True Blue: Corbin Clay

True Blue: Corbin Clay

“Our core design language is to make things as simply and as beautifully as possible,” explains Corbin Clay, founder of the Azure Furniture Company. The company’s name was inspired by the blue striations that can be found in the beetle kill pine that Clay uses to construct his furniture collection. “I thought it was absurd to buy wood that had been institutionally grown, cut down and milled when there were so many dead trees out there,” he explains. Clay began woodworking in 2003, and in 2009, opened his Aurora workshop, where he lets his material of choice take the lead in the contemporary pieces he and his team craft. “It completely dictates the entire aesthetic and process,” Clay notes of the pine’s unique properties. Its distinctive grain, for example, led to the understated forms that mark his pieces, all of which are made by hand, often with traditional mortise-and-tenon joinery. “You start on Monday with a hunk of wood, and by Friday, you can have a dining room table,” he says. “After 10 years, I still get a little tingle up my spine.”

LX: I love what I do because...

CC: I’m able to participate in a solution for all of those dead trees.

LX: Design icons:

CC: Mies van der Rohe and Ruhlmann. They gave very little consideration to how things would actually have to be built, but designed what they wanted to design.

LX: Greatest influence:

CC: I like the Shaker design philosophy: “If it is not useful or necessary, free yourself from imagining that you need to make it.”

LX: Design period you find most engaging:

CC: Federal. Nowadays, we’re completely spoiled with our machines and technology. Not only did people make incredibly intricate furniture back then, but they did so without the advanced shops of today.

LX: Personal style:

CC: The Realist. As a business owner, I’ve found it very important to be honest with myself even when it is difficult or inconvenient to do so.

LX: Greatest indulgence:

CC: Osteria Marco in Denver.;



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