Fireplace Grates with a Mission/Art Deco Influence

The Process

Fortunately, both openings are close to the same size. They’re not exactly level with each other, but they’re close enough. A few measurements and it’s off to Inkscape to come up with the dreaded initial concept.

I’ve spent most of my life engineering things. At the core, engineering is the art of defining a problem until a solution starts to emerge. Find the constraints, look for solutions that fit inside them and optimize. While it’s a creative/inventive process, it is vastly different from the artistic creative process, which is more about discarding constraints. The engineering solution to this problem is fairly simple: a hexagonal grid with sufficient depth and density to attenuate light coming in and not block air flow. simple, efficient, and not all that attractive. A solution that reflects the Art Deco / Mission hybrid style we’re looking for is another matter.

I’ve always been pretty good at identifying good design, good architecture, and more subjectively good art. That’s why photography has been a primary medium, find the interesting thing, find a way to compose a shot that communicates it, and then if the actual image fails at that, see if there’s a way to post process it so it does. In that way photography teaches us how to look at things.

What I’m less accomplished at is unconstrained creativity. This process of stripping constraints to a bare minimum and just doing something — keeping it if it feels right, discarding and doing something else if it doesn’t — is a process that I don’t access often enough. I know I want this thing to fit a general aesthetic; I know it has to allow for the free flow of air; and I know it has to fit the size of the opening. That’s all.

I decide to just go for it.


    Fantastic! I absolutely love love love Mission style.

      Thanks, Rawle! Another “couple of weeks” project that took a couple of years, but was worth it.

Comments are closed.