September 30, 2010

janisak designs

When I found out that Josh, an old classmate of mine from architecture school, started designing/building furniture on the side (he's a fulltime architect) I wasn't that surprised. He has always had an incredible sense of design and man was I jealous of his model making skills in school! The designs are 100% Josh, and except for getting some help with the steel fabrications, the woodwork, finishing and assembly are all completed by him. And he says that it all started because of a mistake:

Sara (Josh's girlfriend) asked me to put a glass top on some old metal legs she had from an old table. I had the glass made and when I got the glass top, I realized I screwed up the fastener hole spacing and had to buy a new piece of glass. Instead of throwing out the piece of glass that I screwed up, I designed and had metal legs built for the screwed up glass and found myself with a new coffee table. Shortly thereafter, one of the neighbors was throwing out all these beautiful old floor joists. I couldn't stand to see them go in the trash, so I took them. With my hunger to make more cool things out of steel, I coupled the two and started making the benches.

The table that started it all...


My favorite pieces are the benches that he's made. They have a rustic appeal but also feel modern and sophisticated. Using mostly reclaimed/salvaged materials, they have a sense of history that is lost in most furniture you find today. And the cool part - Josh was able to find the materials locally, right here in Philly:

I usually scrounge the material, walking around and looking for construction sites and people doing demo, climbing into dumpsters, that type of stuff. All the pallet wood came from the Italian market, a nice, close source. I only go for the solid red oak pallets though, the fir ones usually get so banged up and trashed by the time I get my hands on them. One guy had a stack of big old joists beside his house, he was chainsawing them up and using them for firewood. I stole one later that night because I couldn’t stand to see it burnt up like that. Hopefully he didn’t miss that piece of wood too bad, after all, I turned it into something. Now that people know that I’m into this type of stuff, the wood has been finding me. I like working with old material because they are pretty and sturdy. I always tell Sara, I don’t ever want to buy anything new, they just don’t build stuff the way they used to. We’ve seen it in our short generation, everything has turned plastic. It’s the same with timber, they just don’t grow stuff like this anymore. The long leaf pine forests of the South have been clear cut to dangerous levels. The old growth timbers are jewels. The best way to obtain such species of timber is through recycling, so when I get my hands on something like this, it feels special.

This bench is made entirely out of pallet wood - pretty amazing huh? Who knew pallets could be turned into something so nice?



I really love these two pieces. The metal complements the wood but isn't too fussy that it detracts from it. The beauty of the wood is really able to come across.


Impressive, right? I've actually been lucky enough to collaborate with Josh on a few pieces for a salon I'm working on - hopefully I can share those with you soon. If you have any interest in having a custom piece of furniture made for you or are interested in purchasing any of the pieces shown above - you can either email me or contact Josh directly at or 215.923.1115..

images: eric heidel

1 comment:

Deepti said...

I absolutely love these benches...stunning!