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Plank L.A. infuses art into hand-made furniture

Washington has a background in software development, which does have some creative and mathematical parallels to building hand-made furniture.

Home & Garden

View Park resident Kevin Washington recently launched his inaugural collection.

Kevin Washington creates indoor and outdoor furniture, and he works with local artists to infuse their designs into his pieces. Photos by Jason Lewis

 

By Tracy Edwards

When most people start to decorate a room, they envision where the furniture is going to be placed, and then they select the type of artwork that will go on their walls.  For View Park resident Kevin Washington, he prefers to combine the two.

“The thing about furniture is that you’re constantly sitting on it; you’re constantly touching it,” he said.  “It’s there in your space.  It’s not something that you’re looking up at the wall.  You’re looking at this table every time you look down and do something on it.  So the opportunity for it to impact you I think is bolder when the art is put into the furniture.  Because we interact with it in a functional way.  With art on the wall, we interact with it in an aesthetic way.  When you can take the aesthetic and bring it into the functional, it will have a much more richer impact on you.”

Washington created Plank L.A., which is a company that infuses art into hand-made furniture.  He works with local artists on the concepts of the pieces, and then he hand builds them in his shop.

“It’s kind of like a co-op in furniture making,” he said.  “I’ll get with a local artist or a furniture maker, and they may have some art that’s interesting, and I believe would make nice furniture.”

Many people take great pride in both their art pieces and furniture.

“The space that you come into really impacts your life,” Washington said.  “It sets your moods, relaxes you, and inspires you.  I think that furniture really impacts your space, just like the art that you hang on the wall.”

Washington wasn’t originally a furniture maker.  He grew up in Los Angeles, near Broadway Boulevard and Imperial Highway.  After attending Locke High School, he went on to graduate from USC.  He has worked as a software developer and IT executive for years.

After getting a few pieces of furniture made by Stan Smith of Things Done with Wood, Washington took an interest in learning how to build his own pieces.  Smith agreed to mentor him in 2013, and within a couple years, Washington started to become very good at the craft.

“Over about two or three years, I got better and better, and I started building nicer things,” he said.  “Then some of my friends and family told me that I was getting really good, and that I should go into business doing this.”

While it would seem like software development does not have much to do with creating furniture or art, there are some parallels.  Math is needed when Washington cuts the wood and builds the pieces.  He also points out that he was on the creative side of the IT industry.

“I needed an avenue to really let more of my creative impulses out, and that’s when i started doing the woodwork as a hobby,” he said.  “It was very therapeutic.  I’d go into my shop, I’d put on my music, and it was my place of refuge and peace.  It would give me a chance to do things with my hands.”  

When Washington sees a piece of art that he really likes, he thinks about how it can be converted into furniture.  After a few years of making furniture, he is now at the point of launching Plank L.A.’s inaugural collection.  

To view Washington’s work, visit www.plankla.com.

 

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