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166 7th St
Brooklyn, NY 11215
USA

Bomb lamps, artillery tables, and armored credenzas - Stockpile Designs adds impact to your decor with a line of furniture and lighting using obsolete military equipment.

Blog

Stockpile Design's blog covers upcoming designs and prototypes, shows and events, and the design community of Brooklyn, NY. Designer Jake Wright shares his creative process, decorating advice, and anecdotes about starting a business and trying to deliver antique bombs across state lines.

Filtering by Category: New Designs

Bastion and Caisson

Jake Wright

Stockpile is adding two major pieces to our furniture collection: the Bastion low shelf and the Caisson micro bar. Working within the design language introduced by the Perimeter prototype, hand-blackened steel surrounds and supports solid oak panels, using reverse-mounted hardware to subtly join these sharply contrasting materials.

Despite its minimalist appearance, the Bastion is a heavyweight. A pair of sharply-angled steel frames border the front and back of the shelves, extending past the wood's edges to stand freely in space. The elegant, simple geometry can be configured to custom dimensions with only slight adjustments, and the novel construction allows the entire piece to ship in a box barely eight inches deep, while keeping assembly simple and straightforward.

With the Caisson, the Perimeter design language expands to case goods - in this case, a chic micro bar. Its bold, clean lines can complement the Bastion or function as a stand-alone piece. The lid swings open on concealed hinges and creates a sturdy counter for mixing drinks, its "handles" blending back into the body when shut.

The Bastion and Caisson will be available for sale early September, both made-to-order with a 4-6 week lead time. More Perimeter pieces are in development, including a refined version of the original coffee table prototype and a writing desk.

Spare No Effort: Using Reclaimed Bowling Alley Floor

Jake Wright

Recently a couple approached me with a commission request. They wanted a coffee table with hairpin legs, built for the limited dimensions of their Manhattan apartment. And though it wasn't mandatory, they really, really wanted something made with reclaimed wood.

I almost never use reclaimed wood. It's not that I don't care about the environment, but recycling wood is a lot more work than recycling bottles and cans. It involves pulling out ancient nails and screws, removing toxic old finishes, getting mystery rashes from dusty old beams. But no matter how much extra work was involved, I didn't want my mold allergies/laziness to keep my clients from their ideal design, so I set out looking for some ideal reclaimed hardwoods.

As luck would have it, my workshop is only a few blocks away from Build It Green!, a superstore for reclaimed building supplies. Nestled amongst the 1970s appliances and lopsided chandeliers were beautiful slabs of hard maple strips, taken from a demolished bowling alley. These, I could work with.

It turned out to be a bit more work than I expected; it turns out bowling alley floors are composed of about 40% nails. But the finished product was well worth the effort. Check out the gallery below to see how the project came together!

Print Series Preview

Jake Wright

While I spent the last several years designing and building furniture for Stockpile Designs, I actually started out as a visual artist. I'd always planned to supplement the designs with artwork, and am thrilled to show the first image from my print series created for Stockpile Designs, Nom de Guerre.

Nom de Guerre appropriates imagery from war-themed children's books and military publications, addressing the literal objectification of soldiers within popular discourse. As methods of combat become more mechanized and sophisticated, fighting forces are referenced by their specialized roles, as tools in a kit. Complexity is lost even in depictions of individual soldiers. They are portrayed as heroes or villains, excised from those entanglements of personality that fail to advance the accepted narrative of the larger conflict. Homme de Guerre demonstrates the absurdity of this binary thinking, presenting soldiers as absurdist constructs, unified with the machinery of war.

From the Sketchbook to the Living Room

Jake Wright

ironclad_cutout.jpg

Last week I delivered a large furniture commission, a steel-and-mahogany credenza, using my new design language called “Ironclad.” In Ironclad furniture, solid wood construction is sheathed and supported by sheet metal plating. Hardware is shared across multiple attachment points and components, simplifying assembly and improving durability.

I took photos documenting the design process, from the rough sketch and CAD renderings to the final construction. Check out the gallery below to see how the first Ironclad Credenza came together!

The Bomb Stands Alone

Jake Wright

megaton_floor.jpg

A couple months ago, I got a custom order request. The client wanted a Megaton lamp, as well as a Silo Table for it to stand on. I was conflicted. Don't get me wrong - I love getting requests and designing custom pieces. It's just that the Silo Table is discontinued, and for a very good reason: it's a huge pain-in-the-ass to make. The tabletop alone has something like 32 welds, not to mention the complexity of drilling evenly spaced holes along a brittle, antique oak shaft... plus, judging by the condition in which some were received, UPS transports the boxes by rolling them down flights of stairs.

So what if, instead of making a special table just for the lamp to stand on, I made the design into a floor lamp? I could use the entire bomb (instead of only the back fins) and support it from the same brackets that hold it in a bomber. My client liked the idea, and once the concept sketch was approved I got to work.

Even though it's the same bomb, it feels totally different from the table lamp. The minimalistic base suspends it just feet above the ground, as though freezing it in time right before it reaches its target. This gives it a delicate, even precarious appearance despite being significantly larger and heavier than the original Megaton. But before I add it to the store, it needs a name to go along with the design - "Megaton Floor Lamp" won't cut it for something I like this much.

First Shot - Blitz Lamp Repros

Jake Wright

Blitz Lamp Repro

The Blitz Lamp is far-and-away the most popular piece in the Stockpile Store. In a weird twist of fate, it's become a victim of its own success. I use a WWII practice bomb for the body of the lamp, but 70-year-old munitions aren't exactly falling from the sky (anymore). These aren't particularly rare, but it's getting harder to find a bunch of them in one place. My current suppliers are running low, and I've been on the hunt for a new stash.

So what do you do when you're almost out of bombs? You make more. (Note to NSA search engines - made you look!)

Over the last several months, I've been working with Hebert Foundry and Machine in NH on a top secret project: to make more bombs. Like the originals, these are sand-cast, for that awesome textured finish. And like the originals, these are made in the USA.

But why settle for a copy, when I had a chance to improve on the original design? The repros are cast from a zinc-aluminum alloy - brighter, shinier, eco-friendly and 100% rust-free. Their bases are flatter for added stability, and they're cast hollow to save resources. Finally, these new Blitzes will retail for less than half the price of the originals.

I'm teaming up with Uncommon Goods to offer these repros exclusively through their catalog and website, although I'll be able to link to their listing through the Stockpile Store. Until then, you can use my contact form for more info, or to reserve your part of the first production run.

Introducing the Brink

Jake Wright

P5090331_rt.jpg

The design language from the Perimeter coffee table prototype has found its way into a new product: the Brink end table. TIG-welded, hand-blackened steel sits flush with rift-sawn white oak for a table that is aggressively angular and strikingly minimal.

I worked hard to make something straightforward to produce and simple to assemble (the wood is attached to the frame with only three bolts). The simplicity requires a lot of precision and concentration during construction, but confers a degree of flexibility. The Brink will be available in custom heights, and I've even drafted a nested version.

End Table Prototype: Rough Assembly

Jake Wright

ra2-rt.jpg

A few weeks ago, I  posted  some CAD drawings of an end-table prototype, based on the Perimeter coffee table. But I hesitated to start constructing the first physical copy. The design felt a little too… basic. Too symmetrical. Too TIDY. So I grabbed my sketchbook and brainstormed some more imaginative iterations.

After a few pages of designs ranging from the wild to the wildly impractical, I settled on a two-legged, cantilevered design. I wanted to contrast the stark minimalism of a floating tabletop with the heavy-duty functionality of its materials. While it’s less stable than a four-legged design (lean on the corner of the wood, and you’re both going down) end tables aren’t usually subjected to the same weights and stresses as desks or coffee tables. Plus, I’m a hypocrite – always against trading function for form, until I like the way it looks.

End Table Prototype Renderings

Jake Wright

When I posted the “Perimeter” coffee table prototype, I hinted at future projects incorporating some of the same design elements. In particular, I wanted to develop more products with the same style of leg: steel frames flush with the tabletop, attached with hidden hardware to create a minimalistic, floating appearance. I used Rhino (a CAD program) to render the first, and I’m planning on having this prototype ready within the next week.

Unlike most of my designs to date, this end table doesn’t incorporate any specific military components. Instead, the military influence is revealed with clean, functional lines and minimalist construction. And as a bonus, the relative simplicity should translate to a lower price point than my other furniture pieces.

Perimeter Prototype: Complete

Jake Wright

The prototype of my new coffee table, the Perimeter, is finally complete! About a month ago I posted some details of the design process, but afterwards I got sidetracked by a very big, very exciting, and (for now) completely top-secret project. As thrilling as it’s been to work on that project, I was itching to get this new design out the door.

The table’s name comes from its unique, reverse-fastened leg frames. Originally I wanted to use a matte black powder coat over the steel, but I the more organic appearance of the black patina goes better with the oak tabletop. The ammo cans started out as a darker, less saturated green, but I had to repaint them to get rid of some surface rust.

I’m extremely happy with the final product.  Apart from adding a coffee table to my line, I’ll definitely incorporate this floating leg design into a future pieces. Between the oak and the steel it is surprisingly heavy, but I’ll dress that up as “substantial” in the product copy.

Coffee Table Prototype - Rough Assembly

Jake Wright

Rough Assembly 1

In the process of expanding the Stockpile product line, I make a lot of prototypes. Some are rickety failures initially unsuccessful, partially due to the difficulty of designing around pre-existing components. (And, perhaps, some overly-ambitious design elements on my part.) But every now and then, one comes together so well it feels like I've made it before. Every bolt falls in the right place, every angle comes out at 90°. Maybe I'm learning from my mistakes, or getting familiar with the materials. Whatever the reason, this coffee table was one of the smoothest projects I've ever designed. This is only the rough assembly, done to make sure the holes are in the right places and to make sure it won't collapse under its own weight. The wood isn't sanded or sealed, and most of the steel is unpainted. But this design is exciting for me, and not just because it's Stockpile's first coffee table. I took a cue from shared components in military design, and used one standard size of hardware. That way, this table can ship disassembled without forcing buyers through a fiendishly complicated set of instructions. Check out the gallery of steps in the prototyping process, with explanations of how the whole thing came together.

Glam Bam

Jake Wright

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The gold-plated bomblets are finally here! My plater, Epner Technology, did a beautiful job – a thick layer of 24k gold, punctuated by a hand-applied black nickel stripe. Originally we’d planned to do a matte black stripe, using a technique derived for optical components. This turned out to be too difficult to accomplish on this scale, but in my opinion the black nickel looks even better. I might even use it as a base coat to improve upon the gold-striped pendant I made earlier this year. Order one while they last!

Black Blitz

Jake Wright

Blitz - Black Prototype Closeup
Broken Iron Grate

The practice bombs I use in my Blitz lamps are cast iron. Something I didn't know about cast iron until I started using it, is it can shatter. Like pottery, except with fewer pieces.

A while ago, one of the practice bombs arrived with part of the fin snapped off. The missing piece wasn't in the box, and the rust along the broken edge told me this wasn't a recent occurrence. For all I knew, it could have happened when the Navy packed it up at the end of WWII. And it was conspicuous enough that I couldn't make it into a standard lamp and sell it. Not without a discount and disclaimer, anyway.

Instead, I used it to try some new finishes. There are dozens of patinas and treatments available for iron, from traditional blackening agents invented centuries ago, to unusual chemical blends that require electrical current or heat to apply. I found the perfect finish in the middle: Sculpt Nouveau's black magic, a traditional black patina made with a modern chemical formula. It brought a deep, rich black out of the iron, a color that reminded me of cannonballs and old ships with hand-forged nails.

While the burnished gunmetal finish of the original Blitz is clean and modern, the black version looks ancient and industrial and somehow more menacing. I've offered the prototype for sale (broken fin and all) (update:sold) and in 2013 I'll be offering Blitz lamps with both finishes.

Gold Bomblet Coming Soon

Jake Wright

lazy_dogs.jpg

A new version of the Bomblet pendant is coming in time for the holidays, plated in 24k gold! But that’s not all – thanks to the amazing folks at Epner Technology, I’ll be incorporating a unique design touch originally used for optical and weapons systems. Shown here are the original Vietnam-era “Lazy Dog” bombs, pre-glamification. Now imagine them in gold.

Awesome, right?

Stockpile at the Brooklyn Flea

Jake Wright

 photo courtesy Flickr user  Shawn Hoke  

photo courtesy Flickr user Shawn Hoke 

Stockpile is going to be at the Brooklyn Flea September 30 and October 28! It's on the Williamsburg waterfront between North 6th and North 7th streets - more details here. On the 30th I'll be sharing a booth with my 3rd Ward co-workers Chris Han, Solomon Siegel, and Alison Layton. I'll also be debuting my new bomblet jewelry and improved beacon lamps. (Never fear, non-New-Yorkers; everything will be appearing in the shop right afterwards.) Great design, panoramic views, and dozens of food carts - who can resist?

The Macintable

Jake Wright

A while ago, I found a Mac G5 case somebody had thrown out. It had the right dimensions and storage capacity to make a fantastic end table. This was before I started designing furniture, so I bolted on some mass-produced table legs and congratulated myself on my handiness. I didn’t give it another thought until I started packing for my move to Brooklyn. I pulled the Ikea legs off and threw them away, promising to make it into a proper table once I got settled.

Months later, the proper table is made. I’m glad I had some walnut lying around, because the color goes really well with the silver case. Working with the angles in the legs was challenging but really fun, and I’m going to try incorporating angled supports in future designs. And finally, I’m adding the Macintable to the Stockpile line. While a G5 is hardly military equipment, this piece emphasizes the philosophy of intelligent re-use.

Plus I really like it, and this IS a dictatorship.

The Cache Table

Jake Wright

Cache Table Close-Up

After a lengthy prototyping process, the new Cache table is finally in the store! This piece wraps an ammunition can in white oak to create a sleek end table with a tons of storage. Featuring the original paint and markings on the can, the Cache table is an aggressive, sharp choice for a bold interior.

Back in the Bunker

Jake Wright

bedframe_prototype.JPG

I recently said goodbye to my miserable, tiny, run-down apartment in the East Village. My new place is huge, sunny, and I'm woken every morning by the sweet song of rush-hour trains. Now I live much closer to my workshop, and have the storage space to work on large-scale projects.

Speaking of large-scale projects, my modular bed prototype is finished! The walnut looks fantastic, but I want to experiment with less expensive woods to keep the final price down. Hopefully, I'll have twin and full frames in the store by the end of summer!

Sneak Peek at a Sexy Twin

Jake Wright

bed_prototype_construction.JPG

I live in New York’s East Village, which is code for “I live in a $1700 closet.” My bedroom is about 90 square feet, and if I lean back at my desk I’ll usually hit the bedframe.

Like many single people in New York, I’ve got a full-sized bed. This is 14″ wider than a twin – still too small for two people to share comfortably, but wide enough to use substantially more floorspace. The only reason I bought a full was because a twin would have made me feel like a child.

This is understandable – most of the twin bedframes available in the US are specifically designed for kids and teens. So I’ve been working on a twin bedframe with adults in mind. Keeping with my military design ethos – modular components, durable materials, and an industrial aesthetic – I’m nearing completion on the prototype. The headboard, footboard, and legs are solid walnut, bolted to welded steel side-rails and supports. The headboard and footboard can be swapped to widen the bed – allowing you to upsize (or downsize) according to your space.

I’ll be posting photos of the finished prototype later this week. After sleeping on it (pun!) I may offer it for sale with a range of wood options.