Out of the woods

By Victor Yoon

A loud whirring sound emanates from inside the garage, where Peter Schulman ’12 is drilling holes into a wooden board. As he brushes aside the wood shavings and begins to affix the pipes he had laid aside for the project, the materials begin to transform into a physical version of the sketch beside him. With each piece he adds, Schulman turns what was once a board and a pile of pipes into his own coat hanger.

“I needed a coat hanger and decided to build a fairly simple one that was still unique and aesthetically pleasing,” he said. “It’s great being able to quickly create an idea for something that can have a basic function such as a bookcase while also being able to create something artistic and interesting.”

Schulman said he has always been interested in building, but his interest for design is somewhat recent.

Often, when he was younger, he worked with or competed against his brother to build something, whether it was a pair of skateboards or the workbench that he still uses.

However, Schulman eventually became more interested in designing than building.

“I realized that I liked design more when I was creating more designs than I had time to build and was okay with that,” he said. “I hope to build everything I’ve designed so far, but I design way too many things for me to have the time to build all of them. Often necessity outs one of the ideas at the top of the list, or sometimes an idea really grabs me and I can’t stop thinking about it.”

Based on how much he needs a new piece, Schulman allows himself more room for experimentation with the design.

“If I really need a bookcase, form follows function. But if I only have a few books, I would try a really daring idea that’s more aesthetically pleasing,” Schulman said. “Other times, I have a really crazy idea that I want to make work. I often browse modern furniture websites for inspiration. I’m inspired by Charles and Ray Eames. They don’t follow a certain style or method but instead make every piece to its function and setting.”

Schulman said he is also inspired by the Eames’ success, which inspires him to pursue such a narrow field.

“I love design. I used to be on Facebook when I procrastinated, but now, I just design or build things, and so far, I can’t get enough of it. I’m also interested in writing and architecture, but design has grabbed me the most out of the three,” Schulman said. “Design just comes most naturally to me and is most rewarding.”