For years, our customers have requested we add picture frames to our product line. We initially responded with traditional style frames in various materials like horn and wood. Our customers replied, “Those are nice, but we wanted a Simon Pearce designed picture frame of glass”. The question remained––how to go about designing a frame that would meet our high standard of design, and delight our customers?
Enter designer, James Zilian.
James joined Simon Pearce seven years ago, relocating from Boston to Vermont with his wife, Zoe. The couple met Simon while displaying their own handmade line of lamps and vessels designed by James at an industry event. With an interest in expanding his lighting business, Simon asked James to come aboard in product development. In addition to lighting, James started the Brookfield and Barre lines, and among others, working alongside Simon Pearce.
A few years ago, James was mulling over how to approach developing a picture frame when he noticed a Simon Pearce block of glass on his desk in front of some odds and ends. He pushed it aside against a wall and a photo of his family happened to be behind it. Simple and clean, the glass slightly magnified and framed the picture beautifully. The Woodbury Photo Block was born.
When reflecting on the process of designing our new Woodbury Photo Blocks, he describes the mass and clarity of the glass block, “we were serious about the materials we used”. In addition to the thick glass with natural nuances on the sides, he designed a metal stand with a low profile. Unlike most picture frames that utilize cut glass, this piece is created from a mold that was hand carved from our expert mold maker/engineer, Jan Mollmark.
In an original sketch, shown here, the base extended back along the bottom edge. Ultimately, this became the single leg of the final design. James feels, “the focus is on the glass and lends itself to creating a sense that the glass is floating”. The result is to celebrate the image while enjoying a piece that will stand the test of time.
The Photo Blocks are ideal as a housewarming or wedding gift, especially with a personalized engraved message that can be cherished for a lifetime. Our custom engraving creates a frosted effect that is uncluttered and, therefore, does not detract from the image being displayed.
When asked why he decided to work with Simon Pearce, though James’ response was all encompassing, it is reflected perfectly in the creation of the Woodbury Photo Block. He feels connected to the concept of a utility based object, a focus of Simon’s, that can elevate personal experiences. And, we agree. Our version of a picture frame, the Woodbury Photo Block, has all of the elements to be an enduring addition to our line of products.