Wabi-sabi with a craftsman
Meet Mark Aylward. Creator of reclaimed timber and custom steel pieces.
Long & Co approached Mark to design a custom table for our King Street office. Working with interior specialist Kate Whitson from All Things Linear, we got this beauty.
We also commissioned Mark to create a New York loft-style steel window and door combo used to separate the workspace from the boardroom. A nod to the steel heritage of the Newcastle region.
What was your creative vision for this job?
I’m lucky enough to be able to take a plan and visualise it in 3D. I like real things, not plastic. The pieces I make will last for 100 years or more. I try to incorporate recycled products into my work, to give them more lifer and character. For the table legs I’ve used repurposed beams, leftover from a construction job and the timber is recycled wood that’s more than 120 years old.
When purchasing one of my pieces, you never know what you might just end up with. I believe tables are especially important as they are a gathering space in the heart of a home or office. Incorporating small things with love means something. When I make a table, I’ll put something underneath, old coins, flat forks, old post cards. My philosophy is Wabi-sabi. A Japanese world view centered around the acceptance of transience and imperfection and this is reflected in my work. All of my pieces are perfectly imperfect.
What would you tell your 25-year old self?
When meeting people for the first time, I’m quick to judge and seldom wrong. After many years of dealing with customers and people, I’ve learnt to deal with things quickly or deal with the consequences. I take the same approach to hiring and firing as I do to marriage. Choose carefully because it doesn’t matter if you hire someone or marry someone, it’s not nice to part ways later.
Where do you see your industry headed in the future?
After the wave of minimalism swept through, woodwork is in again. There’s now a nice balance between simple pieces and the detail of something that has been made with skill and craft. I think the industry seems to value that more these days. Anything too easy, is never good. If there isn’t sweat and pain involved, it’s not worth it.
To commission Mark to create a custom piece, follow the link here.
About Long & Co
Long & Co is a small brand, strategy and technology alternative to a big agency. We offer everything an agency does, without the overhead. We have a network of talent across Sydney, Newcastle and regional Australia. At Long & Co, we think and we do.
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