[DesignApplause] It’s late afternoon and the crowd has thinned out a bit in the Design Miami pavilion where ten design galleries are set up. Having just arrived I am at the moment in the Barry Friedman gallery space. Barry knows I would like to talk to a designer and introduces me to Wendell Castle who walks into the space because he and Barry are going to dinner.
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[Wendell Castle ] I’m Wendell Castle and I’m here at Design Miami right in front of four pieces of mine, two what I think of as stools and two are huge rocking chairs. I’ve really been into rocking chairs last year, about a dozen in this series that all have these very long rockers, where often you don’t know where the ideas come from for things or references, but then sometimes you do.
In this case I do. They’re automobile references, references to speed, references to a bucket seat, and references to the type of camber that early sports cars had. Where the wheels aren’t being parallel and where the bottom of the wheels are being closer together than the top of the wheels. And I also like the fact that the color of the pieces, I’ve sort of taken the natural color of the wood away, and one of them is stained black and one is stained white, which to me are very pure colors.
The little stools are like walking stools. These pieces have names and I forget their names and I have to read the labels. I don’t remember names, but the little stools are a small edition so we’re going to make more of those. But the rockers are unique. And that’s what I’m involved in on a daily basis, making furniture as art.
[DA] Where did you grow up?
[WC] Rochester, New York. Actually just outside Rochester in a little village called Scottsville.
[DA] That’s were live now?
[WC] As a matter of fact, that’s where my studio is. Though we also live part-time in New York City. And my gallery, Barry Friedman, is in New York City.
[DA] Well, I love your work. These rockers are very playful. I did think of a vintage Talbot-Lago when I look at the rockers. The wood finish is remarkable.
[WC] Thank you.
[DA] That was all the time I had with Wendell but now I recognize his work. I am a bit late with posting this chat however I was prompted as Wendell is opening a show 4 November at the Carpenters Workshop Gallery in London. The name of the gallery certainly alludes to the craft of Wendell for sure. And as he mentions there are over a dozen rockers out there, I’ve inserted others that were not in Miami in this post.[ wendell castle collections ] [ 4 November | Carpenters Workshop Gallery | London ]