Sustainable Design by Tod Von Merten

I love to hear a good designer story. To look at a piece of beautifully made furniture and understand the series of events that lead the designer to create that piece is always fascinating. Much like a successful artist, a successful designer is the result of hard work, ambition, and often good luck. Also like an artist, the experiences of a designer show in their work, and each collection becomes a chapter in their development.

Night Stand and Small File Case. Designed by Tod Von Merten.

Night Stand by Tod Von Merten. All images via Todvon
Tod Von Mertens beginnings as a designer started at an early age while making furniture with his father. During his education at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, he learned how to weld steel, a technique that is now critical to his furniture design. Upon graduation he moved to Seattle, and opened a metal fabrication and furniture production business. A series of events lead to the success of that business, and as is often true, set Tod up to leave it all for a farm where he started his furniture design company.
Small File Case by Tod Von Merten. All images via Todvon
Featured in this article are Tod’s Night Stand and Small File Case. The material quality and simplicity of these pieces show a level of skill and intuition that is first rate. The combination of crisp steel and rough wood in the Night Stand show off both materials through balanced contrast. The walnut figuring of the Small File Case has a more finished look that embraces the beauty of the wood.
Small File Case by Tod Von Merten. All images via Todvon
All of Tod’s steel is 80-95% recycled content. The wood is either abundant locally or harvested frequently due to the needs of the tree. The giant fir slabs are salvaged and were cut a century ago when the sawing capabilities were greater than the extraction capabilities. According to Tod, these trees were long dead by the time they were harvested.

About the designer: Tod Von Mertens attended the Tish School of Arts at New York University where he received a BFA. He then studied at Pratt Fine Arts Center in Seattle, at which time he began fabricated furniture pieces for interior designers. He opened his first shop in 1996, a shop which grew to fabricate retail and restaurant interiors throughout Seattle. In 2008 he moved his family across the country to his childhood home of New Hampshire. That began the Tod Von Mertens furniture design company that is in business today.

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