About

Vision

We can’t standardize the length of time a person should take in the shower. Some people have long hair while others like me are bald.

Similarly, no one-size-fits-all design solution will ever result in everyone’s joy or happiness. No one design will be seen as beautiful by everyone. I enjoy and celebrate people’s various interests by creating a myriad of different designs.

The philosopher Alain De Botton believes design wants to be prescribed like medication. It should help us with our specific needs. The work-a-holic who longs for life outside the city doesn’t want the same living room as the philomath who has an endless thirst for learning or the second-generation immigrant who wants to better celebrate their roots. This is a site that creates as many options as possible so that everyone can discover the perfect design for them.

In the past, design history books show eras that were more elaborate in their volume of design when compared to the mass-standardized products available today. Everything has become more of the same since the industrial revolution.

There’s a pink one and a green one

And a blue one and a yellow one

And they’re all made out of ticky-tacky

And they all look just the same.

Malvina Reynolds (Cover by her friend Pete Seeger)

The 20th Century however was very successful in creating affordabilty. For furniture, ready-to-assemble was designers and manufacturers most important contribution. I aim to bring together the best parts of the last century, affordability, with everything else that came before such as durability and customization.

While studying architecture, I learned about new methods in design and making that were not limited to standardization. Old tools resemble automated stamping machines that create identical products on hard-working assembly lines. New tools are closer to household desktop printers where every page can be different. Changing ink for wood, these machines are the tools to create a better design future.

Beginnings

My first project took place on Kickstarter. I wanted to create a furniture project that was as unique as I thought a 21st century furniture design should be. This Stool Rocks was a rocking stool featuring three different options: Easy Rock, Soft Rock, and Hard Rock that had different curavatures on their underside resulting in different levels of stability. The project was successful with 500+ backers.

Name

The name Birch Sandwich is a reference to the material that I love to work with and use most often, birch plywood. Plywood is an extremely efficient method of manufacturing trees into a workable produce design material that results in little waste. A log is unrolled like a pencil in a pencil sharperer producing long flat sheets called plys. A ply is strong in one direction and weak in the other. Plywood lays plys in alternating directions resulting in strength in both directions and stronger than solid wood of the same species. The name is partly inspired by Tom Sachs’ video on Vimeo titled “A Love Letter to Plywood,” where he describes plywood as:

Plywood is a sandwich

Delicious wood sandwich

Tom Sachs, A Love Letter to Plywood

Bio

Birch Sandwich is operated by me, James. I am a lifelong learner who has completed many university courses on an extremely wide range of topics. I followed my love of advanced geometry, technology, and sustainability by joining the skyscraper design office Kohn Pederson Fox in their London office. I later worked in Copenhagen with Julien De Smedt Architects and in Rotterdam with the Office for Metropolitan Architecture. More recently, I enjoy working for myself designing and making products using digital fabrication tools.

New designs will be released regularly here at birchsandwich.com

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