Mark McMenamin | March 01, 2012
If Louis Vuitton, West Elm, or DIFFA asks event planner David Stark to jump, he'll answer, "How high?" And he's just as ready to leap into action if the client is himself. "When the business environment is uncertain, we invent our own contexts to foster creative development," he explains. In other words: creation without commission.
Stark struck up a friendship with Nina Freudenberger at a dinner party that fashion designer Nicole Miller and Rhode Island School of Design president John Maeda threw for alumni. Freudenberger is the principal of Haus Interior, a firm that also operates a New York boutique selling napkins, place mats, scented candles, and the like-and Stark hatched the idea of a surprise makeover there. In a single 17-hour day, his David Stark Design and Production team reinvented the 400-square-foot space as Wood Shop, a pop-up store-slash-gallery.
It showcased 75 limited-edition objects thematically linked to woodworking. Tiny hammer and wrench necklace pendants were brass, and bandanas sporting nail-and-tack graphics were cotton. However, the majority of the collection was literally made from timber. The smooth Turned Wood vases in poplar contrasted with the chunky Stacked vases in SmartPly, manufactured by gluing and pressing oriented strand-board layers together, while a SmartPly pie and cupcake served up sweet whimsy.
Because the monthlong pop-up coincided with Valentine's Day, Stark added a heart-shape box of "chocolates," hand-carved with a query: Wood You Be Mine? You could buy one for $125-Wood Shop didn't accept any wooden nickels.
Photography by Susie Montagna.