After rooting around a box in the back of his workshop, Jared Rusten pulls out an ordinary-looking block of honey-colored wood. He carefully shaves off a few curly strips and says, “smell that.” The wood gives off an intense citrusy, minty, crisp scent.
“It’s called Port Orford cedar. It’s this resinous soft wood that grows in northern California and southern Oregon,” he says. “You’ve never smelled any wood like it.”
Rusten is one of San Francisco’s touted furniture makers-woodworkers-designers. Jared Rusten is best known for his California Series of tables and desks that are perfectly shaped silhouettes of the state. His work is fastidious, precise, and has a deceptively spare aesthetic.
However, what is most obvious about Rusten’s designs is that he is in love with wood. The distinguishing aspect of all of his creations – from desks to chairs to tables to credenzas – is that wood is king. Each board has its own personality, which he says needs to be highlighted.