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Behind the Design: The Elm Concierge Desk image

Behind the Design: The Elm Concierge Desk

Category: Design, Interior

From the moment you step inside The Elm, your eyes will be drawn to the richness of the textural elements – the flecked terrazzo floor, the sculptural water fountain, the brass surround framing the concierge area, and the one-of-a-kind carved wood concierge desk. Created by designer and sculptor Casey Johnson, the concierge desk features large-scale geometric carvings and serves as a focal point for the lobby. 

We wanted to dive deeper behind the design in an interview with Casey. Read below to learn more about his inspiration, the process, and a bit more about his background!

Where do you find your inspiration for your work and specifically the piece you designed for The Elm?

“Inspiration for this piece was found from a combination of abstract drawing and rural and man-made landscapes. Exploring the surface of the wood with the idea of creating a topographical composition.” 

We’d love to learn more about the story behind the process; where did your source the wood, anything unexpected happened along the way, favorite part about this process and how long did the entire process take? 

This walnut is sourced locally here in North Carolina. The process involves hand choosing rough lumber, processing it so it’s smooth and glued up into large panels. I then sketch the composition loosely on to the panels and begin to carve. I loose track of time when I carve, but it is probably about a week for the rough carving and several more to get it to completion. My favorite part of the process is usually the drawing and the rough carving. Everything after that is where most of the tedious work is. It’s always exciting to rub oil on a piece once it’s sanded fully for finish.

Can you tell us a bit more about your background? What led you to woodworking? 

I studied Sculpture at Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore. There I began making things out of wood. I wasn’t really trained in woodworking however. It was a independent learning type of a thing. I started by breaking all the rules of traditional woodworking. Originally for me it wasn’t about the wood itself. It was the fact that I could both build with it and carve it away. It was always about form. Over the years following school I continued making sculpture that incorporated wood, until I began my first endeavor under the moniker Foxwood Co. I began making functional wooden objects for the home along with sculptural forms and vessels. Eventually that turned into furniture commissions. It came a point about two years ago where I dropped the brand of Foxwood Co. and started Casey Johnson Studio. Since the work has begun to feel more personal and an extension of myself, the change in names felt necessary. Now it is still all about form, breaking rules (learning some too), but now I have found a new respect for organic nature of wood. To be able to co-create along side nature is probably the most meaningful part of what I do.

We’re honored to have Casey’s work featured in our lobby, and can’t wait for you to see it!

Learn More about Casey