Interview - with David Russel of D.R. Bonsai Tables
Introducing the ‘MASTERCLASS SERIES’
It is truly a pleasure to see such an intricately designed and refined piece of furniture made in Europe.
Can you tell us more please about the idea behind the Masterclass Series?
After some years of wanting to create more intensive and detailed tables, but never having the time, a client asked me to look out for a best match table for his high level tree. This immediately reignited my aspiration and soon I agreed to making this special table, even if it will take a long time to build.
I have always taken inspiration for my tables from museums, antique tables, and the Gafu-ten exhibition in Japan. I read in the book of 'Edoardo Rossi' (Kazari) that there were masterclass tables in Japan, the photos of which were collated in a book , entitled ‘The book of tables’. This led me to the Idea of offering my clients such a limited series of intricate ‘masterclass tables.’
I will aim to make one a year. The amount of work is very intensive and a table like this takes a lot of time to design and create. It is hard to know how many I will be able to make as each one will be unique. I will not repeat the same design twice. I cannot spend all my time on one table like this, so I will need to work on it between other commissions.
The wood on the first model is a variant of Sipo wood from old stock I had the chance to buy, most of my money goes into buying rare wood for future projects.
I'm now making a second model using Ovangkol wood, which is more often used in musical instruments construction, such as for guitars etc.
I would like to use some Zelkova wood but we have none in Europe that I could find so far.
In most cases I like to use exotic wood because of the beautiful grain. The last table that I build for my own collection was from Imbuia wood. I imagine I'm the only one in Belgium with a small amount of this wood as the tree is now protected and export not allowed. Beside this, the wood is very expensive and it would make the total price of work and materials too high I guess.
The finish takes many hours of applying layers of oils etc. It also takes a lot of work to meticulously sand all the small details before you can start with the finish. All in all it is the kind of work you need 100% focus for - so it cannot be done in one go, and must be left to rest from time to time.
Yes, I think so. Every detail is carefully attended to. The transport case for example, will have a second fabric protection with the DR logo so you will notice directly when the box is opening that a masterclass table is inside.
In japan these tables are stocked in a special room separately of other tables because of their value and as a sign of respect.
I'm now busy on a new one, which I completely designed myself so I'm almost sure there will not be another like this in the world which for me makes even more interesting .
Articles are written by Alex Rudd unless otherwise stated.