An Urban Camp for Boat Building
At the age of eighteen, when I was approaching the end of my apprenticeship as a cabinetmaker, I made my first self designed piece of furniture. The master cabinetmaker or the client determined the form of most of the furniture made in our shop, and I seldom liked it. I did not even like the wood we used for the best pieces: walnut. I chose light colored ash for my bed and cupboard, and I made them so they looked good on all sides, with the same wood and the same careful work back and front. I disregarded the usual practice of expanding less time and care on the back because no one ever sees it anyway. At long last I was able to round off the edges only slightly without being corrected, running the sandpaper swiftly and lightly over the edges to soften their sharpness without losing the elegance and fineness of the lines. I barely touched the corners where the three edges met. I fitted the door of the cupboard into the frame at the front with a maximum of precision so that it closed almost hermetically, with a gentle frictional resistance and a barely audible sound of escaping air.
It felt good working on this cupboard. Making the precisely fitting joints and exact shapes to form a whole, a complete object that corresponds to my inner vision, triggering in me a sense of intense concentration, and the finished piece of furniture added freshness to my environment.
Peter Zumthor, Thinking Architecture