MOE_spark

“A custom-made life is better than a Wal-Mart world,” says Sean Barrow. Tall, dark, and tattooed, Barrow looks more like a rock star than the avid eco-design aficionado he is.

His post-apocalyptic appearance at first glance seems at odds with the elegant, minimal, Japa-nese-inspired aesthetic he studies and employs in his sustainable furniture making. But both display his practical approach to 21st-century salvage: to reveal rare beauty and utility from former chaos.

Case in point: the sleek Electron Monument, a bewitching handmade side table that hides an array of outlets for electronic devices and their chargers. “‘Charging station’ sounds so unsexy — hence the name,” laughs Barrow, who installed six outlets, capable of handling power blisters as well as standard plugs, in the table’s inside base.

Sitting high on salvaged metal legs, the box is made from spalted pin oak that Barrow snagged from a dying tree (which creates the zigzagged black segments in the wood grain), and held together by wooden finger joints. The removable top is reclaimed and sanded zebrawood and rosewood, with sides angled in at 13 degrees (a favorite angle he uses in much of his furniture), finished with nontoxic Osmo oil.

The most compelling feature of the Monument is the hypnotic, softly glowing cobalt light in the front of the box, with machined metal pieces added to create an abstract power-outlet motif. Using almost no energy, it is illuminated with an LED plucked from an old night light.

The combination of traditional Asian design, sustainable resources, and the sci-fi hieroglyph glowing from within the Electron Monument make it a perfect example of Barrow’s work, and one of the coolest ways to hide your electronic clutter.

Sean Barrow: skrewgun.com

From the column Made on EarthMAKE 8, page 24 – Kirsten Anderson.