Stephen Kenn - Truck Furniture
In May of 2014 Stephen Kenn visited Truck Furniture in Osaka, Japan. A longtime fan of the furniture crafted at Truck, Stephen was thrilled to find that owner and designer Tokuhiko Kise was onsite at the time of his visit. Tok toured Stephen around the site and they spent several hours discussing design, art, architecture, and travel.
During the course of their conversation they discovered an unusual kinship and likeminded design philosophy. They both believe strongly in using materials that will improve with age and use, and designing pieces that are unique, but feel comfortable and familiar.
They also discovered a mutual love of vintage motorcycles and found objects that carry a story and personal meaning with them.
Tok showed Stephen his garage filled with vintage motorcycles, antique tools, leather bags, and old denim work aprons. Stephen shared his story of discovering beautiful old military objects and materials at a warehouse in East Los Angeles, and the design path that this discovery took him on.
After parting ways, they kept in touch over the intervening summer months.
In August of 2014 Stephen was commissioned to make a few sofas for the new Deus ex Machina store that was soon to be opening in Tokyo. He suggested to the Deus team a joint effort between himself and Truck Furniture and they loved the idea. Stephen then called Tok, and he agreed to join the project.
After discussing material and design options, they decided to make two of the Truck Furniture Boomerang chairs in Stephen’s vintage military material, and three Stephen Kenn Inheritance Collection sofas using signature Truck materials. The addition of tufted cushions would be a reference to Truck design on the Stephen Kenn pieces.
Tok shipped his signature “dirt” suede leather and custom made corduroy to the Stephen Kenn studio in Los Angeles, and Stephen shipped vintage U.S. military material to Tok at Truck Furniture in Japan.
Tok came to Los Angeles in October to see the making of the sofas. He brought two finished Boomerang chairs and ottomans with him on the plane.
Together Tok and Stephen oversaw the creation of the three Stephen Kenn Inheritance Collection sofas in the Truck Furniture materials: one in the soft brown “dirt” suede leather and two in the wide wale olive corduroy.
The Deus ex Machina shop in Venice, CA loaned two vintage Triumph motorcycles to Tok and Stephen so they could do some riding on the California coast and then visit some of places that Stephen works in East Los Angeles.
This project was a reminder to both Stephen and Tok that design is about more than making things, it’s also about whom you get to meet and learn from along the way.
The Stephen Kenn I Truck Furniture collaboration pieces will be on view in the Deus ex Machina Tokyo shop beginning December 5, 2014. The pieces will also be available at stephenkenn.com
Sofa – 104in x 36in x 30in, seat depth 23.5in / 264cm x 92cm x 76cm
Chair – 23.5in x 32in x 30in, seat depth 19in / 60cm x 80cm x 76cm, seat depth 60cm
Ottoman – 23.5 in x 15.5in x 15in / 60cm x 39cm x 38cm