EBEN BLANEY Fine Contemporary Furniture

words JOANNE FRIEDRICK  |  photography JAY YORK

Furniture designer Eben Blaney.
The Cirrus3 console is made of ebonized
mahogany, walnut and blackwood.
The sculptural V Bench in walnut.
Blaney's workshop.
The Wise lounge chair and ottoman are made
of mahogany with fabric cushions using high-density foam.
Biped side tables in walnut, ash and aluminum
with pigmented conversion varnish.
The Sawtooth coffee table is comprised of Baltic birch plywood
and maple veneer with a pigmented conversion varnish.

For Eben Blaney, the two parts of his contemporary furniture business—commission work and speculative pieces—inform each other. “The criteria are imposed if it’s for someone,” he notes, “while I’m less constrained with my own things.” In either case, Blaney starts in an “old-school, low-tech” way, with drawings. “I have lots of sketchbooks and I mine those for ideas,” he says. Blaney is also a model maker, constructing ⅛-scale models so he can view a piece from different angles. “A quick mockup helps with proportion,” and if it’s a commissioned piece, he can take a photo and send it off to a client. Espousing a clean aesthetic, Blaney says “my taste tends toward less-is-more. Like a well-crafted pop song, it fits together and there’s nothing extra.”

Blaney works in many woods. Air-dried, unsteamed walnut is a favorite for its beautiful colors and variations, but he’s also fond of ebonized mahogany. There are also painted pieces; depending on the context, he often stays away from dramatic, figured woodgrain. “I like things bold, but I don’t always want [the grain] to dominate. If I want to knock it down a bit, color does that for me.” Taking a break this year from doing juried shows to focus on his sculptural pieces, Blaney says he’s “eternally optimistic that I can strike on something different. I like to think there’s a new combination of shapes. I’m trying to make things that feel individual and distinct.”


Previous StoryNext Story