I recently had a chance to visit with designer and furniture maker, Cole Scego. Cole has some great metal products that he designs and fabricates by his own hand. Tell me about yourself I am 26 years old and live in rural Missouri with my wife Gina and our two weimaraners Eins and Dreist. I grew up out in the country and spent a great deal of my time outdoors and in the water. I couldn’t wait to get out of school and move into a city, but after living in Springfield and St. Louis for a while I discovered that I greatly missed the peace and quiet of living in the country. Last year my wife and I bought a 5 acre patch of woods about an hour west of St. Louis and built a house. There is just something about living among nature that inspires and calms me. Can you tell me a little about your work? I try to create pieces that are visually inspiring and not only functional as furniture. I design my work to last functionally for generations. I would describe my work as high quality, high end. All of my furniture is welded solid or made entirely of one piece of metal. I do not make anything that requires assembly or that uses fasteners to hold something together. I use a wide variety of processes, such as laser cutting, waterjet cutting, and machining to create my pieces. To create the coating, I will often use up to 7 or 8 different colors and a clear coat on each piece. Over the past 4 or 5 years I have developed a wide variety of masking and application techniques that are not commonly used in the powder coating field. I am not aware of anyone else creating the type of finishes that I am using powder coating.
How did you get into furniture design? I got into furniture design out of necessity. When I was fresh out of business school I needed to furnish my apartment. I knew what kind of furniture I desired, but at that time it was a bit out of my price range. So with my amateur welding skills and some scrap pieces of metal I just fabricated my own. Some of the first pieces I did definitely had a bit of “rookie” aesthetic to them. I did not have a lot of tools or fabrication experience and some of my stuff was a bit out of square, you know, like the table at the local cafe with 4 coasters under one leg. Over time I have greatly increased my knowledge of fabrication and acquired a few more tools. I wasn’t really making stuff for anyone but myself at first, but it seemed like everyone who came over wanted me to make something for them and it kind of took off from there. What materials do you enjoy working with? I use steel and aluminum almost exclusively. My first choice is always steel, due to the fact that it is more cost effective and easier to work with than aluminum. Most of my larger pieces are aluminum, which is very expensive, but much lighter than steel. I use a wide variety of powder coatings, many different colors, clears, and textures.
Which designers influenced you? I can’t really pin down my inspirations on anyone, but here are a few I admire. I am a big fan of Rocio Romero, the designer of the LV home, who is also a fellow rural missourian. I like the work of Chuck Anderson of No Pattern. I also love the designs of Charles and Ray Eames, due to the fact that they actually produced a lot of their work on their own and developed a lot of new techniques. I really appreciate people who not only design, but also produce their own work. I just don’t think it is that difficult to draw up a CAD file and hand it to someone else for production. I hope people can appreciate the fact that I actually fabricate and coat everything myself, I don’t just draw a picture and take all of the credit. Prices: I do most of my work for individual clients, but I have thought about producing something to sell at the retail level in the near future. Here are some examples for you regarding pricing. small chairs – laser cut steel, 170.00/pc + shipping large aluminum dining table with birds – 3500.00 (this table is one single bent sheet of 1/2″ aluminum that is 6’long x 3’wide x 30″ tall black steel coffee table – 750.00 white aluminum coffee table – 1500.00 (this is a single sheet of aluminum cut with waterjet and bent to form legs, no welding) orange aluminum stand/bench/table 2100.00 aluminum wall hangings – 400.00 There is also a recent blog article on Cole over at Treehugger.