Furniture That’s Engineered by Design

For engineer and artist Todd Loewy, designing furniture lets him combine his creative and mechanical sides. “I like to combine good design with clean structures to create something that is art, but is also useful,” he says.

Loewy, a Kentucky native, studied mechanical engineering at the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colo. After graduating, he traveled in Fiji and Australia for six months before returning to Boulder, where he worked in a series of engineering jobs. “I didn’t enjoy a lot of those jobs, but then I got the opportunity to work for a company that designed concert stages for tours, and we’d do things like the furniture for Vanity Fair’s Oscar parties,” he says. “Then I moved to Chicago, where I built structures for museums and exhibits. With those jobs, I saw a way to combine creativity with engineering.”


In 2008, he set off on a roadtrip that took him the entire length of the 29,800-mile Pan-American Highway—the world’s longest motorable road!—from Alaska to Argentina. After spending a couple of months doing repair work on ships, he sailed with six other people to Antarctica before moving to Portland to open his design studio, Square Root Industries. “I’ve always wanted to embrace my creative side more, so I decided to open my own shop,” he says. “I like being involved in all parts of the process.”

Loewy designs all of his pieces and then has them fabricated locally. The Roots Table begins with a piece of titanium that’s painted with white acrylic paint on top and then covered with a powder-coated laser-cut steel top with a design in the shape of roots. “You can see the edge of the steel that makes the cutout,” he says. “That creates a 3-D effect because it creates shadows and a bit of contrast, and gives the table a sense of thickness.” The 48-inch-long by 24-inch-wide by 17-inchhigh Roots Table starts at $1,099. You can select your own colors and bring your own graphic design to be carved into the table.

Contact artist and design engineer Todd Loewy via his business, Square Root Industries (6451 N.E. Garfield Ave., 917-699-9618 or go to his website, ) in Portland.