Worlds Collide

In my last post, I declared an affinity for objects that show evidence of the human touch. Hand crafted things express far greater humanity than machine-made things.

Civilization, as we know it, has come to depend primarily on machine-made objects, whose world dominates the world of handcraft.  I find, however, that when these two worlds collide, wonderful things can happen.

This railing for the central stairway of a house placed a mass-produced item in service of the handmade aesthetic.  For various reasons, including a limited budget, I set the following design constraints:

  1.  All balusters are to be cut from the same 42” long pre-fab S-shaped wrought iron piece, which may be turned, flipped, and rotated.
  2. The baluster design must lie in a flat plane within the 28 inch space between the horizontal rails.
  3. No distance between any two elements may exceed 4”, per code.

Charlie Brown, of Brown Custom Iron created this leafy, wavy design for the stair railing, which goes from the ground floor to the third floor. It is the centerpiece of the house.  The strict design criteria allowed collaboration between Charlie and me. They allowed the design to take its lovely form.  Rules and constraints may have negative connotations for many people, but they play an essential role in the design (or any creative) process. In the words of the composer Igor Stravinsky,

 “The more constraints one imposes, the more one frees one’s self.”


All  images belong to Laura Kraft-Architect. Feel free to share any of these images, but please provide a link back to 2H Pencil.  Thanks.