Black Iron Gas Pipe - clothing racks etc.

I know... black iron gas pipes have infiltrated all things 'industrial', but there's a very good reason. This material is easily accessible, easy to use, has a great aesthetic, and best of all you don't have to be an arc welder to throw together a quick table frame for your projects.. I've seen a lot of really over done wardrobe units with superfluous arms for various uses, but personally I always like to air on the side of simplicity. Below are some of the ways I personally like to use gas pipe.

The only downside to this material is cost, it's not the cheapest thing to use, even a small project like the larger dolly above has a high material cost. Extra piping and embellishments can drive up this cost and translate as steam punk; which for me is just another reason to keep the design simple.

A super simple, two tiered black iron clothing dolly, holds a ton and moves around easily on sturdy castor wheels.

dissembled two tiered clothing dolly ; black iron gas pipe, cut to length, reemed, and assorted fittings. 

semi assembled two tiered clothing dolly; black iron gas pipe, cut/reamed, and fittings

Black Iron Gas Pipe Table Frame and Table Top

New Backpack.01

This last Friday I spent my night making my first backpack and I'm really happy with how it turned out. The styling of the bag is meant to be minimal, while having enough storage room to keep it functional. The bag strap is centered around the back of the neck creating the appearance of a holster from front view, and a satchel when viewed from behind.

This bag is made from a cruelty free pleather, with a beautiful faux velvet pony hide interior. It features a wide 17" upper zip, well within the range of most laptops and books.

Furniture Collab w. Local Designer Pablo Muñoz

I recently had the pleasure of doing a collaborative piece of furniture with designer and friend, Pablo Munoz. We joined forces earlier this summer and have so far made one piece together; a simple minimalist coffee table. See more of Pablo's work [HERE].

above: table collaboration w. designer Pablo Munoz (metalwork), and myself (tabletop)

Pablo and I definitely share some design perspectives, which made working together very easy. We collaborated on the frame and table top designs, providing criticism and eventually moving forward with what we thought was the best design. I think we were both aiming to create something clean and minimal. The geometry provides some movement while it's relative-simple construction speak to the minimalism of the design over all.

above: Constantine Tohme + minimal coffee table collaboration w. Pablo Muñoz

We do plan on continuing our work together, initially we thought of doing an entire series following the theme we found in this tables design. I am very interested in seeing a continuation of this series in the form of long backed throne chairs and potentially a smaller side table. Stay tuned :)

Photography w. Sierra Nallo

I've been so lucky over the years to have met so many talented artists. One such artist, photographer, and dear friend Sierra Nallo stands apart. Especially with regards to my portfolio, as the majority of product shots were done with her discerning eye. We have known each other almost as long as I've been back in Toronto and designing. I've come to greatly appreciate her ability to curate, style and shoot. She has a distinct perspective, which shines through even in 'plain project shots'. If you haven't seen her amazing body of work, please check it out [HERE].

I've included a fun and collaborative shoot we did together, making use of projected images, found object and just the play of hard projected lines.

constantine tohme (photo: sierra nallo)

constantine tohme (photo: sierra nallo)

constantine tohme (photo: sierra nallo)

constantine tohme (photo: sierra nallo)

constantine tohme (photo: sierra nallo)

How I started Woodworking

My first projects were a parquet table and a pallet platform bed. I did it all with extremely limited tools in my backyard of the time. I loved the result and have been doing this since, slowly getting better at this whole wood work thing, learning lots along the way, and best of all having greater autonomy over my space. Since then I've apprenticed, made custom pieces, collaborated with designers and friends, consulted on interiors, and created my own studio.

above: view of table when I first moved into XIV space, i removed the bottom part of the frame to bring it to coffee table height (18").

It all started about five years ago when I returned to Toronto from Greece. I rented a space to myself for the first time. It was a really tine 350~sq ft bachelor, but a good location, and all mine. The first apartment I would have had to myself since conception.

I knew right away that I didn't want any cold, sterile, big-box-type furniture in my place. Don't get me wrong, I think current manufacturing is incredibly ingenuitive and helps foster accessibility. However, I think it just lacks any relation to a human narrative or story in the supply and manufacturing chain, which bothers me. Not to mention, that as a rule they are generally inferior quality, and are novel or have a cookie-cutter design aesthetic. I like to feel connected to the things i keep in my space, that just seems inherent to me.

above: view of pallet bedframe in XIV space, chalk drawing depicting san jiao meridian flow (traditional chinese medicine)

Then the waiting... like I mentioned, I spend a lot of time figuring out how to come at all this design stuff, but lacked the gaul initially to start. I remember distinctly my mom chastising me for only having a small table and a bed on the floor for the longest time. I just knew that eventually I would get my feet wet and make it all happen, it just took a couple months.... but I did it!

I would describe the design aesthetic as raw industrial minimalist. The platform bed reflects this, it's raised off the ground allowing more view of the floor space, it's form an empty frame, all helping create the appearance of 'less' - and keeps things looking more minimal; it's construction of raw pallets and heavy locking castor wheels add to it's raw industrial aesthetic.

The tabletop was inspired by parquet, in particular the use of herringbone and chevron. Adding to the dialogue of woodworkers who have used this method, but in a realm outside it's conventional use in flooring, and into a table surface. I chose a variety of woods for this first table, offering many unique patinas and colorations - some were even blotted in paints. I did this to create more contrast vs having a single tone.

above: in my old apartments back yard; herringbone table in progress.

above: completed parquet herringbone table, made entirely of pallet wood and gas pipe frame.

My love of traditional modalities, utilitarian lifestyle, industrial design, chinese medicine, classical theology, and raw minimalism are also palpable in my aesthetic. I'm working on a short photo series to speak a little to this - stay tuned.

Toronto Star | Interview + Interior Showcase

Extremely humbled to have been chosen by the Toronto Star for a feature. I was contacted about a month ago regarding the space I've created and the work I do. Check out the article [HERE]. I've included some of the images shot during the interview below; more can be viewed on Getty Images. Thanks for the support everyone! means a lot to me.

Parquet Table's

I've always loved parquet flooring since I was a child. For me it speaks to an lush a luxurious type of flooring, one that you can gleam involves a lot of time and craftsmanship. I began in 2012 with my first Parquet Table top, and have loved the effect, the possibilities are as endless as the patterns you can imagine, and can help draw the eye or create visual points of tension.

I named this table after M.C. Eschers 'relativity' for it's converging and diverging angles, much like the famous lithographic print.

Classic flooring pattern meets table top. Here's my herringbone bar table.

Wooden Business Cards + Sanga

I have a 'problem'. I sometimes wait, and wait, and wait for that right moment, inspiration or feeling when approaching a project. It's been this way from the beginning, whether it's life choices, simple decisions, or in this case finding the perfect – and 'me' - business card.

Naturally for a material I gravitated to wood, which holds dual importance in my life not only as a medium but as a means. I’ve been woodworking now for 5+ years, and have gained such an affinity for the feeling of the grain against my fingers, the smell of it when it's freshly cut, and even the endless wood shavings that seem to permeate in my life. So it was going to be wood, that much at least was clear.

above: first completed wooden business card with the bfc logo side A - framed

I sat with many ideas of how I wanted to make these cards - slight frustration building. Until one day I came across an old memento, one I had received years ago from Rev. Master Koten Benson of the Lions Gate Buddhist Priory.  I met this magnetic figure years ago in his local Vancouver Soto Zen (Buddhist) congregation – and later decided to join him and another monk a top their humble and utilitarian mountainside outpost.

I spent two weeks there in retreat, practicing zazen (meditation), eating, sleeping and shitting in true zen spirit. All peppered with some of the best discourses and real life teachings I’ve had on eastern philosophy with Rev. Master Koten. It was amazing, and I am forever grateful for the time I spent on 'Dragon Flower Mountain'.

above: the cards gifted to me by Rev. Master Koten [lions gate buddhist priory]

On leaving, the Rev. Master gifted me two wooden cards carrying hand-stamped Buddhist effigies. One day, years later, I opened an old journal and found these two cards. They instantly reminded me of this time I spent in retreat; their thoughtful preparation, the utilization of this otherwise antiquated material (balsa – often used for architectural models), and the feeling they carry of being made from one person for another just all ringing true with what I wanted my business cards to be.  Every card I hand out is an extension of the appreciation born from this time.

above: first batch of wooden business cards - side A

above: first batch of wooden business cards - side A

above: first batch of wooden business cards - side B

above: first batch of wooden business cards - side B

Renovating a Live/Work Loft - Pt.I

Two years ago I moved into an unfinished dungeon - how all good stories start I imagine - which for *most* wouldn't be an ideal space. All I knew when I got the heads up that the space was open, was that it was a 2000~ sq ft dual zoned industrial hard loft, and that I could live there - with proper zoning and landlord consent. A truly rare opportunity in a world of high rises and in-affordable rent. The price was very reasonable for the size, making me wonder whether it was a hoax or a death trap.

The property manager didn't even want to enter the space when I first visited, so I went in alone through a seedy yet charming alley way entrance. The space was huge, full of dust and dirt, and definitely needed a lot of work, but I loved every bit of it.

There was going to be a lot of painting - in total probably 6 different colors of paint between the floors and walls, ranging from black, to royal blue to a 'throw-up' cream; Two unfinished rooms, which would need to be torn down;  A performance stage bolted to the floor in one of the rooms, projection slots cut into random walls - all really calling into question what what this place was before.

above: dust and insulationliterally flying everywhere

above: main space pre-room demolition

above: unfinished rooms being torn down

On top of the obvious refurbishing, there was about 2000 sq ft of canvas ill-placed and stapled to the ceiling, with incredibly bad graffiti sprayed throughout. Literally nothing worth salvaging, graffiti equivalent of "I was here", whoever did this, I applaud your take on grunge but the original ceiling beams looks much nicer and still have that grungy charm. Possibly thee worst thing about the space was the bathtub, which was full of about 3-4" of dirt, and then another 1-2" of dried paint, and then of course a major snaking job - no comment.

If all that wasn't enough to scare me from taking on this reno, the space is also literally in the same building as a nightclub, a couple offices, and (half a dozen or so) residential units throughout which can be heard the same way you might hear a roommate - little to no sound insulation. Oh ya... and really loud banging heat pipes in the winter - not exaggerating these are LOUD - they come in a variety of sounds but my favorite is the one that sounds like a machete hitting my metal door. Just to keep things interesting.

above: unfinished room.01

above: unfinished room.02

above: top right corner section of painted canvas stapled to ceiling.

Naturally, immediately after seeing the space I signed a lease; I had a clear vision from the start and I'm so happy with the result. I feel as though I've brought down the grunge to a reasonable level and brought myself and my aesthetic into the space. I just wish I took more photos initially, but to be honest it just didn't occur to me to document more than I did - bit too murderly looking to want to shoot/share with friends.

Parquet Wall Hanging

This piece represents so much to me. Above all it represents one of the few projects I have done for myself from my sketch book. I wanted to explore the versatility of parquet, beyond flooring to things like tables and now ornamental fixtures/wall panels like this one.

[LANGUAGE: PARQUET WALL PANEL]

Nearly all materials for this piece were salvaged, including the distressed wood a friend got from a construction site (thanks chad!). The wood was treated in three ways to achieve the contrast I wanted. I used natural mediums to ebonize the left triangles, whitewashed the center and distressed distressed the far right.

above: all natural ebonizing solvent

above: raw salvaged cedar siding

I called this piece 'language'. It's about the false dichotomies we create, how we can become slaves to our language, the imagined differences, the this and that, here and there, you and I, day and night etc. I used contrasting patinas, converging and diverging forms, to show that all the pieces do reflect one-another, despite the apparent tension and 'separateness'.

Product Magazine | Transcript + Video Interview

PRODUCT MAGAZINE 12TH ISSUE

TRANSCRIBED COPY

I sat adjacent to Constantine Tohme at a large wood table in his open concept live/work studio. As we settled in and exchanged introductions, I scanned his apartment - gazing at the various pieces of furniture, lighting, and art objects that seem to pull me in with an unapologetic magnetism. As a diplomatic child of the age of technology, I mentally “hearted” many of his pieces. “I’ve always had an interest in aesthetics and the placement of things… That [interest] came from not really having my own space. So, when I got one, I thought, ‘Everything has to have a place’,” Constantine said in response to my reaction. Within a relatively short period of time, Constantine has reserved a pot for himself within the design community under the name Black Flag Co., and I daresay he has already earned a spot in the modern home.

Constantine is originally from St.Lucia but moved to Toronto when he was just 16 years old. Since then, he has traveled the globe gathering inspiration from multiple continents in all their eccentricities. Two years ago he returned to Toronto to attend the Institute of Traditional Medicine, where he continues his studies and designs as a hobby. “Toronto is the BEST… There are a lot of opportunities here if you work hard… it isn’t saturated like other cities.” Since moving back to Toronto in 2012, Constantine finally had the opportunity to imagine a home - his own home - designed to his taste. That is where it all began, “I didn’t want any IKEA,” Constantine announced with utmost sincerity. Tohme gravitated towards wood and concrete and began questioning their properties and their use within modern and traditional furnishings, “I had these materials and I would ask myself, what can I do with this?” Upon review of his growing collection of works in progress, one can see repetition in the use of wood pieces to create geometric patterns as table tops, fluorescent tubes arranged into prisms, and the beginnings of imprinting on concrete. Herringbone becomes a motif on many of his tables, which he refers to as “Modern Americana”.

Constantine has absorbed as much information as he can by talking to different designers, cabinet makers, and carpenters around the city to get a better understanding of materials and, of course, construction. He bought his first electric saw and sander (which he mentioned with sheer enthusiasm), and started building in his studio before finding a shop just a few blocks from his house, where he now has access to a full workshop. Constantine notes that his work continues to become more refined as he gains familiarity with new tools. “I’ve figured out a way to essentially cut the [weight of the] material in half using secondary forms,” Tohme added, upon our discussion on his concrete slab tables. His willingness to learn is most admirable and is paving the way for an awakening in the age old form vs. function debate.

Wave your white flags and take a chance on Black Flag Co. as founder, Constantine Tohme, works in stride to help us all live more beautifully, with furniture worth “hearting”.


WRITTEN BY: JOHNATHAN BRODERICK
PHOTOS BY: KYLE KOFSKY
CINEMATOGRAPHY: BRAD SILVERBERG

PRODUCT TV TORONTO

Check out Product Toronto to find local distributors [HERE].


Bullet Jewelry from Spent Shells

SALVAGED BULLETS on an XL CHAIN

Via some much appreciated friends with questionable hobby's and professions I was able to salvage a variety of spent bullets. I've repurposed these bullets as jewelry pieces - making whistle, snuff, and scry pendants.

All necklaces come on an extra long, thin, gun metal black chain (33")***

Light Weight Concrete Tables

Making use of multiple casting forms has allowed me to cut the weight of these conventionally heavy tables by more than half. In the example dimension below (DIM: 3"D x 2ft W x 4ft L) I was able to cut the weight from a crippling 380lbs to a manageable 160lbs. Retaining all the raw industrial features of the concrete, with none of the added belly fat.

POLISHED CONCRETE TABLE (DIM: 3"D x 2ft W x 4ft L)

Concrete + Wooden Chest, pre assembly missing concrete table top

Finished product - Polished Concrete countertop, Hidden XL drawer wrapped with reclaimed wood, coffee table height.