akke woodworks, ltd. Friday 01 Jul 2011

The idea for Reverse Dowry can be traced back to Axel Yberg's first studio project in the Masters of Architecture program at Pratt Institute: an exploration of flock dynamics in pigeons.

He related the birds’ movements of repulsion and attraction, which they use to maintain the unity of the flock and create synchronized flight patterns, to tension and compression in physics and how an equilibrium of these forces balances a structure. While researching the study, the designer discovered the work of sculptor Kenneth Snelson, whose concept of Tensegrity, or "floating compression," inspired him to make furniture.

The opportunity arose with Reverse Dowry, the first piece as a gift for the designer's mother-in-law. Although he never sources rain forest species, he used reclaimed drop-offs  of Ipe from the construction of a neighbor's deck. As a substitute for Ipe, he preferred Black Locust – a locally prevalent species with equal durability and beautiful color and grain patterns. When designing Reverse Dowry, akke woodworks intention was to highlight the contrast between the bold, solid wooden legs and the delicate, almost invisible by comparison, aircraft cable.

It was important to keep the lines clean and let the beauty of the deceptively minimal design be the primary focus. A table needs a top, but he didn't want a horizontal surface to interfere with the diagonal lines of its support below. With that goal in mind, a piece of glass was placed on top of the base, supported by aluminum rods, so it appears to hover over a piece of sculpture.

Akke's pieces are functional, with the goal to incorporate art into everyday living. Reverse Dowry is a one-off piece, and it is the inspiration for a mass-production series, 780 by akke, which is currently in development.