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Trick Of The Trade

Teaming up with Thomas Hucker, LUMBERmart released their Backley x Thomas Hucker collection. The Peak sits with the renowned woodworker in Kuala Lumpur for a deeper understanding of his craft and charisma.

Swaroopini Udhaya Nair

What is the inspiration behind the limited series that you are currently working on with Charles Lee?

Well, Charles and I were in touch with each other before I came over and we were sending photographs and drawings to each other. It was kind of a mutual selection of certain pieces that have been done before that he liked, although, the side table is a new piece, it was designed for this collection here. There were a few adjustments made on improvement as well as with using the timber selection here at Lumber Mart.

We were also looking for pieces that had gotten a response within the United States, the chairs are in a collection in a museum right outside Boston and the sideboards have always been one of my favourite pieces. In furniture, there are basically three groups so there are tables, seatings and what I would call casework, or cabinetry, so I wanted to have one piece representing each of those categories. I didn’t want to come in with three chairs or three tables, I wanted to have that diversity represented.

With such an illustrious career, were there any particular moment that stood out for you?

There have been some wonderful artists that I have been able to meet in my life, those were important. I spent a day with Isamu Noguchi in New York back around 1978 or ‘79, I mean he was a great sculptor. I deeply respected the teacher I studied with in Boston, the first travel to Japan back in the 1980s was very important, being able to live in Italy for a year in 1990 was very important as well. And then I would say there are just certain moments in the studio that are important. A certain piece that you really like that came out better than expected, those kind of moments are critically important.

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August 2019