They turned out to be the work of David Pierce of OHIO Design. Pierce is a Bay Area furniture maker with a streamlined style that evokes the organic modernism and fine craftsmanship of George Nakashima.
Flash forward to Fall '07. OHIO's moved to a space in the Mission, and Pierce is seeing customers on an appointment basis only. Not only is he prepping a 6,000-square foot retail showroom (scheduled to open this fall), he's working on an exciting project that's going to rock the hospitality world -- but that we can't tell you about yet.
The new store will stock the entire line, including plywood pieces wittily embellished with photographic images. These pieces use OHIO's proprietary "PrintFurniture" process to make some poetic and tongue-in-cheek statements about their provenance. Some are branded with images of their source trees (complete with taxonomic descriptions), others with hyper-scaled termites. (Custom furniture-tattooing is possible, but Pierce encourages customers to work "through the OHIO filter.") The printed line was a big hit at ICFF in 2005.
Stay tuned to AT:SF for news of the big opening, and the big project. In the meantime, Pierce's furniture can be viewed online and ordered by phone or e-mail. He'll also be at Dwell on Design this coming weekend.
(Edited from a post originally published 05.02.06)