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The Truth in the Details: How we got to where we are now // Dan Grudek


As Gary Coates first told me in studio, we have to construct a set of rules for ourselves, and then we have to carefully decide when we are going to break them. Throughout the semester we have continually second guessed choices we have made, invalidating then reinstating has become the norm as we break our own rules. Now as the details are coming together rapidly in our last week, we look back on what we have learned and how we have gotten to this point which felt so far away only a semester ago.


Picking out the finishing touches to our pieces reminds us of all the decisions that have been made along the way. The importance of a specific choice and how it was reinforced to carry into the next one are now highlighted in the final cohesive design. In all decisions the design cohesiveness and functionality were considered. For instance, the lighting fixtures needed to have a specific look, engage the table in the desired way, and most importantly be functional to the user. The power outlets mounted to the tables needed to be aesthetically pleasing and provide the correct mount so that they would maintain functionality.


With every design choice, there was trial and error. There were multiple points where the connection details we wanted to use looked great on paper but were extremely difficult to install. The screen wall went through a slew of various connections. We tried hooks, screws, bolts, many different spacers, t nuts, weld nuts, in many configurations. When holes became offset by mere millimeters, misalignments became an installation issue. With the tools we had we made the best of it and made sure to continually check the accuracy not only twice but three times before moving on. The table tops were laminated in sections with the utmost care and a close watch of the optimum drying time before moving on to the next few rows.

With so much construction happening there was the opportunity to learn new methods as well as proper implementation of them. After a few lessons with Shaun, the Interior Architecture shop manager, Kyle and I had the challenge of using a spray gun to apply the paint to all of the pallets and eventually the pallet stacks that now are the home to drawers. The outside of the pallets were not difficult, but the interior edges became quite the challenge. I never thought at the beginning of the year that I would become so protective of how a pallet was handled or stacked.


While there are still details, choices, construction techniques that I wish we could go back and try one more time, the final product is something that I am proud to have been part of. All of the time questioning details, learning proper tooling, and how to use a spray gun, made for a wonderful mobile office that we are able to deliver to our client. It is an experience that I won’t soon forget, especially when I have the opportunity to go on site. Seeing the design shift to the build and become a final product has given me a whole new respect for the people that make our details come to life whether it be a piece of furniture or a large building.

Written by Dan Grudek

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