The Pleasure of Design

For furnituremaker Chris Cardy, the best part of designing furniture is creating something people like and use. “What I enjoy doing is making great, wonderful and accessible furniture that people enjoy having in their daily lives,” he says.
Originally Cardy, who owns Portland-based Delia, hadn’t planned to make furniture: He planned to study theology. A Michigan native, he studied religion at the University of Michigan and received an M.A., in religious studies from the University of Toronto. “I was interested in faith and why people have faith, and I was going to do a Ph.D.,” he says. “But when I moved to San Francisco in the early 1990s to establish residency for grad school, the professor I planned to work with retired,” he says. “In a way it turned out better because by then I’d already started building things.”
  Cardy and three friends formed the company that would eventually become Delia. “By joining forces, we were able to put together a good collection of work,” he says. “Four of us could produce a body of work that looked substantial, so people instantly thought we were a big outfit, which helped us get our first orders.”
  Cardy moved to Portland in 2001 and now Delia produces a wide range of handmade furniture in an 8,000-square-foot workshop and showroom. The Dingle Table (below) is a side table made from waxed raw steel and topped with glass. The table gets is name from the dingles or colored ceramic balls that are fired in a kiln and attached to the legs.
  “It’s a bright, playful and fun piece of furniture,” he says. “A lot of our work has an organic and very free-form quality, and I enjoy the creativity that comes with making it.” The 20-inch-square and 22-inch-high side table is $350.
  Contact furniture designer Chris Cardy at the Delia workshop and showroom (6524 N. Albina St., 503-224-1798) in Portland or go to his website,