Our client wanted custom-built bookshelves for their home office, so this design had to fit their overall modern tastes, but also complement the large vintage desk in the center of the room. There was very little wall space, so the traditional vertical bookshelf was definitely out of the question. After reviewing all the possibilities, we decided this piece was going to have to be built to fit underneath either of two large windows on the east and west sides of the room, while still maintaining the desired book capacity.
After spending five months searching for the perfect media to work with, we finally found it in an old, classic relic: typesetter’s block. While many other artists have done large-scale mosaics using typesetter’s blocks, they are strictly 2-D. Keeping true with our design mantra, we decided to take it to a new level by making it 3-D.
To make the build possible, the left and right cubes that would be the focal point (both visually and structurally) had to be constructed with four panels. Just like siblings, each of the panels took on their own personality as we placed blocks, but still retained a slight bit of similarity. This personality also meant that some panels went very smoothly, while others fought us the entire way. To add a little fun to the unique personality of each mosaic, we worked-in many specific words (such as “family” and “Guyana”) that were meaningful to the family into the panels. After installing the piece, our client spent several hours exploring each side to see all the unique blocks, and to see where all the words were hiding!
The entire project took just over 16 months – mainly due to the labor-intensive steps of cleaning the blocks and building the mosaics. In the end, our client has a gorgeous one-of-a-kind bookshelf, and a great conversation starter that they can invite guests to “find all the words” on! Mission accomplished!