Thomas is a “creative genius”, with the skills of a “designer, architect, woodworker, artist, mechanical engineer, and electrician”. Who could imagine one person could create this furniture? The furniture looks incredible, fits my aesthetic and is unusual enough to be interesting, but not odd enough to be weird. My visitors response to his furniture is mostly awe and disbelief.”
What Thomas Schlack does with wood is alchemy. In his workshop of one, he transforms the rarest and finest woods and other materials into unique pieces of furniture whose design not only complements their function but also artistically transcends it.
In an era of mass manufacture of forgettable furniture, Schlack is heir to a venerable line of artisans, most recently those of the Art Nouveau and Art Deco movements. From the former he inherits his affinity for curved lines rather than straight and an aversion to right angles, and from the latter his passion for symmetry and simplicity of form executed in stunningly eclectic raw materials. However, these early modern movements are not so much influences as points of reference for a unique style of incomparable contemporary design.
Schlack’s affinity for curved lines expresses itself not only in the overall forms of pieces but also in their component parts. For legs he prefers the absolute simplicity of the saber rather than the more articulated cabriole leg. His love of curves extends even to hidden detail. Bins and drawers open to surprise with their intricate custom joinery of contrasting woods resembling not dovetails but teardrops. Where feet are needed, the simple bun foot suffices, which can support or morph into a pedestal.
The sculptural quality of his pieces Schlack creates by bending the wood, preserving the flow of its grain through the object like painterly brushstrokes. This respect for the innate character of materials extends to the absence of stain in favor of a natural finish permitting colors and grains to heighten the eye’s engagement with the sensuosity of design. His desire to showcase these inherent qualities explains his palette of exotic woods, often three, the runic number enabling a piece to cast its spell.
Interior design is the logical next step from the furniture and the custom technology some of it incorporates, and Schlack has recently created an Artisan Kitchen. Separated from the adjoining dining room by a counter and chairs, the U-shaped kitchen balances on its three walls a stove with hood, a sink, and a refrigerator and microwave oven. All in stainless steel, these appliances are embraced by exquisite cabinetry and open shelving on the upper middle wall to create airiness enhanced by the accent lighting of a cool but rich color palette.
The efficient use of surrounding workspace renders a center island redundant, which would have cramped the space and cluttered the aesthetics of a countertop that segues seamlessly from preparation to dining. The kitchen reiterates environmentally the perfect marriage of form and function of the furniture.
A retired partner in an investment banking firm, Joseph Longino early taught literature in college and now teaches appreciation of the verbal, visual, and performing arts for the Lifetime Learning Institute of Austin. He holds a PhD in literature and has served as a trustee and exhibition curator for an art museum, and is a published poet and art critic.
“The unique design and beauty of Thomas’s work become the focal point of any room it inhabits. I scarcely have a guest that doesn’t comment on the pieces of his furniture that adorn my home. “
“The craftsmanship and detail in Schlack’s designs transcend furniture and becomes art”
Oh my God!— everyone who comes into the house calls the table “a work of art”!
Bob and I love it !!
Problem is it’s like a child to me and is treated with much care— I will need to have another piece done since it’s not good to have an only child.
I keep thinking of ideas but haven’t settled on anything just yet.
I miss your monthly progress updates. Everyone I share them with is just amazed with the level of craftmanship and detail!
Hope all is well and thank you again for capturing moms’ spirit in this piece.