Michael Goldin

U.S.A. (1964)

Michael Goldin, who received a graduate degree in architecture from the University of California at Berkeley (his undergraduate degree was in biology), combines architecture, development and furniture design in his Berkeley-based studio and workshop. When he set out on his own in 1992, his first priority was to establish a wood- and metalworking shop. It has since blossomed into a state-of-the-art enterprise replete with a CNC (computer numerical control) machine and 3-D modeling and manufacturing software that he uses to create prototypes and handle larger-scale furniture production.

Goldin Design, Incorporated has produced numerous Bay Area commercial interiors for start-up companies, including office space and workstations for Ask Jeeves, NightFire and The Roda Group. They also completed offices for Yellow Giant Corporation and the former Design Within Reach headquarters in Oakland. Swerve, Goldin’s furniture company, produces a variety of colorful, sturdy tables made of Plasticolor-coated Trupan; powder-coated steel legs with casters make them mobile. His designs have playful names – Parallel Play, Guitar Pick and Boardroom – coined by his wife, painter Deborah Oropallo. The original Parallel Play child’s worktable was made for their son Leo when he was a toddler. The tabletops are composed of two concentric arcs; a group of seven forms a circle, but they can also be arranged in a linear serpentine form.

Goldin likes to build a piece out of a love for a particular object or a functional idea. From there, everything filters into his work. His hands-on approach to furniture design dictates that an idea is not real until it is fleshed out in the shop, which is essentially a laboratory for new materials. Goldin has recently begun experimenting with linen phenolic resin – a hard, durable and beautiful material in which you can actually see the weave of the laminated fabric. Look for new materials such as phenolic resin and powder-coated wood in his next generation of furniture.

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