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No. 10: The bell of the beach

Winter 2023

A client of ours with a project in Hawaii mentioned her role as the long-time official family whistler to summon people in from the beach. (Yes, she demonstrated her impressive whistle right in our office.) Her humorous description suggested an unexpressed desire to have a beautiful way of letting everyone know it was time to gather. This inspired us to design a bell with a distinctive tone that can be rung to call family members and guests back to the house. We designed a bracket that both complements the architecture and allows the bell to be brought inside when the family is away.

Our antennae are always up for casual comments and personal anecdotes from clients about how they live. Our process of listening is the prelude to our process of designing. We listen with no preconceived ideas, without a checklist or formula.

We are delighted when ideas are sparked by listening—or even by overhearing. At the same project site in Hawaii, the electrician mentioned that a monkeypod tree nearby had fallen. As serendipity would have it, the electrician’s brother is a woodworker. We were able to get in touch with him (almost instantly!) and explain our interest in making a large tabletop. The tree was just tall enough to yield the perfect length for the lanai bar area, and the wood was finished like a beloved boat.

Wishing you a new year of felicitous listening in nature, in conversation, and in captivating entertainment —