Art + Engineering

Tom West's Stairs -- Standish, Maine

Tom West's Stairs -- Standish, Maine

*Home still under construction

Commissioned by: Tom West

Designed by: Tom West and Nick Fournier

Fabricated by: Nick Fournier and Limerick Machine Co.

When I left Hawaii I wanted to learn how to use industrial robots (CNC machines) to help me create works of art. I found that education in Boston at an artist collective called the Artisan's Asylum. Through that group of artists I got invited to the Burning Man Art Festival where I met Tom West. Tom was building himself a custom home and was designing a spiral staircase. When I showed him my last staircase in Hawaii he said, "Whoa! You're the guy who's gonna build my staircase!". So a few months later we made it happen. He had the overall geometry established and the general methodologies for constructing it, then we worked together to refine the design and add a lot more curves. Our aesthetic tastes and skillsets complimented each other nicely. Luckily he happened to be an engineer and own a machine shop with CNC machines that we used to fabricate the parts.  

It was very serendipitous that we would cross paths.  I love creating large scale architectural sculptures and had recently added CNC machining to my list of skillsets.  Before I met him he was planning on building a large scale architectural sculpture with the use of his CNC machines.  He was the exact client I needed and I was the exact craftsman he needed and yet we weren't even looking for each other, it just happened.  This project was so great to me because it because it combined three of my loves: CAD, robots, and hand sculpting to produce a one of a kind functional sculpture.