Brian Thoreen

by Harvey Pine

This Table Has Balls Made of Brass and Steel
Brian Thoreen is a designer who creates furniture, objects, and installations that draw the spirit of the materials into the final work. After two years as the Lead Fabricator and Production Manager for the architecture firm Marmol Radziner + Associates, Thoreen studied Apparel Manufacturing, before becoming the Director of Homewares & Furniture at Thomas Wylde. In Los Angeles, Thoreen has worked closely with artist James Turrell, and the James Corcoran Gallery. He was recently announced as the interior designer for the new Downtown L.A. headquarters of the music streaming service House of Guvera.

Where do the respective influences of function and form manifest in your designs? Which comes first in your design philosophy, or do you take a more holistic approach?

I suppose function always comes first as I believe design has to be functional on some level. That being said, it is really the material and the process that determines the end result so sometimes the form will determine the function of a piece.

What’s the most important technical lesson anyone’s ever taught you? 

When TIG welding, don’t touch the electrode to the filler rod until you are grounded. Otherwise you will be in for a surprise.

Your furniture often seems to provoke the senses by using balance in ways that seems counter-intuitive—for example, having a three legged table—how cognizant are you of gravity and of our expectations of it?

I am very cognizant of gravity and balance in my work. They play a huge role in bringing out the magic and mystery. By introducing negative interventions, like removing one leg from a four-legged table, I create the need for a new solution to achieve balance.

Brian Thoreen designed the ideal piece of furniture for the city of CALIFUK:

The Reaching Tables are an invocation of the tale of two sibling cities. One known for it’s refined grey tones, and the other for it’s golden sunsets. With a desire for the culture of the other, they reach for one another. Crafted from singular materials: one brass, one steel, both convey their inherent timelessness.

“The Reaching Tables,” (2015). Brass and Steel. 81 x 24 x 30 inches. Courtesy the artist.