It’s all a practice of exploration,” says Cade Hayes, architect, furniture designer and co-owner of Dust—a Tucson-based multidisciplinary studio that sees a melding of art and architecture in all built things. From the design of beautifully sculpted homes to the intricate metalwork, saddlery and weaving techniques that go into the creation of Hayes’ furniture pieces, the firm finds its ethos rooted in the bygone traditions of artisans, master builders and craftsmen of long ago. “I build furniture in pursuit of a return to the handcrafted days of the past,” Hayes says, “where pieces can be stripped down to their most simplified forms.” Indeed his work is a juxtaposition of these basic elements—raw, cold-rolled steel paired with soft tactile leather and natural materials—that determine the essential character of each piece, which only get better looking with age. “The weathering and patinas add a distinctive charm and leave a trace of those who have used it before,” Hayes says, “and, hopefully, through use, the marking of time will have taken place.”
LX: I became interested in product design when...
CH: I was in architecture school. One of my professors gave us an end-of-the-year exploration project: to design a lamp for $25 or less. The first piece I made was out of cholla cactus, an old tractor brake drum and a lightbulb. After that, I was hooked.
LX: I love what I do because...
CH: There is an intangible and poetic part of architecture and design that I am turned on by.
LX: Describe your home.
CH: It’s a 1916 brick bungalow in the historic Iron Horse neighborhood, built for the railroad. I have been remodeling it bit by bit, cleaning it up a little but not altering it too much.
LX: Design icons:
CH: Artists Eduardo Chillida, Robert Irwin and Donald Judd, designer Poul Kjærholm and architect Rudolph Schindler. They are all masters who have had such a great influence on art and architecture.
LX: Current projects:
CH: My business partner, Jesus Robles, and I just finished an amazing home in the Tucson Mountains and are about to start a small house project in the San Rafael Valley.