Refinement. Information. Meaning.
To Pete Raho, that's what his craft is all about. (Okay, that and transforming often personally sourced raw lumber into highly functional, visually compelling home wares, too.)
It's an approach that makes perfect sense for an art history major, especially one who spent eight years working at a major auction house before switching gears to try something new.
Why furniture making?
"It was time for a change, and I've always loved woodworking", Pete told us over pie & coffee at Gowanus favorite Four & Twenty Blackbirds.
"It seemed like a good idea at the time."
"The persistence pays off", he says with a hint of a smile.
"I've been in and around New York City for over the last fifteen years or so and have no plans on leaving, but Future Pete someday needs some sort of house surrounded by trees to go to on the weekends where it actually gets dark at night."
Flashlights over lasers.
A native of upstate New York, Pete’s childhood was one of winding roads, no street lights, few sidewalks, and infinite time exploring the surrounding woods as an Eagle Scout. To this day, the self-described "more flashlight than laser” city dweller still considers the woods his natural habitat.
As for his construction process, Pete tackles new designs in two ways. First, as a problem solver, with a focus on small urban abodes.
"We shouldn't live with disposable furniture", he declares. "We should live with well-designed, locally-made products that will last through successive moves to new homes.
Second, as an unapologetic thinker.
To Pete, the use of wood contrast to visually represent abstract ideas such as Morse Code and the Fibonacci Sequence elevates his cutting boards into "more than just something to help cut an onion." (And cheers go up in Firecrackerville.)
In a way, Pete considers his ethic analogous to his passion for film-based photography. "Constraints breed creativity. Designing completely within a software environment isn't where my head is at", he says. "I want to touch stuff and solve problems that come from dealing only with the tools at hand."
Pete finishes off a last bite of pie, then adds: "Smart cutting boards are the start, but there's a lot more coming down the pike."
To that, all we can say is: Can't wait.