American Steel Studios

A Community of Art, Innovation and Industry:

Tell me about the process of your collaboration on this project:

Adam: I first became interested in the process after seeing Frank Gehry’s staircase at the Art Gallery of Ontario. I researched the process, built my own steam box and
started steaming. After several attempts, I was able to make an beautiful oak steam bent spiral staircase for a client in Lafayette. I met local architect, Ines Lejarraga, and we discussed the process and what was possible with the steam bending process. I helped her on a steam bent wood sculpture for A. Bauer Porsche at Oakland’s Art Murmur. We used the opportunity to further investigate the properties of bending including, other woods, such as ash and poplar. I taught her about the wood bending process. I learned from her about using scale models to create many variations before building full scale.

This project inspired her to create something sculptural yet functional which allows Diana Yuen’s optical shop to become more profitable, not only by making more
efficient use of the space, but by inspiring a feeling of well being in her patients. The design meet Diana’s needs for security, additional glasses display, and a capacity to
handle more clients.

Ines-mug-shotInes Lejarraga used both digital and traditional model making techniques to create precision plans. I was an integral part of her design process, as I helped the detail
aspects of the design. Likewise, Ines became an integral part of my building process helping to improve the steam box and the mold building process. In this project we
pushed the limits by bending unusually thick pieces of wood. The result has been a melding of art, architecture, and craft.

AS: Who is your ideal client?

Adam: An ideal client is someone who would like original forward thinking design with
expert craftsmanship.