A symphony for the carpentry workshop

Presenting the Mama Ro
Furniture Workshop

Long before we came up with the idea of a furniture workshop and realized it, we had gained the unique experience in creating original furniture. This was what our days of work on the first Mama Ro studios looked like. Then, during the work, we could sometimes find a minute for brief notes about the process, and we were creating a sort of «furniture» diary. However, at the time of writing, these notes were never showed to anyone, and today, when first presenting our furniture workshop, we feel that it is the right time to share what made us happy and amazed when creating the original furniture, including the one for our original studios.

Volodya Nizovtsev’s
Article,

Co-founder
of the Mama Ro
project

Prologue

Wood Photo

August 5, 2014

On that busy day, we visited an incredible warehouse with all sorts of wood. We were dazzled, we wanted to leave with everything and spend the last of the money on the wooden slab-table tops: thick cedar and walnut cuts with a bizarre pattern that reminded one of an unprecedented map with Ornate riverbed or space images of desert sand dunes. Everything was so beautiful that the workshop guys recommendation on the veneer choice simply dumbfounded us: among the mixed magnificence of various types of wood with hard-to-pronounce names, the guys from the workshop recommended us to use for the tops of the table some grayish veneer, it was so unattractive that at first glance it could easily be confused with trash. We trusted these guys though, and decided on take his recommendation, as it seemed to us, adventurous. 15 minutes later we were trying to find a way to shove three-meter sheets of veneer into a car.

“Only a few days remain until the opening of the third Mama Ro. We are all excited and stressed, we still have so much to do, it’s hard to believe that we will soon be able to exhale, and the heap of our affairs will evaporate. Today we are working on the veneer * of our amazing hexagonal table for the new administration room.”

* – A thin layer of wood that is used in the joiner’s work to create large objects where the solid wood can’t be used due to their weight or strength.

“Driving all the way to the workshop, we couldn’t leave doubts about the choice of the material, and Kostya and the company were trying to convince themselves that the transformation of the ugly duckling into a beautiful swan would happen very soon. Having brought the veneer in the workshop, Kostya neglected dressing in his working clothes and jerked a piece of veneer over to the polishing machine…

It’s hard to say when exactly but at one of these moments of contemplating the beauty of the process, we came to the understanding that Mama Ro’s furniture workshop would happen! What remained was only the completion of the construction and then proceed to the incarnation.

A few seconds later, a gray tone left the surface of the veneer and a low contrast drawing began to appear. The next step was to cover it with a thin layer of varnish, which, according to Kostya, was supposed to dispel all our doubts about the choice of veneer. After mixing in a liquid varnish in a hurry, Kostya applied a thin layer with a brush, and the image of the veneer literally appeared: just like with photographic paper, exposed and immersed in a developer, up to this point an unattractive piece of wood showed a completely amazing pattern in which we saw a desert landscape and a sunset on the sea at the same time, where the sun was traced by a small twig on a dark horizon strip, and a dozen more metaphors…”

Chapter 1

Acquaintance
with Skill

May 12, 2014

Heroes

Kostya Semenov at the time was testing thermochromic paint * which the bar stand in the Bauhaus studio is covered with. We check whether the picture of ash from the touch of the palm is sufficiently good.

* – a magic paint that changes pigmentation due to temperature, in other words, temporarily becoming transparent.

The furniture for the Bauhaus studio must be as austere as possible, down to the smallest details, down to the corners and bevels: this way I originally formulated this quite literal technical task for Kostya Semenov, the talented master and artist who worked with me. He tried to convince me that if we don’t make a right-angled edge or corner on the edge of the tree, the furniture can turn out to be so banal it would be dangerous, but I insisted and the chamfer remained outside the framework of Kostya’s idea…

“Today I was awaited by an amazing surprise made by Kostya – meticulous realization of my wishes for processing a tree for a chess pair, and it was so meticulous that I regretted it!

Kostya met me in the workshop with a conspiratorial smile and immediately suggested checking that the faces of the chess pair were “sharp enough”. I, completely unsuspecting, dashing my index finger along the corner of one of the armchairs, immediately felt a strong pain, turned my finger and saw how several scarlet balls of blood quickly formed in the middle of the pillow. “What a bastard,” I thought to myself, and immediately corrected myself, remembering that I myself asked for sharp edges, completely unaware of what I was asking for, and Kostya with foam at the mouth was proving to me that the most minimal facet should be removed…

Thus, I realized that a very important aspect of a successful result is trust. It is important that a person can recommend solutions knowing that the main argument is his or her skill.

Pointing out my own injustice, Kostya demonstrated on the back of the second chair the very facet he was talking about. It turned out that visually it is exactly the same as the razor-sharp edge, but at the same time it is absolutely safe.”

May 18, 2014

“Furniture ensemble for the Bauhaus studio is almost complete. It remains only to grind, drill and screw some things up a little. Climbing the steep staircase of the workshop, I froze for a second: the work was already in full swing upstairs, and the bright sounds that had become familiar and, probably, even my favorite music, filled the entire space of the studio. Going up, more and more, I was getting tied up in an amazing symphony of the chisels, hammers and circulars…

I want to add to the record that in general everything that happens at Mama Ro is a pure magic for me. We do not get tired to be surprised by new things and try not to be stale, and all our way is is an attempt, and it must be admitted, a very successful one, to stay as long as possible in a free childhood.

At that moment, I caught myself in a thought that if I were a stranger and heard these sounds of “creation,” I would not be able to describe what this sound was exactly. All this was simultaneously like a battle scene from some fantastic space action movie , a roar of a Formula car whistling all hundreds of horsepower while turning, the whimper of unseen beasts or birds. But certainly all that was heard could not be characterized as the sounds of a carpentry workshop. When I entered the stuffy and dry (because of the tree dust) workshop space, I realized that such ambiguity and heterogeneity of sounds was only a small component of a great magic, the result of which would be “just” furniture.”

Bauhaus Series

Beauty in functionality

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Chapter 2

Natural Typography

March 1, 2014

Heroes

Valery Fedorovich at the time of work on the bar countertop, assembled from pine spits. Surface grinding.

“All of our studios are somehow connected with small but still travels. Today we have to go 60 km away from Moscow to get to the suburbs. Somewhere over there is an old dead pine is awaiting us. It’s a real relic and imprinted on its wood are amazing patterns that are made by the bark beetle.”

December 2013, the first trip to get the pines for the studio, Anton and Valery Fedorovich master practical nest building. Note from Anton: during the logging time, no godbird was harmed. The nest we found was abandoned.

By the time of this trip – our second – we had almost completed work on the creation of another furniture ensemble, this time for another original studio – the Pine studio. If the Bauhaus furniture was based on the strictness and clarity of the lines, then the Pine furniture came out in a completely opposite way: inspired by Anton’s love for the beauty of the pines, Valery Fedorovich, a jack of all trades, an artist, a geologist and just an interesting person, volunteered to help us recreate the nature’s creation in the pieces of furniture.

As a result, we were in an absolute euphoria from the furniture we got, so that we even decided to dare and release a small series of “log-bridges”, the original docking stations for tablets.

“We met at a bus stop with Valery Fedorovich and without any unnecessary conversations and preparations moved into the forest. Valery Fedorovich is a man of nature, he is perfectly oriented in the forest without maps and GPS, he simply feels where to go. Trusting his skill, we followed him on the heels. ”

“A crunch followed by a loud crackling and finally a loud clap – a dead tree has fallen. Hastily waving with a hatchet part of the branches, we began to open the bark to quickly find the long-awaited pattern of the beetle…

At that time, having completely cleared the trunk of the bark, we were once again convinced that the true beauty of nature is often hidden from a mere glance, and sometimes beyond an uncommon appearance.

…there was a feeling, whether from the silence of the deep forest or from the rapidly approaching evening and departing light together with it, that we were transported to some lost library, and we had the good fortune to look into an ancient manuscript. The bark-cover reluctantly opened what it concealed, but with a little diligence we were already reading secret letters in an unknown language…”

Pine Series

Eco-furniture, made of natural
lines and tree rings

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Chapter 3

Theatrical Scenery

September 14, 2015

Heroes

Farida and Alexander Putilin became the first customers of the Mama Ro furniture workshop and interior studio at the same time. We fulfilled our first design project for the spouses, and after a while we developed and realized a whole ensemble of original furniture that turned into an independent series.

“Several months of exciting work are coming. To invent and make original furniture that will absorb the best features of classicism and at the same time remain modern. This idea should become a real superstar of our first interior design!”

November 25, 2015

Here, I miss on purpose the long descriptions of the ideas, the working process of creating sketches and drawings. It is interesting though, but in detail to the point that in paragraphs about finding a suitable rosette for a table (decorative element) the main thing can easily be missed.

“The pig of the linden grows thin before our eyes, the shavings in the shavings revealing what was just a sketch a few days ago. The master cuts the last element of the decor for the facade of the table, and very little remains until we get to the main focus: when the variegated design of the table with all its rich decor will be covered with a dense foundation. And after this with a matte black enamel that will forever enclose the complex pattern of different types of wood…”

December 11, 2015

In the long run, this furniture ensemble came out even more interesting than we had planned: initially we simply wanted to make “star” furniture around which the interior would be built. And we produced a real performance, the action where the objects themselves are a performance, and all its components – fine carvings, dowels, dovetail joints, cuts, gluing, holes, primers, silver nails and thick paint – are all behind the scenes and of a size of which is almost endless. It’s a performance where even after it’s over the work continues, but which will remain forever hidden from a spectator…

“The black monolith-table is ready. Its shape just like the ancient temples carved into the rock attracts the eye, and the deep black color does not let the falling light immediately reveal all the complex decorative elements. A retinue of stools, chairs and tables with a trumeau is a perfect match.”

Neocolonial Series

The furniture made in the spirit of late
classicism designed for futuristic interiors

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Epilogue

“Instead of
an epilogue”

When inventing and making furniture in our workshop, we are slightly cunning, when we say that the most interesting thing goes to the customer. In fact, the most interesting things we leave to ourselves.

We are dreamers, we are creators, we are listeners, we are readers, we are an endless source of energy, a stream of innovative ideas. We are much more than just a furniture workshop. Mama Ro Furniture is not just a place where chairs and tables are assembled; this is the place where the most real magic is created, a place where the delight of what is heard or seen takes shape and materializes with the help of effort and talent.

In the Mama Ro Furniture any story can be told in the material… maybe yours as well?

Furniture Diary
of Volodya Nizovtsev

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