Lab 31: Designer

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Every piece of the Temescal line, crafted by Maggie Burnham's Oakland-based Lab 31, is adorned with two unmistakable trademarks: a well-positioned lotus inlay in colored wood and a smooth edge or two interrupted by a curved protrusion that echos the size and shape of the lotus.

These details seem small and they can even be omitted if you're a purist, but we think they're intrinsic to the standout quality of Lab31's beautifully designed and constructed furniture.

Lab31's guiding spirit, Maggie Birmingham, has degrees in engineering (Stanford) and fine arts (California College of the Arts), a combination that shows in the precision of her craft, her subtle use of color, and her apppreciation for the minutest detail. She founded her company in 2004 in Oakland because of the city's "cloudless blue sky, ripening oranges, lemons, and pears," and the "rich red of the mole at our favorite nearby Oaxacan resaturant."

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With a repetoire ranging from mirrors to tables, the Temescal line is constructed from solid wood in any of three wood species (maple, quarter sawn white oak, and walnut), with four inlay colors available for each, so there are customization opportunities available to suit many palettes. The focus though is on the wood itself, and it is beautifully finished and left unstained. The colored inlays play counterpoint, highlighting the wood's natural color and grain.

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Lab31's Temescal benches are designed to be used alone or as polished but casual seating with the Temescal dining tables.

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Table 6 actually seats up to 8 and works with both benches and chairs. Its farmhouse simplicity makes it a good candidate for straight man opposite more elaborately designed or colored chairs.

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Only half of the lacey Temescal lotus is inlayed into the ledge of this deeply-inset wall mirror. The lotus is completed with a glance in the mirror.

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The Sticks coffee table, not part of the Temescal line, is a custom piece made from uniform pices of cherry.

Contact Lab 31 through info (at) lab31 (dot) com, or 415.505.1847 to commission custom work or a piece from the Temescal line.

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