Thursday, July 06, 2006

Nanine Alexander writes about Mark Downing

Don't miss the article in Homes & Gardens section of The Oregonian entitled
Grace ingrained
Woodworker extraordinaire Mark Downing infuses his creations with elegance and a touch of whimsy
by Nanine Alexander.

The first thing that caught my attention was a picture of a classic garden bench inspired by British architect Sir Edwin Lutyens, built by Downing to fit a curved wall in a Portlander's garden. I found a picture of a Lutyens' designed bench:

Thakeham Bench

The Thakeham seat pictured here in English Oak was designed for the garden at Little Thakeham near Storrington, West Sussex. The rhythmical symmetry of the bench is typical of LutyensÕs love of form.
Downing's bench is in a salmon color or faded Chinese red. Beautiful!

Nanine Alexander writes
Mark Downing's woodworking shop in Northeast Portland stands as a demonstration of his many skills.

He built it from the concrete floor up. Painted a cheerful blue, red and yellow with cedar siding and shingles, it sits on a gray stucco skirt. Leaded-glass windows, cut by Downing, look out on bright perennials planted by his girlfriend. On one of the corbels projecting from the roof, he installed a miniature statue of a Chinese warrior, a note of whimsy that he believes deserves a place in design.

The smell of cedar sends a greeting and leads you into a shop so tidy it's almost Zenlike. Tools hang on the walls, awaiting their turn to put form to his elegantly designed furniture, cabinetry, garden structures and buildings.

His creations are evidence of that philosophy and the architects who have influenced him.
We have some wonderful artists in Portland!

Mark Downing may be reached at 503-709-4049

Bev & Mike
Landfair Furniture + Design Gallery

Update: One more reason to read the article:
FURNITUREToday writes French-Asian Crossing by Tracy Bulla
West and East converge with streamlined grace, highlighting the opulent side of both cultures with admirable subtlety. A modern mixture of these seemingly divergent design genres results in sophistication and simplicity lined up next to vibrancy and complexity. Antiqued shapes reemerge dusted off and leaner, while motifs like birds, flowers and plants are a recurrent theme. Just like a coat of lacquer, eye-popping shades of chartreuse, orange and scarlet give the look a gorgeous gloss.
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