We’ve become accustomed to a world where furniture is always in our peripheral view, but the work of designer and woodworker Robby Cuthbert puts everyday furnishings at center stage.
Cuthbert crafted this ethos while in college. There, his interest in cross-country skiing and the way the body works eventually yielded a series of sculptures that examined the inner mechanics of human muscle. “[My art professor and I] ended up talking about how muscles work and how you might express that idea with a sculpture,” Cuthbert said.
“I ended up finding some steel cable laying around the studio and decided to try and wire a couple of pieces of curved wood together,” the designer said. “The idea was that the two pieces of wood, though never touching, would work to support each other through the counteracting forces provided by the cables.”
From this, Cuthbert developed the idea for tension furniture, which would be free from the traditional methods of adhesion. Instead, his designs rely solely on opposing forces of tension to achieve a surprising stability and sturdiness. The aesthetic and functional results are a fascinating juxtaposition of form and physics: