DerekChen is the founder of Council Design. A designer in his own right—by way of Engineering School and Silicon Valley—he is also the founder of Urbana Design, a company named after the Illinois city where he spent much of his childhood. Through Urbana Design, Chen produces sleek tabletop items and contemporary furniture.
Despite stints in engineering and management consulting, DerekChen has always maintained a passion for making things - dating back to those childhood Legos and time spent tinkering on projects with his dad. The collection includes beveled modular storage units and a reclaimed Douglas-fir coffee table coated in silver. Think about the palette for each room, and keep that in mind as you shop for furniture and decor. [...] it will save a lot of money - enough to start the bathroom remodel, too! Do whatever works for you: Put some rubber feet on the bottom of that crate and use it as an end table. Don't be …idated by the process: If you don't feel comfortable cutting wood, have the hardware store make the cuts for you.
DESIGN Secret chemical process helps transform salvaged lumber into artwork Council founder and Periodic Table designer DerekChen said a secret, water-based coating solution that tints the four blocks of wood silver is what transforms the table into art. The table, part of Council's inaugural collection launched at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair in New York in 2007, has a price tag of $42,000. Chen, who earned a degree in electrical engineering from University of Illinois in 2002, embraced his technical side with the table's next step. Like the rest of Council's product line, the Periodic Table is manufactured with materials harvested respectfully. The company aims to use recycled or renewable materials whenever possible and embraces powder coating finishes over paints with volatile organic compounds.
For almost a decade Dwell has printed countless examples of new furniture designs, but with a handful of exceptions, little has been offered—–to us or to you—–in the way of truly new ideas about what furniture could be or do. Digital technology and material innovation have pushed the forms and qualities of modern furniture into unexplored realms; however, the industry is still …ted by a staple diet of types: chairs, sofas, tables, and storage. Arguing against the creation of new chair designs would be like debating the need for new novels. That notwithstanding, we still wondered what furniture could be without imposing any constraints on the designer. To find out, we turned to hometown superheroes Council—–the San Francisco furniture-design company founded by DerekChen and winner of the 2009 ICFF Editors Award for furniture.