Granny was always proud of the fact that she was descended from the “Lady Bowes line” of English royalty.   She was certainly special enough to attract the eye of my North Carolinian grandfather, who came up to Canada to help establish the fledgling tobacco industry in Southern Ontario.  They married, set up a few farms, had two kids and lived a good life together.  Granny learned to cook southern fried chicken, collard greens, biscuits ‘n gravy, grits and the best blueberry pie ever, doing her part as the wife of a “Southern Gentleman” farmer.   The farm was always a magical place for us grandkids to visit on the weekends, in part because of the wonderful food smells that wafted from her modern kitchen.

My Grandfather was a “Southern gentleman” from North Carolina who brought his well-honed tobacco-growing skills to Canada at a time when the industry was just starting up.  There he met my grandmother, married and established several farms on the rich sandy soils of southern Ontario.  He always supported the church and went for Sunday drives around the countryside in his Cadillac.  He never seemed to get mad, loved squirrel-hunting in the local woods and fishing in the nearby reservoir.  Sometimes he took the whole family out to Long Point  on Lake Erie on the “Lazy ‘D’”, his small cabin cruiser which he was quite proud of.  He was a man who loved life, always getting up at the crack of dawn to “get that fresh air before someone else did.”

In 2006 it was time to complete Pod collection as the trio it had always meant to be.  Having participated in many art and design shows in Toronto and New York, I had the benefit of extensive feedback on the AeroPod and AstroPod to draw on.  Manhattan dwellers loved both models, but lacked the space in their small apartments for either.  One potential customer in particular was ready to commission a royal blue AeroPod for his cufflink collection, but later declined after measuring his available space and concluding it would be too tight to appreciate it properly.  The next pod creation had to be smaller and more compact.

It was about 12 years after making the first AeroPod that I thought about developing another signature piece.  All I knew was that it should be horizontally oriented and have legs of its own.  As such, it would inevitably become more “furniture-like” than the AeroPod, but in my mind it still had to be a unique piece of functional art. 

Why are classic cars so appealing?

My van is 21 years old and suits my need for transportation.  I don’t work on it myself, but do rely on a capable mechanic to keep it going.  My family daily driver is a Honda Civic, which also does it’s job perfectly.  Why then, if I am not a “car guy” with a passion for what I drive, do I draw such immense inspiration from classic cars of the past?  What is it about car forms that has driven me to emulate them in my work for the past 17 years?

Art and Design shows have been a great method of promoting AeroPods over the years. Reaction is always positive, especially when people experience the surprise of opening one. My guest book is filled with encouraging comments that confirm I’m on the right track, and I always look forward to meeting interested people and explaining how the personalized concept works. Inevitably, the engaged visitor asks: “How did you ever come up with that idea?”

Design is almost always initiated by a problem of some sort; the car designer needs to fit all the functional components into an attractive and aerodynamic shell that defines its brand and appeals to current buyers, or the architect needs to balance spatial, engineering and cultural concerns into a useful and original building that also fits within the client’s budget. As a furniture designer, my process always begins with the client explaining the problem, and it’s my job to find a functional and attractive solution to it.