“When Kohler came to me looking for an exciting and tangible piece to relate beautifully with their products, I saw an incredible opportunity to bring the history of the waterfront into the space,” says Jeff Soderbergh, designer, craftsman and owner of JS Studio in Newport Rhode Island and JS Gallery in Wellfleet, Massachusetts.
His extraordinary work, which is suspended from the ceiling of the Kohler Signature Store by Supply New England at 7 Tide, is a visually striking suggestion of waves and wharves. Using wood from Boston’s old Lovejoy Wharf, Soderbergh, whose custom furnishings and sculptural pieces are all made from reclaimed materials, set out to create a piece that would draw people in.
“You want them first to find it beautiful and approachable,” he says. “Then perhaps gain more of the story from the materials.” His idea of referencing the waterfront with actual elements from the Seaport allows observers to recall their own memories of the place. “The original surface of the wood is facing down toward them and layers of connection start to come in.”
Kohler also asked Soderbergh to fashion a shower wall for their 7 Tide showroom. “I wanted to do something eye-catching, but with gravity. So, I took a severe material–granite–and turned it into a contemporary design.” In his enticingly full Fall River warehouse, Soderbergh had several 200-year-old ballast stones that had been retrieved from Boston Harbor. These large stones were once used to stabilize ships as they crossed the Atlantic and then hoisted overboard before reaching port to avoid off-loading fees.
Soderbergh had them sliced up for his shower wall installation. “I was trying to close that circle from sea to shower,” he says. “You can see their patina from sitting in the ocean all those years. It’s wonderful to reuse sustainable materials and make them into something beautiful and approachable.”