Furniture Designer & Maker, Joe Cauvel’s pieces included in Small Pleasures at Nodus Living Gallery include a coat rack, a combination coffee table / bench, small planters, and a wall rack. Each of these pieces displays Joe’s concerns for material integrity and a concern for fine craftsmanship.
Nodus Living spoke with Cauvel from his suspiciously clean studio and shop in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Over the course of our talk, the reasons for his neat & tidy environment became clearer.
nodusLiving: Describe your creative practice in 25 words or less.
Joe Cauvel: Design. Welding. Woodwork. Fabrication. Hard Work. Unique creativity. Constantly explore applications. Never stop learning. Always be open-minded. Learn from mistakes. Celebrate victories. Never Settle. Is that 25?
nL: Right before you asked, yes! Nicely done. Tell us a bit about your background.
JC: I've worn various hats over the years: everything from making skateboards full-time fresh out of school at age 17, to phlebotomy in a trauma hospital ER, CNC machining, painting, and grip/electrical for TV & film. All along the way, I’ve been gathering knowledge and skills like a sponge. One way or another I feel these past experiences are part of what makes my work what it is today.
nL: Was there a specific moment when you first knew that you wanted to become an artist/designer?
JC: I guess it's always been in me. My dad's side of the family tree is made up of generations of carpenters and hands-on types. I learned so much from just growing up around making. I have that upbringing primarily to thank for my craftsmanship and work ethic.
nL: What kind of creative patterns, routines or rituals do you have?
JC: I’ve always had the tendency to keep a clean space. Not only because if I leave things a mess I’m only inconveniencing myself, but also because It allows me to keep track of where I’m at on different projects. Time spent cleaning up is good for my mind to clear old thoughts or generate new ones.
nL: Why do you design/create the way you do? What are you responding to in the world?
JC: My designs are useful, first and foremost, and I pride myself on that fact. I see furniture as interactive interior architecture for our everyday lives. The first rule in furniture is that it must serve its intended function. Beyond that, I believe our furniture should inspire us at every turn. Lastly, it should be built in such a way as to serve not only a current need, but to continue meeting that need into the future as a way to represent our own sense of design and craftsmanship to future generations.
nL: Isn’t the first rule of furniture that you don’t talk about furniture (laughs)? What is in your pocket right now?
JC: Phone, wallet, keys, wood & metal shavings, reciepts from a coffee shop for...(un-crinkles receipt)...iced coffee. It’s been a hot summer
nL: Yes, it has. Thanks so much for taking the time today with us, Joe. Much appreciated.
Craftsmanship and work ethic were values metalworker Joe Cauvel learned by example growing up. A family heritage of skilled tradesmen combined with his own work experience in a variety of disciplines shaped him into the maker he is today.
From his life’s relationships and experiences, Joe has gathered skills and knowledge in his head and in his hands. He now applies them creatively producing out of his studio CAUV Design in Red Hook, Brooklyn and sees designing and making as ways of consistently testing, improving and expressing himself.
See below for other pieces available from CAUV Design.