Domanski enjoys continually expanding his knowledge and skill sets.
In order to create the table’s curved basket shape, he learned steam bending, a process he was eager to try. With the help of Cary Brandt and Paul Francis of Mastodon, a specialty toboggan company, he learned how the wood is dropped into a giant barrel of boiling water, clamped onto a mould, then left to dry in the desired shape.
For the seamless straps of metal that encircle the table, he had the help of a former airplane repairman turned blacksmith, who expertly welded the ends together.
Domanski has always been a huge supporter of local artists, as illustrated by his 10-year involvement in M.A.D.E in Edmonton, an organization that encourages local design – whether of those in the industry or elementary school children.
He says he might refine his techniques for making the table, but he is happy with the end result.